Do you have joint pain? Perhaps your knees or hips hurt. They may be stiff and painful, making it difficult to move. Joint pain can be quite disabling if you have a job that requires physical activity such as medicine, nursing, teaching, warehouse work, construction work, other trades work, or any of so many more jobs that are physically demanding. Arthritis/joint pain is a leading cause of work disability claims in the U.S.
Our board-certified orthopedic surgeon and regenerative medicine physician with Urgently Ortho in Scottsdale, Arizona, treat many patients with joint pain. Early treatment yields better outcomes, so be sure to make an appointment if you’re having discomfort.
The bones in your joints have a material called cartilage on the ends. It’s a tough tissue that keeps your bones from rubbing together. The cartilage contains a fluid called hyaluronic acid that your body produces to help cushion the bones in your joint. It’s your body’s natural lubrication system that enables your joints to move.
Think of the millions of miles your joints have worked to carry you throughout your life. As you age, your cartilage layers become thinner. Your body produces less hyaluronic acid than it did when you were young. When you have osteoarthritis, your cartilage covering breaks down. Your joints no longer have a supportive cushion between the bones.
Typical symptoms include joint pain, stiffness in the joints, and swelling. It may be difficult to start your day because of morning stiffness. Bending and straightening the hips or knees may be very painful.
You’ve likely tried several remedies for your joint pain, including ice, medication, bracing, cortisone injections, and/or physical therapy. If you’re not able to take pain medications because of side effects, or if traditional therapies haven’t worked for you, your doctor may administer a hyaluronic acid injection or series of injections to see if they provide relief for you. The FDA has approved hyaluronic acid for knee arthritis.
Relief doesn’t come immediately if you receive a hyaluronic acid injection or series of injections. If they’re effective, you should feel better a few weeks after the shots. Relief may last several months — about six months or more, in some cases.
Your doctor lets you know that hyaluronic acid injections don’t work for everyone. Up to 40% of patients who receive hyaluronic acid injections don’t experience relief. Your weight, degree of arthritis, and age seem to be significant factors when the injections are ineffective. The patients for whom hyaluronic acid don’t work are more likely to be significantly overweight or obese, have more severe arthritis, and be over 65 years old.
The injections work better in patients with mild to moderate arthritis. That’s another reason to seek treatment early rather than later.
If hyaluronic acid injections don’t work, your doctor may recommend one of several surgical options to relieve your pain. Call or message Urgently Ortho today if you’re suffering from joint pain. Modern medicine has a variety of effective solutions to relieve musculoskeletal pain.