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What is Hyaluronic Acid (HA), and why is it good for you?

If you’re experiencing knee pain, but haven’t injured your knee recently, it could be caused by a depletion of Hyaluronanic acid (HA or Hyaluronan), a naturally-occurring protein in our synovial fluid. Our knee joints are surrounded by the synovial membrane, which forms a capsule around the ends of the articulating leg bones. This membrane secretes a liquid called ‘synovial fluid’, which is mainly comprised of HA. Synovial fluid is a viscous fluid with the consistency of motor oil.

What does HA do?

• It lubricates our joints, making them work more smoothly.
• It is a shock absorber, preventing our bones from bearing the full force of impact when we walk.
• It improves overall cartilage health, flexibility, and mobility.

As we age, the concentration of this protein in our joints decreases and becomes thinner. As a result, it doesn’t cushion our bones as well. This decreased concentration of Hyaluronan in the joint is thought to significantly contribute to the progression of osteoarthritis (chronic joint inflammation with progressive cartilage loss), the most common cause of chronic knee pain.
To counteract the effects of osteoarthritis progression, injections of HA can be administered directly into the affected joint. This has the effect of decreasing inflammation in the joint, improving cartilage health, and potentially preserving existing cartilage. The injections supplement the viscous properties of synovial fluid of the knee, restoring elasticity, lubrication, and mobility of the affected joint. Best of all, HA is highly effective in alleviating chronic knee pain. Hyaluronan injections are FDA approved, safe, and minimally invasive.

What’s the catch?

Accurate placement of the Hyaluronan injection is essential. These injections are generally administered in a series — usually 3 to 4 injections 1-2 weeks apart. If your physician isn’t using ultra-sound or X-ray guidance there is a 30% chance, every time you get an injection, that the needle will not be in the correct spot, meaning you aren’t getting the medicine inside the joint. So, if you’re looking into getting HA injections make sure you find a doctor or clinic that uses X-ray or ultrasound guidance, to ensure the best possible outcome.

Written by the physicians at Reflex Portland. For more information about Reflex, check out their website!

Guest Blog: What Is Hyaluronic Acid And Why Is It Good For You? in Portland OR and Vancouver WA

Seeing Patients in the following Portland and Vancouver areas:

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