Hyaluronic acid injections are used to help patients who suffer from osteoarthritis and have not gotten pain relief from other treatments like physical therapy or steroids. When a joint is healthy, there is a substance called synovial fluid that gives lubrication to the cartilage as well as acting as a shock absorber. The synovial fluid, which has hyalronic acid in it, breaks down as part of the degenerative process causing people to have stiffness and joint pain. With hyaluronic acid injections, it acts as a lubricant and shock absorber, but can also hinder naturally occurring substances that the body makes that cause inflammation.
Hyaluronic acid is directly injected into the knee joint and, depending on the patient, consists of one injection one week apart (usually between three or five). There may be temporary swelling and/or pain in the area that was injected. It is recommended to take care not to strain your knee joints after the procedure for two days and to avoid such activities as heavy lifting and sports that require a lot of running.
Hyaluronic acid is FDA approved for knee joints and can be a good option for people who have issues with over the counter painkillers as well as steroid/cortisone injections which can harm your joints with only temporary relief of pain.