Viscosupplementation (Hyaluronic acid)
Viscosupplementation (Hyaluronic acid) injections can provide relief from joint pain related to osteoarthritis with the aim of improving function.
What is Hyaluronic acid?
Hyaluronic acid is a naturally occurring large molecule that calms inflammation and encourages associated anti-inflammatory molecules to become more active in the treated area. It stimulates cell generation and the production of synovial fluid in damaged joints. This process then encourages the release of more hyaluronic acid and anti-inflammatory proteins that calm the affected area.
Hyaluronic acid is an extremely beneficial component of cartilage and synovial fluid. It’s a major constituent facilitating the sliding properties that encourage pain-free movement of the knees and other joints of the body.
Hyaluronic acid injection
Hyaluronic acid injections assist by supplementing depleted viscous materials of the joint in a process called viscosupplementation. The knee is the most typically treated joint. Over time the injected hyaluronic acid is absorbed into the surface of the joint where it has the potential to modify inflammation within the joint, which helps reduce pain and improve strength and function.
Considerations for Viscosupplementation
Viscosupplementation (Hyaluronic acid) can be recommended as an additional treatment or stand-alone procedure depending on individual considerations related to osteoarthritis.
Hyaluronic acid is generally well tolerated and may help to avoid longer term use of anti-inflammatory drugs.
Viscosupplementation is worth trying if other treatments such as exercise, physical therapy, painkillers, anti-inflammatories or steroids prove ineffective. Side effects of hyaluronic acid injections, such as discomfort or swelling, are minimal and the procedure is certainly worth considering prior to more invasive surgical options.
A consultation with a sports medicine physician will shine a light on the best way forward for recovery and a return to regular activities.