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Putting Hyaluronic Acid to Work for Your Arthritis

Most people have heard of hyaluronic acid through its association with the skin. Hyaluronic acid is a naturally occurring substance in the human body (and most other mammals) that is responsible for hydrating, plumping, and firming the skin. It does this by binding with nearby water molecules.

That’s why you see hyaluronic acid included in so many skin care products, although topical application probably only has minimal effect on the underlying skin condition.

The place hyaluronic acid really became famous was in dermal fillers. Dermal fillers are classified as either “natural” or “synthetic.” The world’s most popular fillers are Restylane and Juvéderm and their associated line extensions, and all of these fillers are natural fillers. This is because they are made basically from hyaluronic acid. When they are injected under a wrinkle or area of volume loss, the hyaluronic acid binds with nearby water molecules and instantly adds volume, pushing the wrinkle or crease back upward.

What’s not as well known about hyaluronic acid is that is also lubricates our joints. That’s how we use it at TruWell Health.

What are hyaluronic injections at TruWell?

We use hyaluronic acid to replace missing joint lubricant. It is especially effective in osteoarthritic knees, and the FDA has approved these injections for that area. For some patients we also use hyaluronic acid for the shoulders and hips.

We perform these injections using fluoroscopic guidance in our downtown St. Petersburg offices. We inject the hyaluronic acid directly into the joint. We usually give these injections in a series 3 to 5 injections given once a week to achieve the lubrication that helps the patient’s movement and reduces their pain.

Who is right for hyaluronic acid injections?

These aren’t right for everyone. We’ve found they are most effective for patients with mild to moderate osteoarthritis. They can be a good alternative to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs where the patient doesn’t tolerate them well (they can irritate the stomach). They are also a better option than corticosteroid injections for diabetic patients, as they can raise the patient’s blood sugar levels.

Interested in hyaluronic acid injections for your painful knees? Call us at TruWell Health, (727) 440-5410 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Brown.

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