Hyaluronan injections

What are hyaluronan injections?

Hyaluronic acid is a natural component of synovial fluid. Hyaluronan injections help to lubricate joints, which gives you temporary pain relief.

How are they taken?

How often you have the injections depends on the type of hyaluronan preparation used. You’ll probably be given a course of 3–5 injections, each separated by 1–3 weeks. Some doctors give the first two injections close together and then extend the period between those remaining. You probably won’t need to rest the joint after the injections.

How long do they take to work?

The injections should work within days if they’re effective and they’ll probably last for a few months. Sometimes your doctor may recommend you have repeat courses.

The particles in hyaluronan are quite large, so they’ll stay in your joint for some time before they’re absorbed into your blood stream. Some of the hyaluronan preparations available contain significantly larger particles than others and this can influence your doctor's choice.

Side-effects and risks

Hyaluronan injections have very few side-effects, although some people have a slight allergic reaction, which causes temporary pain and swelling in their joint after the injection. There’s also a small risk of infection. If the injection is done in slightly the wrong place, it won’t damage your skin or muscle.