Advances in the Treatment Of Arthritis
Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis and as we get older it becomes more common. The knees are the most commonly affected joint by osteoarthritis or degenerative arthritis. Viscosupplementation for knee Arthritis was approved in the United States in 1997. Viscosupplementation with Hyaluronate, a natural protein that is normally in healthy joints, has become the standard of care for mild to moderate osteoarthritis of the knee. Studies have now shown that hyaluronate injections also help to slow down the degenerative process. These “gel injections” decreased pain, stiffness, improved range of motion , and allow people to walk better. Viscosupplementation helps patients postpone or avoid total knee replacements. Studies have also shown that if patients increase the strength of their quadriceps muscle or thigh muscle, the injections have better results and the results also last longer. If a person is overweight, every pound they lose in 3 pounds of pressure off of their knee with every step of walking. If they lose one pound, they are reducing 9 pounds of pressure with every step while running. Patients repeat these injections every 6 months or more as needed. Now, we are using the same hyaluronate for arthritis of the hip, shoulder, ankle, and hand with good results. The earlier in the process these injections are done the better and longer lasting the results are, and the more arthritis that can be prevented.