Sometimes called degenerative joint disease or degenerative arthritis, osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common chronic condition of the joints. OA is a progressive disease. Symptoms worsen over time. There is no cure, but treatments like Prolotherapy, Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) and Viscosupplement can help the individual control pain and swelling, and stay mobile and active.
What is Viscosupplement?
A natural lubrication fluid called synovial fluid resides in each joint, including the knee. Hyaluronic acid, which functions to lubricate, or grease, your joints during movement, exists naturally in the synovial fluid. As you get older, the chemicals in hyaluronic acid begin breaking down, and your levels of hyaluronic acid decrease. Lower levels of the natural lubricant may limit joint motion and eventually cause pain and stiffness in the joint.
Viscosupplementation is a medical procedure during which lubricating fluid is injected into a joint, replaces the missing hyaluronic acid in your synovial fluid. Also called hyaluronic acid injections or hyaluronan injections, viscosupplementation is most commonly used to treat symptoms of symptoms of knee osteoarthritis.
Hyaluronic acid is a key component of the joint fluid in healthy joints, but is found in lower concentrations in osteoarthritic joints
How does Viscosupplement work?
During viscosupplementation, a small amount of hyaluronic acid is injected directly into a joint capsule. Hyaluronic acid is a key component of the joint fluid. It gives the joint fluid its viscous, slippery quality, which enables the bones’ cartilage-covered surfaces to glide against each other, thereby reducing joint friction, and adds cushion to protect joints during impact (e.g. weight-bearing activity). This temporarily increases the joint’s ability to move without causing you pain or discomfort.
As its name implies, viscosupplementation artificially supplements the joint fluid’s natural viscosity. By injecting a man-made hyaluronan into the knee, doctors hope to temporarily lubricate the knee joint, thereby decreasing pain improving function and perhaps even slowing the degeneration process.