Treatment possiblities for osteoarthritis
What is osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis begins with lesions of the cartilage. The cartilage is progressively destroyed. After a certain time the structure of the bone located inside the joint deteriorates, for example by the formation of osteophytes.
These lesions of the cartilage and the bone are accompanied by an inflammation of the synovial membrane.
Patients with osteoarthritis suffer from:
- joint pains
- reduction of the joint mobility
Oral treatment with chondroprotectives
Chondroprotectives available in Switzerland are made of chondroitinsulfate, a specific, highly purified substance extracted from the cartilage.These products efficiently reduce joint pain, improve the mobility of the joint and slow down the destruction of the cartilage.
Chondroprotectives are used as long term treatment for several months up to several years depending on the severity of the osteoarthritis lesions.Side effects very seldom occur with these products, especially there are no gastro-intestinal side effects. This medications onset of action is delayed for 2-3 weeks.
The efficacy of the treatment usually remains for several months after having stopped the intake of medication.This treatment has to be prescribed by a physician and is reimbursed.
Intra-articular injections with hyaluronic acid (viscosupplementation)
The joint contains a liquid called synovial fluid. In osteoarthritis the volume of the synovial fluid is diminished and its content is qualitatively modified. These modifications reduce the lubrication of the cartilage and diminish the absorption of shocks due to joint mouvements.
The viscosupplementation enriches the synovial fluid by injecting hyaluronic acid directly in the joint. This treatment reduces the pain and improves joint mobility. Usually the viscosupplementation consists of 3 intra-articular injections with weekly intervals.
The efficacy of this treatment on pain and joint mobility commences within a few days and continues generally.