In this article I’ll share my experience receiving hyaluronic injections in my knee and I will discuss what I have learned about the substance of the injection itself and how it can relieve knee pain.
We’ll discuss what led up to my decision to have the injections. I’ll also discuss the effects that the injections had on my knee.
Lastly I’ll share experiences that several of my friends have had with hyaluronic injections. I hope this article will make your decision to have hyaluronic injections easier and that I might answer any concerns that you might have about the injection process.
What Are Hyaluronic Acid Injections (Rooster Comb Injections)
Hyaluronic acid is a gel-like substance that naturally occurs in a healthy knee. It helps lubricate and cushion the knee. Hyaluronic acid was approved for use in the U.S. in 1993.
According to my doctor, the injections are nonsurgical treatments that are more effective in the early stages of knee degeneration. The injections do not provide immediate relief or cause your cartilage to grow back.
If successful the injections can lessen knee pain up to 6 months. For injections, the substance, hyaluronic acid is obtained from rooster combs.
Doctors usually recommend this treatment to patients who are not getting relief from oral pain medicine and or physical therapy.
My Bad Knee Consultation and Doctors Recommendation
At the age of fifty, I was still actively involved playing basketball and softball on a regular basis. I was also running a mile 3 times a week.
At this point in my life, my knee pain and increased and my knee function was no longer allowing me to play competitively with my peers. I made an appointment with the orthopedic surgeon to seek and advice and pain relief.
After x-rays and an MRI, he explained to me that there was very little cartilage left in my knee. He also made it clear that when the pain became intolerable I would need a knee replacement.
In the meantime, he suggested some temporary measures that would reduce pain. None of the non-surgical procedures he offered would regrow my cartilage and “heal” the knee.
He emphasized that they were temporary measures that could relieve pain.
After receiving a couple of cortisone shots, he suggested that I receive a series of hyaluronic injections weekly over a period of six weeks. At that time, 2003, he told me that 60 percent of the patients that received the injections reported less pain in their knees.
Why I Decided To Get Hyaluronic Injections
I decided to try the injections. Thankfully my insurance company covered the costs.
The pain in my knee did not respond well to 3 weeks of physical therapy. I also felt like I was taking too many ibuprofen pills.
So I thought I would try something new. Before each shot, the doctor would drain any excess fluid on my knee before injecting the hyaluronic acid.
The doctor did not use ultrasound at that time so he manipulated the knee and guessed at the best spot to inject the knee. I have since received cortisone shots where the doctor used ultrasound to guide the needle before injecting the fluid.
After the first shot, I really believed that I felt better despite the doctor saying it would take several weeks to feel a significant reduction in pain.
In retrospect, I think it was wishful thinking. Over the course of the six injections I was optimistic but unfortunately I never really felt any significant improvement.
I think I was one of the unlucky 40 percent who did not improve with the injections.
Were Rooster Comb Injections Painful For My Knee
The injections for me were not painful at all. The doctor medicated the area before injecting the hyaluronic acid and he took a lot of time determining where to inject the fluid.
These days, with the help of ultrasound I am sure that doctors can be more precise with his or her injection.
Was There Swelling After The Injection
In my case, there was limited swelling. I went home and iced the knee that evening and then resumed my regular work and activity schedule the next day.
There was very little discomfort during the injections although I could feel a warm sensation as the fluid was injected into the joint.
Should I Get More Injections For My Knee
Looking back, I think my knee was too far along to benefit from the hyaluronic injections. If I had tried the injections earlier when I still had some cartilage, I think I may have had a more successful experience.
Many of my friends, especially those in the early stages of knee pain swear by the injections. They say that the shots reduce pain and allow them to participate in activities with little or no pain.
They receive the shots on a regular basis.
Would I Recommend Hyaluronic Injections To Others Before They Have TKR Surgery
I certainly would recommend hyaluronic injections, especially to those people who are in the early stages of knee pain. Even people with advanced knee pain should give them a try.
TKR should be a last resort and it doesn’t hurt to try as many non-surgical options as possible. The injections are relatively pain-free and you are able to resume activity as soon as you leave the doctor’s office.
I personally, would try anything that is safe before deciding on TKR. It doesn’t hurt to try and if it is not successful you have only put off the inevitable TKR.
As I have mentioned before, many of my friends and acquaintances are convinced the injections have relieved their pain and allowed them to resume their normal activities.
Pros and Cons of Rooster Comb Injections
- Injections are relatively pain-free
- You are able to resume activity immediately
- In most cases, the injections reduce knee pain
- Most insurance companies cover the cost of the injections
- The risks and side effects are minimal
- Not everyone benefits from the injections
- It is only a temporary solution, your cartilage will not regenerate
- You are only putting off the inevitable, TKR
In this article, I hope that you learned what hyaluronic acid injections are. I shared my personal experience as well as the experience of several friends.
I hope that you now understand that the injections will not regrow cartilage but that many people benefit from less pain after the injections. The injections themselves take very little time and they are administered with little or no pain.
Normal activities can resume immediately after the injections. Hyaluronic injections are one of many non-surgical options to relieve knee pain.
They will not heal the knee but they can definitely help with pain and mobility until you make the decision to have TKR.