By Carrie Vittitoe
Many patients with arthritis and tendonitis will try a variety of treatments in order to avoid surgery. Dr. Robin Curry, who specializes in sports medicine and non-operative orthopedics with Norton Orthopedic Specialists, says oral anti-inflammatories, physical therapy, and braces make up the first line of treatment. She says evidence also supports the use of corticosteroid injections. For some patients, however, these first line treatments don’t offer the pain relief they need. Researchers and physicians have had to find additional treatment options.
Hyaluronic Acid — Synovial fluid, which lubricates and cushions joints to help them move smoothly, contains hyaluronic acid. Some patients see benefits from viscose supplementation injection with hyaluronic acid, although Dr. Curry notes that these benefits are more anecdotal than evidence-based. It is for this reason that some insurance companies are no longer covering these types of treatments. Hyaluronic acid injections can be done every six months, but it takes patients about six weeks to see results. (In comparison, Dr. Curry says corticosteroid injections can be done every three months and generally begin to provide relief in less than a week.)
Illustration by Silvia Cabib