More than 120 million people in the US have arthritis. The degenerative effects of arthritis cause wear and tear of the joints. Some common arthritic symptoms are joint pain, stiffness, swelling, warmth, and limited mobility. One of the main types of arthritis is osteoarthritis (OA). With OA, wear and tear damages the cartilage in the joints causing them to lose their smooth gliding action and results in friction or rubbing of the ends of the bones.
When arthritis affects the knees, neck, back, hands, feet, or hips, difficulties arise when trying to get through even the most menial daily tasks. The surrounding muscles may begin to tighten as they try to overcompensate for the pain and protect the injured area. These tight muscles can create tension and limit range of motion. Most people may find that there is little to no relief with over the counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), like ibuprofen.
Many patients find relief with Viscosupplementation, which is an injectable substance that mimics the synovial fluid found naturally in the joint. Synovial fluid is made up of hyaluronic acid and helps to protect the knee joint. Once that naturally occurring substance wears away, your body cannot regenerate it on its own. Viscosupplementation is a welcomed benefit for relieving pain, and for getting your knee joint back to doing its job, which is acting as a cushion against friction.
The procedure can be done in the office setting and only takes a few minutes. After locally numbing your knee, the procedure is monitored under a fluoroscopic image, which essentially is a moving X-ray. This allows the physician to see the inside of your knee while it is in motion.
Arthritis is progressive even with the aforementioned treatment methods. The conservative treatment may stave off the severity of the disorder, but it will continue to advance. In these advanced cases surgery is most likely necessary. Typically, that entails partial or total joint replacement and physical therapy. However, after patients get joint replacement surgery, most times their quality of life is better than it was prior to surgery.
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