Has your neighbor been talking to you about the “gel shots” he’s been getting in his knees? Those “gel shots” that you’ve been hearing about are a treatment option for knee osteoarthritis (OA). OA is one of the most common causes of knee pain. It can be a painful and frustrating condition that causes achiness and stiffness in your knees. OA can gradually develop over time with increasing age and long-term overuse of your joints. Other precipitating factors that can contribute to the onset of OA are excessive weight, laborious jobs for years that overstressed your joints, and injuries in the past. Symptoms can come and go, or can be persistent for years.
As the cartilage breaks down, the by-products accumulate in the lining of the joint called the synovium. The synovium makes the lubricating fluid that keeps the joint healthy. But that fluid is not made normally when OA starts to breakdown the knee. It becomes watery and thin and doesn’t do its job as well. The main component of this fluid is a large molecule called hyaluronic acid.
The “gel shots” are all hyaluronic acid replacements. In the simplest terms they are an “oil change for your knee joint.” They are given as a series of injections once a week. It is a simple office procedure that only takes a few minutes. However, after each injection we recommend icing afterwards and taking it easy/avoiding any strenuous exercise for the next 2 days.
Now comes the important question, when does your knee start to feel better after the injections? This varies from patient to patient. Some patients get symptom relief after the first injection but sometimes it can take up to 12 weeks to fully take effect. The injections can then last for several months or for several years (this also depends upon the patient and severity of the OA).
Overall patients do very well after these injections and notice a relief in their OA symptoms.
So whether you want to get back to hiking or going for daily walks, hyaluronic injections may be a great option for you. Call to make an appointment today and let us help you get back to the lifestyle that you want to be living.