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  • Writer's pictureRicardo Vaz

Hyaluronic Acid (HLA) Injections

What are they?

Hyaluronic acid is a gel-like substance that occurs naturally in your joints and acts as a cushion as well as a lubricant between your bones. For patients suffering from Osteoarthritis (OA), HLA injections combined with physical therapy is a minimally invasive option to manage pain and restore function. Typically, a patient will have already attempted treatment with pain relievers without success. Did you know that HLA injections can be made from rooster or chicken combs, as well as derived from bacteria?


Understanding the process


Under the supervision of your doctor, you will receive 3-5 injections over a 3-5 week period in your knee joint. The FDA has only approved this treatment for people with OA of the knee. To maximize outcomes, physical therapy is indicated before starting HLA injections to reduce swelling, stretch tight muscles and strengthen weak muscles in gravity-minimized positions. Closed kinetic chain exercises are often contraindicated as they place undue stress on a patient's arthritic joint.


How effective are HLA injections?


This may vary from person to person and research is mixed regarding its efficacy. The more advanced the OA, the less likely the patient will have reduced symptoms. Duration of relief is also variable, from just 2 months to up to 6 months. If the only other option is a total knee replacement, HLA injections paired with physical therapy can be a good treatment approach.


Contact us at 386-957-3902 to schedule your physical therapy evaluation!


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