Hyaluronan or hyaluronic acid is a thick fluid injected to cushion the knee joint after cartilage breaks down. Osteoarthritis is a how to treat arthritis in knee joint disease which primarily affects cartilage. The ends of the two bones in a normal joint are covered with cartilage, allowing the bones to glide over one another. Cartilage also serves as a shock absorber.
Pain, stiffness, and limited range of motion for the affected joint are the result of the deterioration. The treatment which injects hyaluronan into the knee, known as viscosupplementation, is an effort to improve the lubrication of the knee, reduce pain, and improve range of motion. Here are 10 things you should know about hyaluronan injections. 1 — There are currently five hyaluronates approved by the U. Hyaluronan injections are considered treatments or therapies rather than drugs.
Viscosupplementation for osteoarthritis has been studied since the 1970s. In 1997, the first two hyaluronates were approved by the FDA and three more have since been FDA-approved. 2 — Hyaluronan is usually not a first line treatment for knee osteoarthritis. 3 — The treatment course for the five types of hyaluronan injections varies. Euflexxa requires three separate knee injections given one week apart.
Both Hyalgan and Supartz require five separate injections given one week apart. The injections are given by a doctor or orthopedic surgeon in their office. One or both knees can be injected at the same time. The addition of Synvisc-One to the roster in 2009 made the injections more convenient, requiring just one rather than multiple injections. 4 — How well hyaluronan injections work has been debated. Clinical studies have concluded that hyaluronan injections can decrease pain and improve function in patients with mild to moderate osteoarthritis of the knee. There is no evidence that suggests hyaluronan injections affect the underlying disease course.
It is clear that the injections are not a cure. 5 — Among patients who were helped by hyaluronan injections, when pain relief occurred was variable. The most significant pain relief occurred 8 to 12 weeks after the first injection for most patients. Studies have shown that Synvisc and Hyalgan provide pain relief from knee osteoarthritis for up to six months, with some patients getting relief for an even longer duration. 2 months after the fifth injection. Patients may be able to repeat the course of treatment with hyaluronan injections.
For example, a patient who has experienced up to six months of pain relief from Synvisc but has had pain return may be a candidate for another course of Synvisc injections. 6 — To minimize potential side effects, after an injection patients should avoid strenuous activities for 48 hours. 7 — Hyaluronan injections are only FDA-approved for osteoarthritis of the knee. Some day, viscosupplementation may be used to treat other joints affected by osteoarthritis. Hyaluronan injections for the shoulder, hip, and ankle are being studied.