Many of my patients with arthritis of the knee ask about injections.
Since 1997, I have treated thousands of patients with hyaluronic acid injections. You may have heard people refer to this treatment as “rooster comb” injections or gel injections. The "rooster comb" name refers to the fact that many pharmaceutical companies extract hyaluronic acid from the cartilage of rooster combs.
The medical term for this type of treatment is viscosupplementation. The oil we use to lubricate automobile engines has a certain viscosity. So, the term refers to supplementation of the lubricating properties of joint fluid.
Hyaluronic acid is a natural chemical that acts as a lubricant to enable bones to move smoothly over each other and as a shock absorber for joint loads.
With advancing arthritis in the knees, there is less hyaluronic acid present in the cartilage and the lubricating fluid. Injections help restore a more normal joint, usually resulting in less pain and better function.
The treatment consists of a weekly injection for 3 to 5 weeks. Although this is not a “miracle cure”, most patients receive satisfactory improvement in symptoms. Viscosupplementation is especially attractive to patients who prefer not to use daily arthritis medication, or are unable to do so for various medical reasons.
Dr. Ronald W. Connor is a board certified orthopaedic surgeon who treats patients aged 14 years and up for all orthopaedic conditions with the exception of the spine. His special interests include comprehensive care of the knee and conditions of the hand. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Connor, please call 210.281.9595.