At Long Island Spine Rehabilitation Medicine, our major focus is on pain relief and restored mobility, so we frequently use a treatment known as knee viscosupplementation to ease the pain and inflexibility of osteoarthritis of the knee. While the name of the treatment may be daunting, the procedure is simple and often extremely effective, involving injections into the arthritic joint.
Though there is no known cure for osteoarthritis, the injections used in viscosupplementation can provide a period of relief and a renewed range of motion, putting your arthritic discomfort on the back burner. Since osteoarthritis of the knee is one of the leading causes of disability in the United States, affecting over 32 million people, this benefit is no small matter.
If you are suffering the pain and stiffness of osteoarthritis as a result of a serious injury or as a natural bodily response to the aging process, it is encouraging to know that something can be done to improve your quality of life. Contacting one of our offices in Nassau, Suffolk, or Queens, can make a significant difference. Our highly competent doctors are physiatrists, MDs who specialize in pain management and rehabilitation. We are experts at noticeably diminishing or eliminating your pain and increasing your ability to move more easily.
What exactly is knee viscosupplementation?
As noted, knee viscosupplementation is a procedure that involves injections into the knee joint. The reason for the injections is to provide lubrication to an arthritic joint, a joint in which the cartilage has worn thin and injury or aging has reduced the viscosity of the gel-like fluid, synovial fluid (which contains hyaluronic acid) that normally surrounds and “oils” the joint. People with osteoarthritis of their joints have been shown to have a lower concentration of this fluid.
During viscosupplementation, hyaluronate acid is injected to lubricate the bones of the knee so they can resume moving more smoothly. The process typically facilitates movement and reduces pain and inflammation.
Does Long Island Spine Rehabilitation Medicine offer other treatments for knee pain?
Early on, we may recommend treating arthritic changes in the knee with other methods, such as:
- Restricting certain activities that worsen the pain
- Losing weight
- Taking NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) like ibuprofen, or painkillers like acetaminophen
- Engaging in a customized program of physical therapy to stretch ligaments and increase mobility and range of motion
- Administering corticosteroid injections
Osteoarthritis, however, may stop responding to these treatments as it worsens. If your pain has increased and you are unable to engage in your normal activities, viscosupplementation may be a fine option. It may interest you to know that this treatment is not new. Originally available only in Europe and Asia, it has been approved for use in the U.S. by the FDA for over 20 years.
What is the knee viscosupplementation procedure like?
At Long Island Spine Rehabilitation Medicine, we perform knee viscosupplementation under ultrasound guidance to provide accuracy and optimal outcome. The procedure involves the following steps:
- Sterilizing the area
- Administering a local anesthetic
- Using ultrasound to provide clear images so we can pinpoint the precise location
- Removing excess fluid due to swelling, if necessary
- Injecting the viscosupplementation proceduct into the joint space
- Covering the sight with a small bandage
The knee viscosupplementation procedure takes only a short time and may be very beneficial. We advise our patients to be careful not to stress the affected knee immediately after the procedure; for about 48 hours, you should refrain from taking long walks, jogging or lifting heavy objects. You may experience warmth and slight swelling after the procedure which will be helped by applying an ice pack. Many patients experience noticeable improvement within a few days or weeks of the injection, and for many, these benefits last for months.
Is there any risk associated with knee viscosupplementation?
There is a small risk associated with any injection of bleeding, allergic reaction, pain at the injection site or infection. Though these are rare complications, you should contact us immediately if you experience warmth, redness or pain at the injection site or develop a fever.
For Some Patients Knee Viscosupplementation Is Life-Changing
Though knee viscosupplementation may not help all patients, those who are helped report tremendous relief and the ability to resume activities, such as sports or gardening, that they thought they would never be able to engage in again.
If you are experiencing severe symptoms of osteoarthritis, knee viscosupplementation administered by the professionals at Long Island Spine Rehabilitation Medicine may provide the relief you are looking for. Because you can receive an injection again in 6 months, you may experience freedom from pain and an improved range of motion well into the future.
Why Long Island Rehabilitation Medicine Is the Place to Come
If your knee or another joint that is giving you trouble, our expert physiatrists are here to help. Knee viscosupplementation is only one of the tricks up our sleeves. We are fully prepared to offer you a wide range of nonsurgical treatments to restore your mobility, reduce your pain, and improve your life. We also have a well-earned reputation as excellent diagnosticians, so if your problem is caused by something other than osteoarthritis, we will certainly find out the underlying cause of your discomfort.
Contact Our Pain Management & Rehabilitation Experts for Superior Care
Although there is no cure for osteoarthritis at this time, Long Island Spine Rehabilitation Medicine’s doctors are dedicated to making this condition much easier to cope with. Why not contact us today so you can begin feeling more hopeful, more comfortable, and more energetic?