Some causes of knee pain, including pain due to osteoarthritis, can be treated with injections of gel into the knee. This is known as viscosupplementation. It is often used in concert with physical therapy, and possibly after steroid injections have been utilized. The idea of viscosupplementation injections is to lubricate the knee joint when wear and tear have led to pain in the joint. The gel that is injected allows the bones of the knee to move against each other more smoothly, reducing pain with weight bearing and with activity. This can not only decrease pain, but allow for increased activity. Various types of gel can be used – common brands include Euflexxa®, Synvisc®, and Orthovisc®.
Viscosupplementation injections may be given under live ultrasound guidance. This method, which simply involves placing a probe on the skin by the knee, can allow the doctor to see the needle during the procedure, to make sure that it is going into the correct place. The doctor can also see the medication being injected into the knee to increase the accuracy of the injection.
At The PMR Center, we have had good results with viscosupplementation injections. Feel free to talk to a doctor at The PMR Center to find out more.