Gel Injections for Knees

People across the St. Louis area turn to KneeCare Clinics every day to treat their knee arthritis, joint friction, and chronic pain without the use of surgery. Hyaluronic gel injections for knees, such as viscosupplementation, have been shown to reduce the pain from knee arthritis, improve mobility, and provide a higher and more comfortable level of activity.

At KneeCare Clinics, we provide knee joint pain injections under the care of trained physicians. Our team offers advanced diagnosis and pain management options and can recommend a viscosupplementation injection treatment plan that not only fits your lifestyle, but is covered by most insurances.

If you’ve tried other nonsurgical treatment methods but your pain continues to limit your daily activities, contact us to schedule an appointment for viscosupplementation in St. Louis.

 

What is Viscosupplementation?

Viscosupplementation is a procedure where a gel-like substance of hyaluronic acid is injected directly into the affected knee to get back the joint’s lubricating and shock-absorbing properties.

In order for your knees to move smoothly, they must contain adequate amounts of cartilage and synovial fluid, which both act as lubricants and shock absorbers when performing day-to-day activities. Hyaluronic acid is a natural substance present in the fluid of normal, healthy joints and acts as a key component of synovial fluid, but it can be depleted due to aging and other factors. For instance, osteoarthritis causes a decrease in quality and quantity of hyaluronic acid, which means the synovial fluid loses its properties and causes painful bone on bone rubbing.

When hyaluronate is injected right into the affected area, it replenishes the diminished joint fluid, thereby enhancing its lubricating properties and allowing for smooth movement of the cartilage covered articulating surfaces of the joint. Thus, it can overall reduce your knee joint pain!

Talk to Pat, Our Patient Advocate

Chat with Pat Cashen, our patient advocate here at KneeCare Clinic

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

How Viscosupplementation Works

Viscosupplementation usually requires anywhere from one to five injections spread out over the course of a few weeks. They are relatively quick procedures performed during normal office visits.

A local anesthetic is injected into the area around your joint, so you won’t feel any pain or discomfort during the treatment. If there’s any swelling already present in the area, the physician might remove (aspirate) the excess fluids before beginning. They will then inject the hyaluronic acid directly into the joint using a needle attached to a syringe and then cover the area in a small bandage.

You should be able to return home shortly after your procedure, but ask your healthcare provider if it’s appropriate for you to drive. You should also be able to begin most daily activity as normal, but avoid excessive walking/jogging, standing for long periods of time, or lifting heavy weights for about 48 hours after your procedure as there may be some slight swelling at the injection site. 

Many report pain relief shortly after or during the course of the injections over a few weeks, while others may experience a delay in pain relief altogether. Most patients report the greatest pain relief after 8 to 12 weeks of beginning treatment. The length of pain relief will vary from one individual to the next, but once the hyaluronic acid becomes effective, the pain management results can usually last up to several months!

Conditions We Treat

Bone on Bone

“Bone on bone” is a more commonly-used term for the condition known as “knee osteoarthritis,” which happens when the cartilage between the bones wears away, leaving that painful “bone on bone” sensation you may feel when doing activities. People with osteoarthritis have a lower-than-normal concentration of hyaluronic acid and synovial fluid inside their joints. Viscosupplementation focuses on adding hyaluronic acid back into the arthritic joint, thereby acting as a lubricant for bones to move smoothly over one another and act as a shock absorber for joint loads.

Arthritis

Viscosupplementation is a procedure typically used to treat osteoarthritis, but there are more than 100 different kinds of arthritis. Viscosupplementation has been shown to also help benefit patients suffering from psoriatic arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and post-traumatic arthritis. Many of these conditions, such as psoriatic arthritis, are caused by autoimmune diseases that produce painful inflammation inside the knee joint. An injection of hyaluronic acid can provide cushioning as well as create a barrier to inflammation.

Bursitis

Bursitis happens when the bursa of the knee becomes inflamed and painful. The bursa is a sac of fluid that sits between tissues, bones, and joints in order to reduce the friction between them. When you perform repeated actions of the knee over time—such as constant kneeling—the bursa may fill with blood causing the lining to become inflamed. While home treatment may be the first line of defense, if the knee bursitis is persistent and not responding to these treatments, then viscosupplementation may be a viable option.

When to Consider Viscosupplementation

Patients consider viscosupplementation when suffering from knee joint pain caused by arthritis. Arthritis affects millions of people worldwide, and there are several tests that your doctor will administer to confirm the condition. Depending on the level to which the arthritis has progressed, the first treatment options may include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, physical therapy, and weight loss management. However, when these treatment options have been exhausted, viscosupplementation becomes a viable next step for those wishing to reduce their chronic pain without the use of surgery!

Most patients are candidates for viscosupplementation. Your doctor at KneeCare Clinics will perform a physical examination, review your x-rays and medical history, and discuss all other treatment options before considering viscosupplementation or another type of knee injection. Schedule your appointment now to see if you qualify!

Frequently Asked Questions

Question:

Are there any restrictions for Physical Therapy or Viscosupplementation?

Answer:

The therapist will let you know if you have any restrictions for PT depending on your condition and medical history. With viscosupplementation, we want you to do your everyday normal activities, just don’t run a marathon or do any super strenuous activities.

Question:

How long does Viscosupplementation last?

Answer:

Most patients report improvements for 6-10 months following their series of knee treatments.

Question:

What can I expect on the day of an injection?

Answer:

How long will it take? Will it hurt? Can I do any activity afterwards? Most patients tolerate knee injections with minimal discomfort as we use 3 different agents to numb the knee. The full procedure takes about 8-12 minutes. After a knee injection, plan to avoid high impact activities. It is safe to drive and continue with most daily activities. The knee may be sore after the injection for 24-48 hours, which ice can relieve. Most patients don’t notice any negative side effects after 1-2 days, if they experience any at all.

  • Are there any restrictions for Physical Therapy or Viscosupplementation?

    The therapist will let you know if you have any restrictions for PT depending on your condition and medical history. With viscosupplementation, we want you to do your everyday normal activities, just don’t run a marathon or do any super strenuous activities.

  • How long does Viscosupplementation last?

    Most patients report improvements for 6-10 months following their series of knee treatments.

  • What can I expect on the day of an injection?

    How long will it take? Will it hurt? Can I do any activity afterwards? Most patients tolerate knee injections with minimal discomfort as we use 3 different agents to numb the knee. The full procedure takes about 8-12 minutes. After a knee injection, plan to avoid high impact activities. It is safe to drive and continue with most daily activities. The knee may be sore after the injection for 24-48 hours, which ice can relieve. Most patients don’t notice any negative side effects after 1-2 days, if they experience any at all.

Viscosupplementation Injections for a Better Quality of Life!

While there is currently no cure for osteoarthritis, viscosupplementation can provide symptomatic relief and delay the need for surgery. Not only does the injection supplement the hyaluronic acid in the joint, but it may also be able to stimulate the production of new, healthy hyaluronic acid which provides gradual symptomatic relief for those suffering from poor lubrication in the knee joints.

Reduce arthritis pain and restore your quality of life! You can find a deeper level of enjoyment in your personal relationships, careers, hobbies and more with the help of KneeCare Clinics! Contact us now or speak to our patient advocate.

Contact Your Patient Advocate