Hyaluronic acid can be used to help relieve joint pain. Here are 10 facts you should know about this substance:
1. Hyaluronic acid occurs in your body.
It’s a clear, viscous fluid that naturally occurs around joints. Your skin, eyes, and connective tissues all harbor hyaluronic acid too.
2. It deteriorates when you have arthritis
Normally, Hyaluronic acid is a great lubricant between your bones in joints. However, if you have arthritis, the acid can become thinner and water-like, reducing its effectiveness. This can lead to more inflammation around arthritic joints.
3. Doctors can inject it into arthritic knees
Doctors can inject a chemically similar Hyaluronic acid fluid into your knee. This substance is thick and viscous, and gives a cushion around the knee like naturally-occuring acid does.
4. There are both single and multi-injection options
You may receive either one or multiple injections of Hyaluronic acid. Doctors typically prefer doing a single shot, as this ensures you only need a single office visit. Each injection to a joint carries some risk of joint infection as well, so a single treatment is preferable to avoid undue risk.
5. It’s made from rooster cone
As weird as it sounds, Hyaluronic acid is actually made from that red thing on top of a rooster’s head. Well, not directly from it- it’s derived from bacteria found on rooster comb. This bacteria is grown from that source specifically to ferment and create this acid.
6. It offers months of relief
A single injection will typically give an arthritic joint six months of pain relief, sometimes a bit more or less. Over time, pain will return to the joint, so another injection will be necessary.
7. It kicks in in a few days
Once you have received an injection, you can expect to have some relief in 2-5 days.
8.There are multiple brands
The market for knee pain relief due to arthritis has led to a competitive market for these injections. There are many different brands available to you. Your insurance company may dictate which brand(s) they cover, and many insurance companies do not cover the injection cost at all.
9. Typical insurance breakdown
Often times, Medicare will cover 80% of the cost of these injections. If you have a secondary insurance, they may cover the cost of the remaining 20%.
10. FDA approval
Hyaluronic acid injections are FDA approved for the knee only, and not for any other joints like the hip joint.