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What Is a Hyaluronate Injection?

By H. Lo
Updated May 17, 2024
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Hyaluronate is a type of medication used to treat knee pain caused by joint inflammation, or osteoporosis. An injection is a method of treatment in which medication is injected with the use of a needle into a part of the body. A hyaluronate injection is a treatment that involves injecting hyaluronate into the knee to relieve pain. As a solution similar to a natural substance found in the joints, hyaluronate relieves this pain by lubricating the joint and acting as a shock absorber. In general, a hyaluronate injection will follow other treatment options that are unsuccessful, such as exercise or physical therapy.

A patient’s hyaluronate treatment depends on his or her specific condition, as well as how he or she responds to the medication. During treatment, a doctor or healthcare professional will administer the hyaluronate injection directly into the patient’s knee. For safety reasons, hyaluronate injection is not administered into an artery or vein since doing so can cause side effects to increase. Treatment is usually performed once a week and, during the procedure, the injection site will be kept clear of any disinfectants that contain ammonium salts. In addition, the doctor will remove any excess fluid present in the joint before performing the injection.

The injection itself might cause pain and swelling to occur in the knee, but these side effects should go away with time. If they persist or get worse, the patient should contact his or her doctor. After a hyaluronate injection the patient will need to avoid putting stress on the knee for 48 hours. Examples of activities that might cause stress to the knee include heavy lifting, jogging or even standing up for longer than an hour at a time. Relief from knee pain is not instantaneous, and the patient might have to wait until after three injections to feel the relief provided by the medication.

As with any medication, receiving a hyaluronate injection can cause a patient to experience side effects. In addition to pain and swelling, other side effects of the medication include bruising, redness or warmth at the site of injection. Also, a patient might experience itchiness, headache and nausea or vomiting; serious side effects are less common and require medical attention. Examples of serious side effects that can result from a hyaluronate injection include allergic reaction, back pain and cough.

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