I'm having my arthritic knee injected to make it glide better. How well does this treatment work?

Hyaluronate injections into the knee are used to restore the lubrication in the joint. It helps make the joint fluid more slippery. In some cases, it can increase the amount of lubricating fluid. The result is better joint function and less pain. It may even slow down the loss of fluid.

A recent study from Taiwan compared 30 arthritic knees against 30 normal knees. The arthritic knees were injected for five days. Walking pattern and force through the joint from the ground up were measured and compared between the two groups.

The hyaluronate resulted in changes for the arthritic knees right away. There was less force through the joint. The patients could walk better and more easily. The changes lasted at least six months.

This treatment method works best for patients with mild to moderate osteoarthritis. There must be some joint space still present on X-rays. Patients with joint infection or implant are not good candidates for these injections.