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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Study Reveals News about Helpfulness of Glucosamine for Knee Pain

Orthopedics is one of the most exciting and challenging medical fields to work in. It has changed a lot over the past century and, even if you go back a mere decade, you can see how far the field of study has advanced. Oklahoma City has some of the best orthopedic surgeons you can find, but there is a lot happening in orthopedics around the world, and it seems that every week there’s some sort of new discovery or development. For example, did you know that it was recently discovered that glucosamine may not lesson knee cartilage deterioration?

Glucosamine is a natural chemical compound that is found in the body, but the supplement form of the compound has been recommended for an array of medical and orthopedic problems. It has often been prescribed to help ease pain for arthritis patients, but a recent study published in a journal by the American College of Rheumatology may change the way physicians recommend the compound. A study by researchers from the University of Arizona found that oral glucosamine supplementation did not decrease pain or improve knee bone marrow lesions (more commonly known as bone bruises, a condition that is believed to be a source of pain for people with osteoarthritis) in test subjects. 

In a double-blind placebo controlled trial, 201 participants with mild to moderate pain in one or both knees were studied. Participants were treated each day with 1500mg of glucosamine hydrochloride in a 16-ounce bottle of diet lemonade, or a placebo, for a period of 24 weeks. When the results of the test were analyzed, they showed no decrease in cartilage damage in participants in the glucosamine group in comparison with the patients that were only given a placebo. There wasn’t much of a significant change in bone marrow legions. The researchers reported no change in bone marrow legions of 70% of knees, a positive change in 10%, and a worsened state in 18%. 

This study was groundbreaking; it was the first to investigate whether the supplement prevented the worsening of cartilage damage or bone marrow legions. The study showed no evidence that drinking glucosamine supplements reduced knee cartilage damage, relieved pain, or improved function in people with chronic knee pain. This study is certainly interesting, but that doesn’t mean that you should stop taking glucosamine supplements. Glucosamine levels naturally decrease as we age, and that decrease could lead to a gradual deterioration of the joint. It’s possible that supplements can still help decrease pain in other joints. The supplement has also been used to treat sports injuries, TMJ problems, chronic lower back pain, and other issues. The substance may not be able to help you with your knee joint pain, but it can still be helpful for other problems. 

If you are experiencing knee joint pain, talk to one of our specialists at Summit Medical Center and see what sort of treatment or medication would be right for you. With their expertise, you can develop a medical plan that will keep you abreast of any new developments in the field so that you can receive the best, most up-to-date care. 



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