Osteoarthritis Non-Surgical Knee Treatment

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Osteoarthritis Non-Surgical Knee Treatment

What is Osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common type of arthritis, and typically only affects older people.

Osteoarthritis affects cartilage, the hard but slippery tissue that covers the ends of bones where they meet to form a joint. Healthy cartilage allows bones to glide over one another. In Osteoarthritis the surface layer of cartilage breaks down and wears away. This allows bones under the cartilage to rub together, causing pain, swelling, and loss of motion of the joint.

A Healthy Joint


In a healthy joint, the ends of bones are encased in smooth cartilage. Together, they are protected by a joint capsule lined with a synovial membrane that produces synovial fluid. The capsule and fluid protect the cartilage, muscles, and connective tissue.



A Joint with Severe Osteoarthritis


With osteoarthritis, the cartilage becomes worn away, spurs grow out from the edge of the bone, and synovial fluid increases. Altogether, the joint feels stiff and sore.



Osteoarthritis Symptoms

People with osteoarthritis usually have joint pain and some limitations in joint movement. Unlike some other forms of arthritis, OA affects only joint function.

Osteoarthritis most commonly occurs in the weight-bearing joints of the hips, knees and lower back. It also affects the neck, small finger joints, the base of the thumb and the big toe. OA rarely affects other joints except when injury or stress is involved

Osteoarthritis Treatment

It is important that you take an active role in the treatment of your Osteoarthritis and in prevention of additional joint damage. There are steps you can take to lower your risk for developing osteoarthritis. The most important thing you can do if you suspect you have any form of arthritis is to get a proper diagnosis and begin early, aggressive treatment.

Osteoarthritis FAQ’s (Frequently Asked Questions)

What is osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis, also known as degenerative joint disease, is the most common type of arthritis. In osteoarthritis, the surface layer of cartilage breaks down and wears away. This allows the bones under the cartilage to rub together resulting in pain, swelling, and loss of motion of the joint. Although in some people it progresses quickly, in most individuals joint damage develops gradually over years.

Who has osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis is most common in older people. However, younger people can also develop the disease, typically as a result of a joint injury, a joint malformation, or a genetic defect in the joint cartilage. It is also more likely to occur in people who are overweight and those with jobs that stress particular joints.

An estimated 12.1 percent (21 million Americans) of the U.S. population age 25 and older have osteoarthritis.

What are the symptoms of osteoarthritis?
Individuals with osteoarthritis typically experience joint pain, stiffness, and some movement limitations. Warning signs include:

  • Stiffness in a joint after getting our of bed or sitting for a long time.
  • Swelling or tenderness in one or more joints.
  • A crunching, grinding, or popping sensation which occurs during movement.

What causes osteoarthritis?

The cause of osteoarthritis is unknown. Factors that might cause it include the following:

  • Being overweight
  • Getting Older (wear and tear)
  • Joint Injury
  • Joints that are not properly formed (alignment/imbalance problems)
  • A genetic defect in the joint cartilage
  • Stresses on the joints from certain activities including sports, work and leisure activities

What areas does osteoarthritis affect?
Osteoarthritis most often occurs in the following areas:

  • Hands – fingers, thumbs, and wrist joints (often made worse by high stress or repetitive actions)
  • Spine – in the neck and lower back
  • Knees
  • Hips
  • Shoulders

How is osteoarthritis diagnosed?
There is not a single test that can diagnose osteoarthritis. A doctor may use several methods to diagnose the disease and rule out other problems. Some of these methods include:

  • Medical history
  • Physical exam
  • X-rays
  • MRI
  • Blood tests and related lab work to rule out other conditions

How is osteoarthritis treated?
The treatment of osteoarthritis has four main goals:

  1. Improve joint function (restoring motion and function)
  2. Keep a healthy body weight
  3. Control pain
  4. Achieve a healthy lifestyle

Typically treatments can be combined to fit a patient’s needs, lifestyle, and health. Treatment plans typically involve:

  • Exercise
  • Weight control
  • Rest and joint care
  • Nondrug pain relief techniques to control pain
  • Medicines
  • Complementary and alternative therapies
  • Surgery/Joint Replacement

What is the typical outcome for an individual with osteoarthritis?
Most people with osteoarthritis live active, productive lives despite the disease. They do so by using treatment strategies such as rest and exercise, pain relief medications, education and support programs, learning self-care, and having a “good attitude.”

