HA Viscosupplementation is used at our Ottawa clinics in the treatment of osteoarthritis (OA), a chronic condition in which the structure of the joints deteriorates. OA may be present at the knee, shoulder, ankle or other joint. There may be inflammation, tenderness, pain and swelling which can result in reduced mobility. HA Viscosupplementation helps to restore the cushioning effect of HA or Hyaluronic Acid on joints where the protective substance has worn thin and left bones and other structures exposed and rubbing against each other.
Viscosupplementation as we provide it in our Ottawa clinics is a proven treatment for the pain, stiffness and loss of mobility often associated with OA and is generally considered as a treatment option when other, non-invasive procedures have failed to provide significant relief. Please note: it is not a cure for osteoarthritis. However, it has been used as an effective treatment for the symptoms for decades.
Hyaluronic acid is the most active form of glycosaminoglycans or GAGs. HA is a molecule with a gel-like consistency. Put simply, the molecules hold water and they serve to fill the space between other types of cells and materials at crucial areas like joints, nerves and skin - it's the substance that fills up our eyeballs too.
Studies have shown that HA plays multiple roles in the body. When it comes to the musculoskeletal system, it works to cushion, protect and stabilize joints and nerves. HA is part of the fluid - called the synovial fluid - around the joint. Adding HA back into damaged joints can help to restore the cushioning function. As the cartilage degenerates in the progression of OA, it produces waste products that can cause pain in the area. HA Viscosupplementation can help to ease the pain by flushing out those often acidic by-products. HA is also an antioxidant, a group of substances with the proven ability to help prevent cellular destruction by free radicals.
If the orthopedic surgeon or sports medicine physician directing your care at our Ottawa clinic believes HA Viscosupplementation will be of benefit, they will inject the substance – which is very similar to healthy joint or synovial fluid – into the joint directly. You may feel the benefits in various ways, such as:
• Improved mobility as the shock absorption and lubrication functions are restored
• Reduced pain due to reduced friction at the joint
Each case is individual and treatment typically involves repeated injections - usually 3 to 5. As a natural substance, it breaks down in the body due to natural processes. For this reason, repetitive treatments are often required.
The action of the HA is variable. Right away, you may notice a reaction from the injection such as warmth or slight swelling at the injection site. An ice pack will generally relieve these symptoms and they should subside within 48 hours.
Over the course of your treatment, you may notice an improvement in levels of pain and stiffness.
The effects of treatment may last several months.
Results are variable and not guaranteed. The success of treatment may depend on a variety of factors.
You can make your appointment for an HA Viscosupplementation consultation by calling or visiting one of our convenient Ottawa locations on Bank Street or Merivale Road today.