Hyaluronic acid injections have several uses, including for the treatment of osteoarthritis, particularly in the context of knee pain. Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease characterized by the breakdown of cartilage in the joints, leading to pain, swelling, and reduced mobility.
A hyaluronic acid injection treatment for joints, particularly in the context of osteoarthritis, works by supplementing the naturally occurring synovial fluid within the joint space. Here’s a breakdown of the process:
How Does Hyaluronic Acid Injection Treatment Work?
When it comes to the joints, HA injections work in many ways, as listed below.
Joint lubrication and cushioning: In a healthy joint, synovial fluid acts as a lubricant and shock absorber, facilitating smooth movement and protecting the joint from friction and impact. In osteoarthritis, the quality and quantity of synovial fluid may be compromised, leading to increased friction, pain, and reduced joint mobility.
Hyaluronic acid, a substance naturally present in synovial fluid, is injected directly into the affected joint, often the knee. The injected hyaluronic acid serves as a visco supplement, supplementing the diminished or altered synovial fluid in the joint.
Restoration of lubrication and shock absorption: Hyaluronic acid has unique viscoelastic properties, making it an effective lubricant and shock absorber.
By reintroducing hyaluronic acid into the joint, the treatment aims to restore optimal lubrication, reduce friction between joint surfaces, and enhance the joint’s ability to absorb impact during movement.
Pain relief and improved mobility: Improved lubrication and cushioning can lead to a reduction in pain associated with joint movement. Enhanced joint function and reduced friction contribute to increased mobility, allowing individuals with osteoarthritis to perform daily activities more comfortably.
Series of injections: Hyaluronic acid injections are often administered as a series of injections over a specified period, with the frequency and number of injections determined by the healthcare provider. The gradual nature of the treatment allows for sustained improvement over time.
Why Use Injectable Hyaluronic Acid?
Injectable HA is favored for its versatility and minimally invasive nature, making it a popular choice for various cosmetic and medical applications. HA is often used for individuals experiencing joint pain and reduced mobility due to osteoarthritis, especially in weight-bearing joints like the knee.
HA injections may also be considered for osteoarthritis patients with mild to moderate joint pain and functional impairment.
Common Conditions Treated by Hyaluronic Acid Injections
Here are some common conditions for which HA injections are utilized:
Knee arthritis, often associated with wear and tear on the joint cartilage, leads to pain, swelling, and reduced mobility. HA injections provide a non-surgical option for managing knee arthritis by supplementing synovial fluid, reducing friction, and improving joint lubrication. This can alleviate pain and enhance joint function, especially in the early to moderate stages of the condition.
Knee osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease characterized by the breakdown of cartilage, leading to joint pain, stiffness, and inflammation. HA injections are commonly used to address the symptoms of knee osteoarthritis.
By introducing hyaluronic acid directly into the knee joint, the treatment aims to restore cushioning, improve joint movement, and reduce pain associated with osteoarthritis.
A meniscal tear involves damage to the cartilage in the knee, often resulting from sudden twisting or impact on the joint.
HA injections can be considered as part of the treatment plan for meniscal tears. While surgery may be necessary in severe cases, HA injections may help manage symptoms by providing additional lubrication and support to the injured knee, contributing to pain relief and improved mobility.
Administering Hyaluronic Acid Injections
Below is a step-by-step process of hyaluronic acid (HA) injection administration.
Before the hyaluronic acid gel injection
Before the actual injection, patients typically undergo a consultation with a healthcare professional to assess their suitability for the treatment. The consultation usually has two parts:
Consultation: The healthcare provider evaluates the patient’s medical history, discusses expectations, and ensures that HA injections align with the patient’s health and aesthetic goals.
Pre-procedure instructions: Patients may receive specific guidelines, such as avoiding certain medications that could increase the risk of bleeding or bruising and refraining from consuming alcohol to minimize potential side effects.
During the hyaluronic acid knee injection
The following steps are taken during the procedure.
Preparation of the area: The patient is positioned comfortably, usually in a seated or reclined position. The skin around the targeted knee area is cleaned and prepared with an antiseptic solution to reduce the risk of infection.
Local anesthesia (optional): Depending on the patient’s preference and the healthcare provider’s recommendation, a local anesthetic may be applied to minimize discomfort during the injection.
Injection process: Using a fine needle, the healthcare provider carefully administers the hyaluronic acid gel into the knee joint. The injection site is often determined based on the specific location of pain or degeneration. The procedure is relatively quick, typically taking around 15-30 minutes.
Post-injection assessment: After the injection, the healthcare provider may assess the patient’s range of motion and provide post-procedure instructions. Patients are usually allowed to resume normal activities but may be advised to avoid strenuous activities for a specified period.
After the hyaluronic acid gel injection:
The following steps occur after the HA injection:
Monitoring: Patients are monitored for any immediate adverse reactions or side effects. Swelling or mild discomfort at the injection site is normal and typically resolves within a short time.
Post-procedure instructions: Patients may receive post-procedure instructions, including recommendations for avoiding excessive pressure on the treated joint and managing any temporary swelling.
Follow-up: Depending on the treatment plan, patients may need to schedule follow-up appointments to monitor progress and determine the need for additional injections.
