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Avoid knee surgery and knee pain with hyaluronic acid injections

Updated on February 19, 2013
Knee Pain can sometimes be relieved with Hyalgan injections.
Knee Pain can sometimes be relieved with Hyalgan injections. | Source

Hyaluronic Acid Injections for Knee Pain

Do you have chronic knee pain? A lot of people do, including me. My left knee is great, but my right knee was causing me considerable pain. In fact, the pain often woke me in the middle of the night before I found a good knee pain treatment option. If you have a painful knee or knees and stiffness from arthritis or injury and are considering knee replacement surgery, you might be able to avoid surgery with injection therapy. Many doctors, especially orthopedic surgeons, are offering what is generaly referred to as "knee programs" that combine a series of hyaluronic acid injections with physical therapy in order to rejuvenate old or injured knees. These work great for some patients, while they're ineffective for others. If your insurance pays fora knee program, however, I think going through one is definitely worth a shot. Doing so might postpone or even eliminate your need for surgery for knee pain from injuries or damage.

Knee Pain Treatment with Hyaluronic Acid Injections

As we age, we lose synovial fluid, the substance that supports cartilage and provides our joints with cushioning. Injuries and wear and tear from sports can have the same results. With the knee program, synovial fluid in the form of Hyalgan, a hyaluronic acid, is injected directly into the knee, over a course of weeks. Typically, a physical therapist also works with patients to increase mobility and strength in union with the hyaluronic acid injections.

Before entering the program, your knee or knees will be x-rayed to determine if you're a good candidate. When my right knee was x-rayed, I found out why I was having so much knee pain: that knee had very little cartilage to support it. It was bone on bone in some spots. If your doctor decides the program could be beneficial for you, you'll be scheduled for several weeks of appointments. The average program is five weeks long, with one injection a week and three days a week of physical therapy. Some facilities also include electrotherapy and ultrasound heat therapy.

The hyaluronic acid injections involve little pain. First, the area will be sprayed with a numbing solution. Next, a numbing shot is given in the knee area. Then the doctor will inject the fluid, using x-ray guided technology. The entire process is no more painful that getting a flu shot, and it's over before you know it.

This treatment is about 60-70% effective. While it doesn't work in every case, it is certainly worth investigating in order to possibly avoid painful, expensive knee replacement surgery. With the knee program, there's no "down time." Following the injection, your knee will be a little sore, but you'll be able to ambulate. After my hyaluronic acid injections, I wasn't even sore or tender on the days following the knee injections.

The beneficial effects from the knee program can last from six months to years. Some therapy patients never have to go through a second round. It's going on three years since I used this knee pain treatment, and I'm happy to report that my results are still in effect. My right knee still hurts when I do much walking or standing, but I'm no longer awakened in the middle of the night with severe knee pain. The knee injections are definitely worth a try before submitting to knee surgery. If you're having severe knee pain, discuss the knee injections with your physician.

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    • poetryman6969 profile image

      poetryman6969 

      3 years ago

      I hope this works. Definitely sounds better than surgery!

    • Esmeowl12 profile image

      Cindy A Johnson 

      6 years ago from Sevierville, TN

      This is my next step for my knee pain. I've been doing steroid injections for a couple of years but they're becoming less and less effective. Unfortunately the hyaluronic acid injections are very expensive and insurance doesn't cover much of it. Thanks for the info.

    • sfshine profile image

      sfshine 

      6 years ago from Michigan

      Nice information. Recently I have been having Fenugreek for my diabetes. I found that my knee pains are gone with Fenugreek. Then I searched and found that Fenugreek helps with arthritis. Fenugreek also has lot of other benefits like lowering blood pressure, curing hot flushes from menopause etc.

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      7 years ago from Georgia

      Zimmer, the injections really helped with my night pain!

    • profile image

      Zimmer NexGen Recall 

      7 years ago

      Nice hub. My grandma has the option to have a synovial fluid injections. but the doctor recommend to have a full knee surgery both of her knees.

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      9 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks, Doc! I had it myself.

    • profile image

      Dr. Peter Ting 

      9 years ago

      The article is insightful!

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