Does my insurance pay for these treatments?
Yes, most major insurances and Medicare will pay for some if not all of our services. Please contact us so that we can help you explore your insurances coverage of these services.

How long does it take until I feel better?
Each treatment plan will be different based on the individual and the severity of symptoms. Most treatments will last anywhere from 6 – 8 weeks including physical therapy.

Who will I see when I come to an OA accredited Center?
Each patient will meet with the affiliated provider’s Physician or Physical therapist, usually both. Individuals will be evaluated for the conditions and complaints that they have. All treatment plans are developed by the affiliated provider’s physicians and licensed therapists, with a focus on a customized approach to each patients’ specific problems.

Supartz FAQ’s (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. How do I know if I have osteoarthritis in my knee?
You may have knee osteoarthritis if you experience one or more of the following common signs and symptoms:

  • Joint stiffness after resting or in the morning
  • Pain when moving your knee
  • Pain when using stairs or getting up from a chair
  • Pain that prevents you from exercising your leg
  • Grating or catching when moving your knee
  • Joint pain that feels worse in the evening after a day’s activity
  • Deterioration of coordination due to pain and stiffness
  • Weakened thigh muscles

To help with your diagnosis and treatment, be sure to mention these signs and symptoms at each doctor’s appointment.

2. How is osteoarthritis different from other kinds of arthritis?
There are too many types of arthritis to list here. (For a complete list, go to arthritis.org.) Osteoarthritis, or OA, refers to the breakdown, or degeneration, of cartilage and fluid that cushion and lubricate the bones in your joints. Osteoarthritis can occur in any joint, but osteoarthritis of the knee is the most common type, affecting more than 10 million Americans.

3. Why does osteoarthritis make my knee hurt?
In knee osteoarthritis, the hyaluronic acid (HA) in the synovial fluid in your knee joint becomes diluted and breaks down—reducing its natural properties. This is associated with increased inflammatory processes that can degrade the cartilage in your knee. The inflammation causes pain receptors to begin firing during normal movement. The pain tends to cause knee osteoarthritis patients to limit movement, which in turn leads to further deterioration of joint structures and synovial fluid quality because movement is required for normal synovial homeostasis.

4. Are all knee injection therapies for osteoarthritis the same?
No, there are different classes of injectable therapies that may be used to treat osteoarthritis in your knee. For example, steroids (such as cortisone) will help relieve pain and swelling temporarily. And opioids (such as morphine) are a class of drug with a very strong analgesic (pain-killing) effect. On the other hand, viscosupplements like SUPARTZ are designed to replace the diseased synovial fluid in your knee joint, which provides cushioning and lubrication.

5. What is SUPARTZ?
SUPARTZ, also called a viscosupplement, is a non-surgical, non-pharmacologic therapy for knee osteoarthritis. SUPARTZ can help relieve your knee pain, improve your mobility, and get you back to your normal activities.

6. Why choose SUPARTZ?

  • Proven pain relief across multiple clinical studies
  • As safe as saline in clinical studies
  • More than 280 million SUPARTZ injections administered worldwide
  • 3 or 5 injections so you only receive the number of shots that your doctor recommends

7. Does SUPARTZ involve any other drugs or surgery?
No drug or surgery is involved in SUPARTZ (other than a local anesthetic to numb your knee). You can schedule SUPARTZ treatments just as you would any other office visit. The whole procedure only takes a few minutes. Your doctor may advise you to avoid strenuous activities for a few days after your injections.

8. How does SUPARTZ work?
SUPARTZ treats knee osteoarthritis by temporarily replacing the diseased synovial fluid in your knee, which is an underlying cause of your pain. Unlike oral analgesics or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) that affect all parts of your body, SUPARTZ specifically targets the osteoarthritis pain in your knee.

9. How do I know if SUPARTZ is the right way to treat my knee?
SUPARTZ may be the right treatment for you if:

  1. Your knee pain is due to osteoarthritis
  2. You are not getting adequate osteoarthritis knee pain relief from walking and/or physical therapy
  3. You are not getting adequate osteoarthritis knee pain relief from pain medications, including:
    • Ibuprofen (e.g., Advil®)
    • Acetaminophen (e.g., Tylenol®)
    • Naproxen sodium (e.g., Aleve®)

10. What if I don’t like needles—do the SUPARTZ injections hurt?
Most patients experience little or no discomfort during the injection. (8) If you’re concerned about the injection, we can discuss ways to reduce any mild pain that may occur.

Video: Osteoarthritis of the knee