How effective are hyaluronan injections?

Donna Hill Howes, RN
Family Practitioner

Some studies suggest that hyaluronan injections can improve symptoms and function for people with knee osteoarthritis. Other studies have found that the benefits are not very strong and may not be worth the risk of side effects. Some treatment guidelines support the use of these injections, while others do not.

The FDA has not approved hyaluronan injections for osteoarthritis in any joint other than the knee, but they are often used in other joints. A number of research studies have been done on their use in other joints, such as the ankle, hip, shoulder, and jaw. Most of these studies suggest the treatment can be helpful when less invasive treatments, such as NSAIDs, no longer work. But there is not enough research to be sure.

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