Hyaluronic Acid & Gel Injections

Introduction to Hyaluronic Acid / Gel Injections in Sports Medicine

Hyaluronic acid (HA) injections, also known as gel injections or viscosupplementation, have gained popularity in the field of sports medicine as a treatment for various joint-related injuries and conditions. This non-surgical procedure involves injecting a gel-like substance directly into the affected joint to improve lubrication, reduce pain, and enhance mobility. It is covered by insurance when used mainly for the knee but does have application to other joints in the body.

How Do Hyaluronic Acid / Gel Injections Work?

Hyaluronic acid is a naturally occurring substance found in the synovial fluid of joints, where it acts as a lubricant and shock absorber. Injuries or conditions such as osteoarthritis can lead to a decrease in the natural production of HA, resulting in joint pain, stiffness, and inflammation. Hyaluronic acid injections supplement the body’s natural HA levels, providing additional lubrication and cushioning within the joint space.

Conditions Treated with Hyaluronic Acid / Gel Injections

Hyaluronic acid injections are commonly used to treat the following sports-related injuries and conditions:

  • Osteoarthritis: HA injections can help reduce pain and improve function in athletes with osteoarthritis of the knee, hip, shoulder, or other joints.
  • Cartilage Damage: Injuries to the articular cartilage, such as chondral defects or cartilage tears, may benefit from HA injections to promote healing and reduce symptoms.
  • Tendonitis: HA injections can alleviate pain and inflammation associated with tendonitis in the shoulder (rotator cuff tendonitis), elbow (tennis elbow, golfer’s elbow), knee (patellar tendonitis), and other areas.
  • Joint Sprains: Athletes with mild to moderate joint sprains may experience pain relief and improved stability with HA injections.

Benefits of Hyaluronic Acid / Gel Injections in Sports Medicine

  • Pain Relief: Many athletes experience significant pain relief following HA injections, allowing them to return to sports and physical activities with reduced discomfort.
  • Improved Joint Function: HA injections can enhance joint lubrication and cushioning, improving range of motion and overall joint function.
  • Non-Surgical: Unlike surgical interventions, HA injections are minimally invasive and can often be performed in an outpatient setting.
  • Short Recovery Time: Athletes can typically resume their normal activities shortly after receiving HA injections, with minimal downtime required.

Conclusion

Hyaluronic acid / gel injections offer a non-surgical treatment option for athletes with joint-related injuries and conditions, providing pain relief and improved joint function. If you are experiencing joint pain or stiffness due to a sports-related injury, talk to your sports medicine provider to see if hyaluronic acid injections may be right for you.

For more information or to schedule a consultation, please contact us today.