(NAPS) – Osteoarthritis (OA), the breakdown of cartilage in the joint, is the most common form of arthritis among Americans today. The disease primarily affects weight-bearing joints such as the knee. Although a variety of conditions can result in knee pain, it is important to pay careful attention to your symptoms to determine if your pain is a result of OA. Dr. Robin West of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center answers a few questions to help you better understand knee OA and the available treatment options.
The most common symptoms of knee OA are pain, swelling and stiffness of the knee. As the disease progresses, other symptoms may include limitations in range of motion and clicking or catching of the joint. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, contact your doctor to determine which treatment is best for you.
For the most part, your primary care doctor can diagnose osteoarthritis of the knee, but for more in-depth treatment, your doctor will most likely refer you to an orthopedic surgeon or a rheumatologist. The specialist will help you begin the course of action that is best for you based on the current state of your osteoarthritis.
Only your doctor can tell you which type of treatment is right for you. Doctors often recommend over-the-counter pain relievers for mild OA. But as the disease progresses, it is important to visit your doctor regularly to make sure that you are using the most appropriate treatment.
Viscosupplementation is a commonly prescribed treatment that lubricates the joint to reduce pain and stiffness. One such treatment, Euflexxa (1% sodium hyaluronate), is used in cases of mild to moderate knee OA after unsuccessful treatment with exercise and simple analgesics.
It is always important to pay close attention to the medications that you put in your body. Make your doctor aware of all of your allergies. When it comes to viscosupplementation treatments, people with allergies to avian products, including eggs, or manufacturing chemicals such as formaldehyde should ask for a therapy that is not manufactured using those elements, such as Euflexxa, to eliminate the risk of related reactions.
Low-impact activities, such as biking and swimming, are ideal for knee OA sufferers because they allow the knee to move while reducing stress on the joint. Whereas low-impact activities are beneficial to the arthritic knee, activities with a great deal of pounding on the joint, such as basketball and tennis, can increase the knee’s wear and tear, furthering the progression of the disease. For more information about osteoarthritis, talk to your doctor, and visit www.euflexxa.com to learn more about this treatment.
EUFLEXXA (1% sodium hyaluronate) is used to relieve knee pain due to osteoarthritis. It is used in people who do not get enough relief from simple pain medications such as acetaminophen or from exercise and physical therapy.
Important Safety Information
You should not receive this product if you have had any previous allergic reaction to EUFLEXXA or hyaluronan products. You should not have an injection into the knee if you have a knee joint infection or if you have skin disease or infection around the injection site.
EUFLEXXA is only for injection into the knee performed by a qualified doctor. After you receive this injection you may need to avoid activities such as jogging, tennis, heavy lifting, or standing on your feet for a long time (more than one hour). The safety and effectiveness of repeat treatment cycles of EUFLEXXA have not been established. The safety and effectiveness of EUFLEXXA have not been shown in people under 18 years of age.
Side effects sometimes seen when EUFLEXXA is injected into the knee joint were pain, swelling, skin irritation, and tenderness and these were generally mild and did not last long.
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