Synvisc, Hyalgan, Orthovisc viscosupplementation for osteoarthritis

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How does the Knee work?

The largest joint in the body is the knee. The knee is made up of the lower end of the thigh bone (femur),  the upper end of the shin bone (tibia)  and the knee cap (patella). Large ligaments attach to the thigh and shin bones to provide stability. These long thigh muscles give the knee its' strength.

The joint surfaces where these three bones touch are covered with a smooth substance that cushions the bones and enables them to move easily. All remaining surfaces of the knee are covered by a thin, smooth tissue liner called the synovial membrane. This membrane releases a special fluid that lubricates the knee and reduces friction in a healthy knee.

Causes of Knee Pain:

The most common cause of chronic knee pain is arthritis. The most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and traumatic arthritis.

Osteoarthritis usually occurs after age 50. Family history of osteoarthritis is common. It can also appear in younger people who have injured their knee in the past. Early symptoms include pain and stiffness in the morning or after physical activity. The cartilage that cushions the bones of the knee softens and wears away. The bones then rub against each other, causing pain and stiffness.

Rheumatoid Arthritis is a disease in which the synovial membrane becomes thickened and inflamed, producing too much synovial fluid, which overfills the joint space. This inflammation can damage the cartilage and eventually cause pain and stiffness. This form of arthritis is triggered by an immune system failure. It is more common in woman. Symptoms include fatigue and flu-like aching.

A serious knee injury can lead to traumatic arthritis.  A knee fracture or knee ligament tears may damage the cartilage over time.

Bursitis of the knee occurs when a fluid-filled sac that serves as a cushion between a bone and soft tissue becomes inflamed. It can be caused by extensive kneeling, infection or injury. It usually lasts for a few weeks. Symptoms are pain and swelling just below the inside of the knee. Treatment includes stretching and anti-inflammatory drugs.

The tendon that connects the hamstrings in the back of the thigh to the knee can become inflamed and cause pain in the knee. This is know as tendonitis. Treatment includes rest, anti-inflammatory drugs, and physical therapy.

There are three common sports-related causes of knee pain; runner's knee, injured ligaments and torn cartilage. Runner's Knee is caused by inflammation of the tendons, which develops when you run, ski or skate too much or incorrectly. Symptoms are pain and swelling at the front of the knee. Ligaments are tough bands of tissue connecting bones in your joints that can be stretched or torn when your knee is twisted or hit. Symptoms are immediate and severe pain. The two pads of cartilage in your knee can be torn if you forcefully twist your knee. Symptoms can include pain, swelling, locking or clicking of the knee. As mentioned above, sports injuries can lead to the development of osteoarthritis later in life.

For further reading on arthritis we recommend the following links:

Arthritis: Timely Treatments for an Ageless Disease from FDA website.


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