Normal joints have firm cartilage covering the ends of the bones, acting as a cushion for the bones during joint motion. Osteoarthritis is the degeneration of this joint cartilage. It is the most common chronic condition affecting the joints, such as hips, knees, thumbs, shoulders and necks. Osteoarthritis causes pain and stiffness, but given enough time it can lead to bone deterioration and growths called spurs.
If you’ve been diagnosed with osteoarthritis and are experiencing joint pain that affects your daily functioning, The Centre for Physiotherapy can help. We offer viscosupplementation in Toronto to women and men experiencing osteoarthritis pain.
Viscosupplementation is a procedure during which a lubricating fluid is injected into your affected joint. Hyaluronic acid is a naturally occurring substance found in healthy joint fluid. It lubricates the bones in your joints so they can move smoothly over each other. It also acts as a shock absorber for joint loads. Joints with osteoarthritis contain diseased hyaluronic acid that no longer protects your joints effectively.
Healthy joints have up to 4mL of joint fluid, with hyaluronic acid as its key component. During viscosupplementation, about 2mL or so of hyaluronic acid is injected directly into the joint capsule. This process artificially supplements the joint fluid’s natural viscosity.
While viscosupplementation is not a cure for osteoarthritis, it is a treatment that can reduce or eliminate the pain you experience on a daily basis. Typical candidates for viscosupplementation have either knee, hip, shoulder or ankle osteoarthritis that has been unsuccessfully treated by other methods or for patients that require some form of pain relief whilst they are awaiting surgery like knee or hip replacements.
The intended benefits of injecting more hyaluronic acid into your existing joint fluid through viscosupplementation include:
Right after the injection you may notice a local reaction such as pain, warmth or slight swelling, but these symptoms will not last. We recommend using ice packs to relieve any pain, and you should avoid putting excessive weight on the point of injection for the first 48 hours.
Viscosupplementation treatments generally involve 3 to 5 injection appointments to be effective. While this procedure will not provide immediate pain relief, over the course of these injections you may notice you have less pain and swelling in the affected joint. These effects may last for several months. Viscosupplementation may also stimulate your body to produce more of its own hyaluronic acid, which would lead to more long-term pain relief. Individual results often vary, as the success of viscosupplementation may depend on how well the injection restores the elasticity and lubrication of your joint fluid.
The Centre for Physiotherapy is dedicated to getting our patients back to pain-free living and activity. In addition to traditional physiotherapy services, we also provide treatments such as massage therapy and viscosupplementation at our Toronto clinic. We pride ourselves on our variety and quality of treatments offered. If you’re interested in trying viscosupplementation for osteoarthritis pain relief, please contact us. We are conveniently located in downtown Toronto along the TTC subway line (Eglinton Subway Station).
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