What’s the Difference Between Viscosupplementation and a Cortisone Shot for Treating Arthritis?

Apr 5, 2019 | Arthritis, Osteoarthritis, Treatments

Understand How Arthritis Injections Can Help Your Knee Pain

No matter which variant of arthritis you’ve been diagnosed with, all that matters is that you hurt. Even worse, science still hasn’t found a cure for this chronic condition, and it’s currently the most common such ailment impacting people over the age of 50. Thankfully, you do have options when it comes to treating arthritis, especially when it comes to knee pain.

Medical professionals increasingly recommend that arthritis sufferers pursue alternative treatments for their joint pain, instead of immediately jumping to a Total Knee Replacement. While you should certainly pursue other conservative options like physical therapy, changes in diet, and weight loss, more and more people are turning toward knee injections for pain relief.

Treatments like Platelet-Rich Therapy and Amniotic Regenerative Medicine are growing in popularity as treatments. But the two tried-and-true injections most frequently offered by the majority of healthcare providers are cortisone (steroid) shots and viscosupplementation.

To ensure you understand which one is right for you, you should learn about the key differences between these two knee injections

What is Viscosupplementation?

Also known as a “Rooster Shot” in some circles, this arthritis treatment injects a natural gel lubricant directly into your knee. This gel is comprised of natural hyaluronic acid typically derived from the comb of roosters.

Viscosupplementation is specifically reserved for people who suffer from osteoarthritis in their knees. The fluid supplements the deteriorating cartilage in that joint. It directly cushions your joints from rubbing against each other, which is always the most immediate source of pain from arthritis.

What is a Cortisone Shot?

The more commonly known treatment for arthritis, a cortisone shot simply injects a steroid into an area of your body impacted by arthritis. Cortisol is a steroid hormone that suppresses your immune system so your body doesn’t over-react to the arthritis attacking the joints of your body. In this way, it reduces the inflammation you feel in your joints, which provides pain relief.

What are the Primary Differences Between the Two?

Both treatments inject a fluid into the area of your body impacted by arthritis in order to reduce the inflammation in their joints as a way to impart pain relief. However, that’s where the similarities end.

A cortisone shot is a more generalized treatment than viscosupplementation, as it merely treats the symptoms of arthritis – the inflammation. Viscosupplementation directly addresses more of the root causes by supplementing the joint with the cushioning fluid of hyaluronic acid to make up for lost cartilage. Even more, it can increase joint motion and function in arthritic knees, which truly improves your overall quality of life.

Moreover, viscosupplementation typically lasts longer than a cortisone shot – 6+ months instead of sometimes just a few weeks or months like the steroid injection.

Both methods of treating arthritis have helped people for decades. When your disease doesn’t have a cure, you need whatever pain relief you can get. However, before you subject your body to just any injection that promises to help you feel better, you should consult with your physician to determine the right treatment for your condition. You should only invest in solutions that deliver the long-term support your body and ailing joints deserve.

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