How Effect Are Hyaluronic Acid Injections for Relieving Knee Pain?

For those who suffer from knee osteoarthritis, one potential treatment option would include having your doctor inject your affected joint with hyaluronic acid.  Research suggests that it can be moderately effective for a brief period of time.

From a recent study published in the Journal of Family Practice (Modawal et al, 2005), the study authors concluded the following:

“Intra-articular viscosupplementation was moderately effective in relieving knee pain in patients with osteoarthritis at 5 to 7 and 8 to 10 weeks after the last injection but not at 15 to 22 weeks (Modawal et al, 2005).”

In short, the study authors found that intra-articular injections of hyaluronic acid were moderately effective at providing pain relief for patients with knee osteoarthritis.  From this data, it appears that these injections provided some pain relief for up to 10 weeks+, but less than 15 weeks.

This study additionally included these practice recommendations:

  1. Consider injections of hyaluronic acid injections only after conservative therapy has been tried for at least three months or the patient is unable to tolerate NSAIDS.
  2. Stress to patients that pain relief may not be fully experienced until 5-7 weeks following the last injection.

What does this mean?

Hyaluronic acid injections should be tried after other treatment options have been explored. In addition, hyaluronic acid injections may offer moderate pain relief, but the pain relief can take up to a month to reach the maximum effect.

How much do Hyaluronic acid injections cost?

Important!  Each injection costs approximately $230 and the recommendations include patients receiving one injection per week for a total of five weeks which amounts to about $1150.

Source:

  1. Modawal A, Ferrer M, Choi HK, Castle JA. Hyaluronic acid injections relieve knee pain. J Fam Pract. 2005 Sep;54(9):758-67.