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Painful Knees? Viscosupplementation Might Put That Spring Back in Your Step

Jan 09, 2024
Painful Knees? Viscosupplementation Might Put That Spring Back in Your Step
Tens of millions of Americans struggle with progressive knee pain that’s slowly chipping away at their ability to move freely. If this sounds familiar, viscosupplementation might just be the answer you’re looking for.

A whopping 25% of adults in the United States report knee pain, an increase of nearly 65% in the past two-plus decades. If you’re dealing with chronically inflamed and painful knees that make getting around difficult, we might have just the solution you need — viscosupplementation.

At Commonwealth Pain & Spine, our team of joint health experts offers a wide range of options that help people get moving again. When it comes to knees, we’ve had great success with viscosupplementation. Here's a look at how this treatment works and who benefits most from viscosupplementation.

Restoring lubrication and protection in your knees

Despite its long name, viscosupplementation is a fairly simple and straightforward approach to managing knee pain. The active ingredient in these joint injections is hyaluronic acid (HA), which your body naturally produces.

HA can be found in your skin, joints, and eyes, and this gooey substance helps with:

With viscosupplementation, we address the degenerative changes in your knees with HA, which helps to restore smooth gliding between the bones and to reduce inflammation.

Who’s a candidate for viscosupplementation?

Most of our patients who benefit from viscosupplementation have osteoarthritis (OA) in their knees. With this form of arthritis, the cartilage inside these large joints begins to break down. When this occurs, the bones can rub together unprotected, leading to pain and inflammation. Also, pieces of a cartilage and bone can break free inside the joints, further compounding the symptoms.

Unfortunately, there’s no cure for OA, so managing the progressive disease and its symptoms is the best approach. 

If we find that you have mild-to-moderate OA in your knees, you may be a good candidate for viscosupplementation. If your OA is severe, and there’s little to no cartilage left, it may be too late for viscosupplementation.

The good news is that, if you are a good candidate, studies show viscosupplementation to be quite effective. One study concluded that viscosupplementation “Effectively reduces pain, increases functionality, and delays surgery in the knee to treat osteoarthritis.”

Getting your HA injections

Undergoing viscosupplementation is easy — we simply inject the HA into your knees. You may experience some pain and swelling afterward, but these side effects should subside quickly.

In most cases, patients feel results within a week or two after the injections, and we ask that you take it easy during the first week — no pounding the knees on a run, for example. 

If the treatments work and you enjoy more movement and less pain in your knees, you can continue with these joint injections every six months (or longer, depending upon how quickly the HA needs replenishing).

To figure out whether viscosupplementation is right for your painful knees, please schedule an appointment at one of our 21 locations in Kentucky, Indiana, and Illinois.