Osteoarthritis occurs when the cartilage lining the articulating (contacting) surfaces of a joint gets damaged or wears out, exposing nerve endings inside and leading to inflammation. Since a joint is a precision, biological mechanism the slightest change in any of its components will eventually lead to breakdown, much like car engine.
As the cartilage thins, bone on bone contact occurs. Since bone is living tissue, it will respond to this irritation by forming osteophytes, better known as bone spurs. The osteophytes compound the problem by disrupting proper joint movement and irritating surrounding ligaments. And to make matters worse, the joint fluid, called synovial fluid gradually loses its ability to cushion the joint. Synovial fluid to a joint is like motor oil to a car engine’s cylinder: it enables “near frictionless” movement. It forms a thin, lubricating buffer between the ends of the two bones that make up a joint; for example in the knee, the tibia (lower leg) and femur (upper leg).
The knee is perhaps the most common joint to experience osteoarthritis. It is a large, primary weight bearing joint that takes a lot of punishment in the course of a day. Basic activities like walking, running, going up stairs, stepping down from a curb, exercising, and sports really put the knees to task. Those who have advanced osteoarthritis in the knees realize how important they are to a normal life.
I ran across this treatment for knee osteoarthritis that involves a single injection that can last for six months. It is called Synvisc-One, and it’s made from the combs of roosters. Apparently, the substance found in rooster combs is similar in biochemical make up to that of synovial fluid. If you’ve ever pressed or bent a rooster’s comb, you can see why– it is soft, cushiony, and rebounds quickly to its original shape.
Synvisc is indicated for the treatment of pain in osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee in patients who have failed to respond adequately to conservative non-pharmacologic therapy and simple analgesics, e.g., acetaminophen.