Injections May Help OA Knee Pain

Viscosupplementation can quell the discomfort of knee pain-but weight loss and exercise are also key.

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Viscosupplementation-the injection of a gel-like substance called hyaluronic acid into a joint to supplement the viscous properties of the synovial fluid which lubricates the joint-has become an increasingly effective treatment option for knee osteoarthritis (OA)-even if your pain is mild or moderate. "Many people look at viscosupplementation as an alternative," says A. J. Cianflocco, MD, a staff physician at Cleveland Clinic, "when other treatments, such as medication, physical therapy, bracing, or orthotics, have failed-or as an option only in cases of severe OA for those who want to avoid or delay total knee replacement. "But the ideal candidate is the patient with mild or moderate arthritis," he adds. "Viscosupplementa-tion should be considered a first-line treatment of osteoarthritis of the knee for these individuals." Others who might benefit are those who have not responded to pain or anti-inflammatory medications, such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen.
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