Knee gel injections—also referred to as viscosupplementation or hyaluronic acid injections—are a viable treatment option for many people with osteoarthritis in one or both knees. For some, combining knee gel injections with other conservative treatments may help delay the need for surgery. Since it’s an injection therapy, there may be a brief moment of discomfort as the needle breaks through the skin. Many orthopedic physicians administer a local anesthetic such as an ethyl chloride spray to numb the area before injection and minimize any pain.
All medical procedures come with some measure of risk and the potential for side effects. Mild knee pain, warmth, and swelling are the most common side effects of knee gel injections, although these symptoms typically do not last long. In fact, it’s fair to say that any pain resulting from a knee gel injection pales in comparison to the prolonged discomfort caused by osteoarthritis.
In the unlikely event of a severe reaction to a knee gel injection, such as marked swelling or intense pain, it’s important to contact a medical provider immediately.
What Are Knee Gel Injections, Exactly?
Knee gel injections are given to help manage the symptoms of osteoarthritis—a very common degenerative condition characterized by the deterioration of cushioning joint cartilage. Reduced cartilage within the joint can lead to knee pain and stiffness that may make it difficult to enjoy a normal, active lifestyle.
During a knee gel injection, a naturally occurring gel-like fluid called hyaluronic acid is administered directly to the knee joint. Hyaluronic acid is naturally present in the synovial fluid of the joints and serves as a lubricant to facilitate smooth, comfortable movement. Because an arthritic knee joint has considerably less hyaluronic acid than a healthy knee, this extra boost of lubricant can help restore range of motion and reduce pain for some patients with osteoarthritis.
What Should I Do After Treatment?
You should carefully follow your physician’s individualized recovery instructions after a knee gel injection. Generally speaking, though, it’s a good idea to rest for at least 12 to 24 hours following treatment to help the hyaluronic remain in the joint capsule. “Resting” involves not picking up heavy objects, running, or performing other high-impact activities. Some physicians also recommend physical therapy after knee gel injections to help maximize results and promote joint health. For most patients, the pain-relieving effects of hyaluronic acid can be felt within a month after injection.
Knee Gel Injections at Tampa Orthopaedic & Sports Medicine Group
Tampa Orthopaedic & Sports Medicine Group offers a full spectrum of popular osteoarthritis treatments, including knee gel injections and other leading-edge injection therapies. Our patients benefit from the expertise of board-certified specialists who deliver well-rounded and individualized care, ensuring they can provide meaningful pain relief to patients as efficiently and safely as possible.
Contact Tampa Orthopaedic & Sports Medicine Group today to learn more about the benefits of knee gel injections or to schedule an appointment with an orthopedic doctor on our team. We’re conveniently located in South Tampa and accept most health insurance plans.