Osteoarthritis is the single most common joint disorder. Known also as degenerative arthritis or degenerative joint disease, osteoarthritis is caused by the gradual wear and tear on a joint, leading to the loss of cartilage. As we age, the repetitive use of the joints causes joint pain, swelling and inflammation. Obesity also plays a role in putting extra weight and stress on joints.Patients with severe osteoarthritis have lost the cartilage between the bones, resulting in inflammation, constant pain and limited range of motion. Chronic inflammation can stimulate the bones to grow outgrowths, or spurs, around the joints, causing additional pain.
We utilize X-rays and arthrocentesis in diagnosing osteoarthritis. X-rays can show the loss the joint cartilage and narrowing between bones. Arthrocentesis is a procedure in which we draw a fluid sample from the joint for analysis. With arthrocentesis, we can also inject steroids into the joint to help relieve inflammation and pain.
There is not one definitive treatment for osteoarthritis. We recommend the following to help relieve the symptoms:
- Weight Reduction
- Exercise (swimming and walking are good options)
- Physical Therapy
- Cortisone Injections
- Pain Relievers (aspirin and acetaminophen)
- Analgesics (pain-relieving creams)
Joint replacement surgery is the last option for patients with osteoarthritis. It is recommended when the osteoarthritis is debilitating or not responding to conventional treatments.
There are several medications available for the treatment of osteoarthritis, including:
- Hyalgan – Hyalgan is injected directly into the knee to help relieve symptoms of osteoarthritis for up to 6 months. Made of a natural chemical found in the body, Hyalgan, once injected, lubricates and cushions the knee joint, easing the pain. It can be safely used for up to 30 months. For more information, visit the Hyalgan website.
- Orthovisc – Orthovisc is a series of three to four consecutive weekly injections into the knee that helps restore fluid to that joint. Because it is made of pure hyaluronan, which is a lubricant found in knee joints, relieves knee pain for up to 6 months and restores the patient’s mobility. For more information, visit the Orthovisc website.
- Supartz – Supartz is known as joint fluid therapy. Supartz is made of hyaluronic acid from rooster combs and works to lubricate and cushion the knee joint. Injected directly into the knee, Supartz targets the osteoporosis in your knee only – and not other parts of the body – and is administered in a series of weekly shots. For more information, visit the Supartz website.
- Euflexxa – Euflexxa is a type of highly purified hyaluronan, which is a natural lubricant found in the fluid surrounding a healthy knee. It is prescribed to patients suffering from osteoarthritis of the knee. Euflexxa is administered in a series of three injections – one per week. Some patients report feeling relief after the first or second injection, but optimal results usually appear after the third and final injection. Euflexxa’s effects can last for up to several months. For more information, visit the Euflexxa website.
If you are experiencing pain in your joints, contact us today for an evaluation.