Hyaluronic acid for joints is used to reduce joint pain caused by osteoarthritis (osteoarthritis). Injected hyaluronic acid is similar to a substance naturally occurring in joints, so it can act as a natural lubricant and cushioning agent and support the proper functioning of the joint. How does the procedure work and what do you need to know about it?
Osteoarthritis is an increasingly common condition. It consists of progressive loss of articular cartilage, without the ability to repair the covering cartilage, and synovial disease and changes in fluid values. Osteoarthritis is one of the most common causes of loss of fitness in middle-aged and older people. It most often affects people over 65 years of age, but increasingly it also occurs in people over 35 years of age. Studies indicate that it mainly affects women.
Osteoarthritis can occur in any joint where there is vitreous cartilage . Most often, the changes concern the hips and knees, which are subjected to the greatest loads. Both external and local factors contribute to this disease. The former include:
- lack of movement
- communication and sports injuries
- genetic predisposition
- standing work
- lifting heavy objects
Local factors include:
- joint injuries
- birth and deformity defects
- hip dysplasia
- hormonal disorders.
The disease process affects the muscles, capsular and ligamentous apparatus of the joint, joint surfaces, the subchondral layer of bones, and often also neighboring joints.
What role does hyaluronic acid play in joints?
In recent years, hyaluronic acid – the main component of synovial fluid – has been introduced to the treatment of osteoarthritis . Under physiological conditions, hyaluronate (salt of hyaluronic acid) is a compound synthesized and secreted into the synovial fluid by synovial membrane cells . It determines the viscoelastic properties of synovial fluid and plays an important role in the proper movement of the joint. In the course of osteoarthritis , the concentration of hyaluronate decreases. To prevent this, the method of viscosupplementation is used, i.e. injecting hyaluronic acid into the joint.
Hyaluronic acid for joints – what is the treatment?
The use of hyaluronic acid for joints consists in intra-articular supplementation of hyaluronic acid in painless injections (injections ), administered at 7-day intervals and repeated three to five times.
The viscosupplementation treatment increases the viscosity and elasticity of the synovial fluid, its nutrition and increases the slippage of the articular cartilage, which improves the biomechanical conditions of the joint. This substance provides smooth movement and reduces friction of joint surfaces, and at the same time is a source of nutrients for cartilage. To use this method of treatment, you should go to the orthopedic doctor.
Hyaluronic acid for joints – indications for the procedure Hyaluronic acid for joints
It is used when joint pain caused by osteoarthritis bother. This method is recommended when other therapeutic methods – analgesics, anti-inflammatory drugs, physiotherapy, glucocorticoids, weight loss – have not brought the desired results. But not only.
Hyaluronic acid for joints is increasingly given to people under 30 years of age. This is related to the overload of the knee joints as a result of sports. Often, especially in women, there is a so-called patellofemoral conflict, the cause of which is an incorrect movement of the patella leading to softening of cartilage in the patellofemoral joint and, consequently, to severe knee pain. Administration of hyaluronic acid to young people nourishes the cartilage, disappears pain and quickly returns to full fitness.
In people over 60 years of age, degenerative changes in the joints, especially knee and hip, occur . Administration of hyaluronic acid intraarticular allows you to significantly reduce pain, increase the range of motion in the joint. These injections are sometimes the only non-surgical way to improve the functioning of patients waiting for surgery to remove the disease segment of the joint.
Hyaluronic acid for joints – treatment effects Hyaluronic acid applied to joints
does not cause side effects. Noticeable improvement occurs in patients with the first degree of radiological changes in the joint (up to approx. 90%), although in patients with the fourth stage of the disease there is a significant reduction in symptoms (approx. 40-50%). Interestingly, with the second series of injections, patients report a much faster improvement and reduction of pain (about 80%).
Viscosupplementation is an important step in reducing pain and improving joint mobility in patients with degenerative changes. The most common joint "requireing" the administration of hyaluronic acid is the knee and hip joint. It is important that injections are given systematically at intervals of about seven days. After half a year, another so-called booster injection should be given.
Hyaluronic acid for joints – safety of the procedure
The use of hyaluronic acid for joints in the form of injections is a completely safe procedure. After the injection, you can return to your planned activities. There are no complications, and the procedure performed correctly is painless. In order to use this method of treatment, a medical examination, additional examinations (ultrasound, MRI, X-ray) and the determination of the best regimen for the administration of injections with hyaluronic acid are required.