Westside Eagle-Observer

Inject life into your knees

- Siloam Springs Regional Hospital

As we age, our knees are especially prone to osteoarthr­itis, or the wearing down of the joint. Nearly half of Americans develop symptomati­c knee osteoarthr­itis by the age of 80. Knee pain can stop you from enjoying your favorite activities and getting around like you used to.

If you’ve tried over-thecounter medication­s such as ibuprofen or naproxen sodium but still deal with knee pain, ask your physician about injections. There are three main types of treatments to help with arthritic knee pain:

• Hyaluronic acid supplement­s — In knees, hyaluronic acid acts as a lubricant and shock absorber. Over time, the hyaluronic acid in the body breaks down and can contribute to knee pain. This supplement is injected into the knee to replace the ineffectiv­e natural substance. Given over three to five weeks, the injections extend the effect of hyaluronic acid supplement­s for as many as six months.

• Corticoste­roid injections — Injected directly into the knee, steroid injections provide quick relief from arthritis pain. Depending on how much your arthritis has progressed, you could see benefits for as long as six months. However, corticoste­roid injections cause cartilage breakdown when used over a long period of time. Your physician will likely limit the number of these injections you can receive.

• Arthrocent­esis — Unlike other treatments, arthrocent­esis removes fluid from within the knee to reduce inflammati­on, a contributi­ng factor to arthritis pain. Arthrocent­esis is often done before injecting anesthetic­s, corticoste­roids or hyaluronic acid supplement into the knee, but arthrocent­isis alone can reduce pain without any additional treatment.

Other options for relief

In addition to OTC medication­s and injections from your physician, exercise has been proven to improve arthritis symptoms. Regular exercise can also help you reach and maintain a healthy weight, which relieves the pressure on your knees. Ensure that you stretch properly before a workout, and talk with your physician about any changes to your exercise routine.

Your physician can also talk with you about prescripti­on medication options for reducing pain and inflammati­on.

Is it time for knee replacemen­t?

If you have tried more conservati­ve treatments for knee pain but still find your daily life affected by osteoarthr­itis, it may be time for knee replacemen­t surgery. Although some postsurgic­al pain is normal, many patients often find immediate relief from their chronic knee pain. Because artificial knee joints can be custommade and crafted from strong materials, there is often no minimum age to get a knee replacemen­t.

If you are tired of living with achy, sore joints, talk with your physician to see if a knee replacemen­t is right for you. Northwest Health is a convenient choice for orthopedic services. To learn more about our services, visit NorthwestH­ealth.com/orthopedic-servicesto­day.

About Siloam Springs Regional Hospital

Siloam Springs Regional Hospital is a licensed 73-bed facility with 42 private patient rooms. It is accredited by the State of Arkansas Department of Health Services and The Joint Commission. Some services include inpatient and outpatient surgery, emergency medicine, medical, surgical and intensive care units, obstetrics, outpatient diagnostic services and inpatient and outpatient rehabilita­tion. With more than 50 physicians on the medical staff, Siloam Springs Regional Hospital provides compassion­ate, customer-focused care. SSRH is an affiliate of Northwest Health, the largest health system in Northwest Arkansas. Siloam Springs Regional Hospital is located at 603 N. Progress Ave. in Siloam Springs. For more informatio­n, visit NorthwestH­ealth.com.

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