What to Expect After the Treatment
Here’s what you can expect after the treatment.
Possible Side Effects
While HA injections are generally well-tolerated, patients may experience some temporary side effects, including:
Swelling: Mild swelling at the injection site is common and usually subsides within a few days.
Redness or bruising: Some patients may experience minor redness or bruising, which is typically temporary.
Tenderness: The treated area may be sensitive to the touch immediately after the injection.
Itching or discomfort: Patients might experience mild itching or discomfort, which is usually short-lived.
What Recovery Looks Like
Recovery following HA injections is typically straightforward:
Immediate resumption of activities: Patients can usually resume normal activities shortly after the procedure.
Avoidance of strenuous activities: While most daily activities are allowed, strenuous exercise or activities that put excessive pressure on the treated joint may be advised against for a specified period.
Follow-up appointments: Patients may have follow-up appointments to assess progress and determine the need for additional injections.
The experience can vary between patients, but here are a few things to note.
Mild discomfort: Some patients may experience mild discomfort during the injection, but this is usually brief.
Local anesthesia: The use of local anesthesia, if opted for, can minimize any potential pain or discomfort.
Quick procedure: The injection process is generally quick, taking approximately 15-30 minutes.
Gradual improvement: While some patients may experience immediate relief, the full benefits of HA injections may take a few days to become noticeable.
Individual variances: Patient experiences can vary, and factors such as pain tolerance, individual response, and the specific area treated can influence the post-treatment experience.
Experience Knee Pain Relief at the Centeno-Schultz Clinic
Why choose us? Our experienced healthcare professionals specialize in orthopedic and regenerative medicine, ensuring that you receive personalized and expert care.
We employ state-of-the-art techniques, including hyaluronic acid injections, to address knee pain at its source. Your well-being is our priority. We work closely with each patient to develop a customized treatment plan that aligns with your unique needs and goals.
Experience relief from knee pain and regain your mobility with the dedicated team at the Centeno-Schultz Clinic. Our comprehensive approach, combining medical expertise with advanced treatments like hyaluronic acid injections, aims to provide you with lasting comfort and improved joint function.
Don’t let knee pain limit your life—trust the Centeno-Schultz Clinic for exceptional care and a path to a more active and pain-free lifestyle.
Christopher J. Centeno, M.D. is an international expert and specialist in Interventional Orthopedics and the clinical use of bone marrow concentrate in orthopedics. He is board-certified in physical medicine and rehabilitation with a subspecialty of pain medicine through The American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. Dr. Centeno is one of the few physicians in the world with extensive experience in the culture expansion of and clinical use of adult bone marrow concentrate to treat orthopedic injuries. His clinic incorporates a variety of revolutionary pain management techniques to bring its broad patient base relief and results. Dr. Centeno treats patients from all over the US who…
John R. Schultz M.D. is a national expert and specialist in Interventional Orthopedics and the clinical use of bone marrow concentrate for orthopedic injuries. He is board certified in Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine and underwent fellowship training in both. Dr. Schultz has extensive experience with same day as well as culture expanded bone marrow concentrate and sees patients at the CSC Broomfield, Colorado Clinic, as well the Regenexx Clinic in Grand Cayman. Dr. Schultz emphasis is on the evaluation and treatment of thoracic and cervical disc, facet, nerve, and ligament injuries including the non-surgical treatment of Craniocervical instability (CCI). Dr. Schultz trained at George Washington School of…
Dr. Pitts is originally from Chicago, IL but is a medical graduate of Vanderbilt School of Medicine in Nashville, TN. After Vanderbilt, he completed a residency in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R) at Emory University in Atlanta, GA. The focus of PM&R is the restoration of function and quality of life. In residency, he gained much experience in musculoskeletal medicine, rehabilitation, spine, and sports medicine along with some regenerative medicine. He also gained significant experience in fluoroscopically guided spinal procedures and peripheral injections. However, Dr. Pitts wanted to broaden his skills and treatment options beyond the current typical standards of care.
Post-residency, Dr. Markle was selected to the Interventional Orthopedic Fellowship program at the Centeno-Schultz Clinic. During his fellowship, he gained significant experience in the new field of Interventional Orthopedics and regenerative medicine, honing his skills in advanced injection techniques into the spine and joints treating patients with autologous, bone marrow concentrate and platelet solutions. Dr. Markle then accepted a full-time attending physician position at the Centeno-Schultz Clinic, where he both treats patients and trains Interventional Orthopedics fellows. Dr. Markle is an active member of the Interventional Orthopedic Foundation and serves as a course instructor, where he trains physicians from around the world.
Dr. Money is an Indiana native who now proudly calls Colorado home. He attended medical school at Kansas City University and then returned to Indiana to complete a Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation residency program at Indiana University, where he was trained on non-surgical methods to improve health and function as well as rehabilitative care following trauma, stroke, spinal cord injury, brain injury, etc. Dr. Money has been following the ideology behind Centeno-Schultz Clinic and Regenexx since he was in medical school, as he believed there had to be a better way to care for patients than the status quo. The human body has incredible healing capabilities…
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