What Leads to Osteoarthritis Knee Pain?
A healthy knee contains synovial fluid, a viscous liquid that is responsible for lubricating the joint and absorbing shocks. Synovial fluid also has anabolic anti0unflammatory and analgesic effects.
Hyaluronic acid is a major component of normal synovial fluid and contributes to the fluid’s viscoelastic properties.
Changes in the synovial fluid and degeneration of joint structures may lead to osteoarthritis knee pain. Pain from osteoarthritis of the knee may be worse during weight-bearing activities, particularly when climbing stairs or bending. For some people, pain may be present even at rest.
Treatment Options for Osteoarthritis Knee Pain
There are several things you can do to help reduce knee pain due to osteoarthritis.
Painkillers can help reduce pain. Your doctor might also recommend topical medications to soothe aching knee joints. If your condition escalates, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may be prescribed to relieve the pain and inflammation.
Viscosupplementation, is the injection of a gel-like substance containing hyaluronic acid into the knee. Hyaluronic acid is a naturally occurring substance found in the synovial fluid of the knee joint. The injection of the hyaluronic acid into the joint is thought to lubricate the cartilage (much like oil lubricates an engine), thereby reducing pain.
Corticosterioid (or cortisone) injections, may be used to relieve pain from osteoarthritis of the knee by reducing swelling in the joint. Relief is often felt quickly following an injection and can last from a few days to a couple of months, depending on individuals. Most injections typically take 24-48 hours to take full effect.
Knee replacement surgery is a last resort option for patients with osteoarthritis pain that cannot be relieved by the above-mentioned options. The decision to perform surgery depends on many factors, including pain tolerance, disability, and the risks and benefits of the surgery.