The reason for the rising popularity of hyaluronic acid is that it’s a naturally occurring lubricant in your skin, eyes, and joints, so it’s safe and effective. Hyaluronic acid has a variety of aesthetic and medical uses. Aestheticians use it to plump up wrinkled skin, and doctors use it to relieve acid reflux, heal wounds faster, maintain bone strength, lubricate eyes, and even stop bladder pain.
Dr. Benoy Benny at the Spine and Sports Center uses hyaluronic acid to treat your knee pain caused by osteoarthritis. Along with other possible treatments ranging from the basic RICE approach (rest, ice, compression, elevation) to regenerative medicine, such as platelet-rich plasma and stem cell therapy, Dr. Benny offers hyaluronic acid injections to help relieve your symptoms of osteoarthritis and other knee pain.
What is hyaluronic acid?
Hyaluronic acid is a gooey, gel-like substance found throughout your body that performs certain functions, including:
- Prompting the growth and regeneration of your cartilage
- Serving as a lubricant and shock absorber in your joints
- Keeping inflammation down
When you have osteoarthritis in your knee, you not only have damaged or missing cartilage, you’ve also lost the hyaluronic acid you need to cushion your joints. If it’s a severe case, you may even have bone rubbing on bone in your joint, which explains the pain you’re feeling.
What happens during a hyaluronic acid injection?
Technically called viscosupplementation, hyaluronic acid injections simply add more of the lubricating fluid to the joint in need.
First, Dr. Benny cleans the area to make sure it’s sterile. If you’re in pain on the day of your injection and have noticeable swelling, Dr. Benny may numb the area with a local anesthetic and drain some of the fluid from your knee first.
He then injects the hyaluronic acid solution directly into your arthritic joint where it goes to work lubricating the bones and fighting inflammation.
The procedure is short, and you can go home immediately afterwards. However, you should avoid strenuous activity for a few days.
How effective are hyaluronic acid injections?
Everyone responds differently to hyaluronic acid injections for osteoarthritis, just as they respond differently to the other treatment options. Some people have great success with the RICE treatment and never need medication. Others find their pain is best relieved with corticosteroid shots (however, these give only temporary relief and cannot be used long term). Still, others rely on over-the-counter pain relievers to quell their symptoms.
In general, you can expect the pain relief to be on par with a steroid injection without the associated risks. Hyaluronic acid injections also tend to be more effective in younger patients with less severe symptoms.
If you’re suffering from osteoarthritis in your knees and are looking for a way to alleviate your pain, give us a call. Our team can evaluate your symptoms and overall health and help you determine if hyaluronic acid injections might be able to help. Call us at any of our three Houston-area locations or book an appointment online.