Hyaluronic acid injections

Hyaluronic acid is a natural substance which can be found in the human body wherever moisture is absorbed or when tissue is rubbed . This is for example the vitreous of the eye, the precorneal film (tear film), the cartilage, the synovial fluid, all mucous membranes of the body, but also the basic substance of the skin consisting of 55 per cent of hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronic acid fulfils various functions. It can absorb and save enormous amounts of moisture, it can be a kind of lubricant, but also the transport medium for nutrients. It also functions as a filter or strainer in the synovial fluid and thus prevents the passage of inflammatory molecules.
Under an electron microscope hyaluronic acid looks similar to a plate of spaghetti. A lack of hyaluronic acid in various tissues is rather common. This can lead to annoying pain up to chronic illnesses.
Missing hyaluronic acid can be replaced by biotechnologically produced hyluronic acid and injections can help alleviate pain. This applies for hyaluronic acid products used in ophthalmology as well as in orthopaedics.
Nowadays the highly modern production process can regulate the size of hyaluronic acid molecules precisely. This helps maximising the therapeutic benefit.

How is hyaluronic acid injection administered?

Depending on the affected joint and how far osteoarthritis has progressed, you will be given three to five injections with hyaluronic acid. These injections are administered once a week at your orthopeadist’s.

Knee joint injection

Normally your orthopaedist uses prefilled syringes for bigger joints such as knee, hip and shoulder whereas individually dosed injections are used with the smaller joints, i.e. finger and toe joint. 

Finger joint injection

Toe joint injection

During the treatment you will experience a decrease in pain and an increase in mobility. This treatment with hyaluronic acid may provide pain relief for up to 12 months. If necessary, this therapy can be repeated as often as required. 

What benefit can I expect from a treatment with hyaluronic acid?

Hyaluronic acid is injected into the joint to supplement the synovial fluid. There, it helps the body to re-establish the balance between hyaluronic acid degradation and synthesis.

Orthopäden Nürnberg - Arthrosebehandlung

Knee joint after treatment

The synovial fluid becomes more viscous (semi-fluid) again and can therefore fulfil its lubricating and protective functions much better. The joint cartilage is then relieved by the protective hyaluronic acid layer. The degenerative process is interrupted and the mobility of the joint improves and pain decreases.

What can I do myself?

You should help increase mobility of your joints by making use of the positive effects of the treatment with hyaluronic acid. After consulting your orthopaedist you should start exercising again. If you have osteoarthritis in knee, shoulder or hip joint:   
  • A lot of physical exercise without putting too much stress on your joints (e.g. swimming, walking, bicycle riding)
  • Strengthen your muscles around the affected joint with specific exercises
  • Reduce overweight.

Osteoarthritis in finger and toe joints:
  • Doing your exercises on a regular basis to retain long-term mobility of your joints.
  • Bathe fingers or toes in warm water to relieve pain.
  • Stretch your fingers or toes up to your pain threshold.

Osteoarthritis in your vertebral joints:
  • Train and stretch your trunk muscles (back and abdominal muscles)
  • Relax your aching back muscle by heat treatment (e.g. hot-water bottle)

Which joints can be affected?

Basically all synovial joints of the body can be affected by osteoarthritis. In particular, osteoarthritis problems frequently occur with the bigger joints:  
  • Knee
  • Hip
  • Shoulder

Arthrosis pain in your smaller joints can make your everyday life more difficult:
  • Thumb carpometacarpal joint
  • All other finger joints
  • Toe joints (especially the big toe)
  • Facet joints of the spine

You might also have degenerative problems with your:      
  • Elbow joint
  • Upper and lower ankle joint