If you have visited our office and were diagnosed with knee osteoarthritis, then you likely have heard of a “gel injection” otherwise known as a Hyaluronic Acid Injection. So, what is this injection and can it help you?
Hyaluronic Acid is a substance present inside joints (knee, hip, shoulder, ankle, etc.) The role of this inside your joints is to help lubricate, absorb the shock, and decrease friction. Over time, wear and tear of the cartilage leads to a decreased amount of hyaluronic acid which results in increased pain within your joint. That’s where HA injections come into play.
Hyaluronic acid injections are designed to replenish this loss within the joint. Depending on the type that has been recommended for you, you may be scheduled for one injection or you may be scheduled for a series of 3-5 injections (with one injection a week.)
These injections are generally well-tolerated by patients but what should you expect? The fluid being injected is thicker compared to a cortisone injection. I always tell my patients to expect some increased soreness or a “full-like” feeling in the joint afterwards that is best counter-acted with some ice, rest, and NSAIDs. It is best to rest from any significant physical activity for 24 hours after your injection. Common side effects from these injections include but are not limited to; swelling, increased pain.
HA injections are a good alternative to cortisone injections as they work differently. Cortisone tends to provide immediate relief whereas HA injections can sometimes take up to 4 weeks to feel the effects. If you are continuing to have debilitating knee or shoulder pain, contact our office and make an appointment to discuss if HA injections are right for you.
References: Orthopaedic Knowledge Update 5, Chapter 13: Non-arthroplasty Management of Knee Arthritis