What is Hyaluronic Acid (HA)?
HA is a molecule found naturally throughout the human body. It is an important component of the joint fluid (synovial fluid). The synovial fluid allows joints to move easily and freely while also absorbing the shock during activity (think of it like a WD40 for your joints). In a healthy joint, the joint fluid helps to protect bones and other joint tissues from injury and disease. Synovial fluid also has anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects.
How does it work?
The HA in your joint tissues is continuously broken down and replaced over time. During the slow progression of OA, the HA is broken down faster than it is replaced. HA injections simply replace the missing fluid in a joint, providing cushioning and lubrication.
Who is a good candidate for HA Injections?
Hyaluronic Acid (HA) injections can be a good option for those suffering from pain caused by osteoarthritis, especially for those who have not responded adequately to conservative non-pharmacologic therapy.
What is the injection process?
- When you come in for your appointment the practitioner will go over your consent form, explain the procedure and answer any questions you may have.
- The practitioner will then position you on the table and the injection site will be cleaned.
- Using ultrasound guidance, the HA will be injected using a sterile needle.
What can I expect after my injection?
If you received an injection into your knee, elbow or wrist, some mild tenderness and aching in the following 2-3 days are to be expected. If you received an injection into your hip, shoulder, thumb or toes, it can be profoundly sore for 2-3 days simply because it is a tight joint that hurts when it stretches.
When can I expect results and how long will they last?
With HA injections, pain tends to improve quickly and slowly returns over 3-6 months. More severe conditions may not benefit for as long as other conditions.
Can HA be combined with other types of injections?
Yes. Many times, a patient may wish to combine their HA treatment with a PRP or nStride injection. It is important to note that PRP therapy cannot be combined with any injection options that contain cortisone as this inhibits the efficacy of your platelet-rich plasma injection.
How long before I can return to exercise after my injection?
Generally, there is very little down time following an HA injection. We recommend easing back into normal activities after approximately 2-3 days.
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