Hyaluronic acid is a viscous component that is found not only in the synovial fluid, but also directly in the cartilage. The joint fluid must prevent the cartilage from rubbing against each other. Depending on the stress placed on the joint, the viscosity changes over time. Since the production of the body's own active ingredient already decreases by 50% from the age of 40, or people who are over 60 years old produce just 10 percent hyaluronic acid, the joint fluid becomes less, the cartilage rubs against each other and the person complains of joint pain. If hyaluronic acid is injected directly into the joint cavity, for example, this can improve lubrication. Another effect: hyaluronic acid helps the cartilage to recover, regenerate and rebuild itself. This should make pain a thing of the past.
Even though the method sounds promising, there are also critical voices. For example, medical experts are of the opinion that success has only been documented when the patient was in the initial stages of osteoarthritis. In advanced diseases, the treatment would no longer be successful. Furthermore, the procedure, if it helps at all, is said to provide the necessary relief for only a short period of time. This means that permanent follow-up injections would have to be given. Such treatments would also not be covered by the statutory health insurance. The reason for this is that so far there has been only insufficient proof of effectiveness. Anyone who nevertheless decides to undergo treatment will have to pay between 260 and 300 euros - for about five injections. How long the window of opportunity is before further treatments take place must be decided on a patient-dependent basis. However, it can be assumed that - annually - several treatments are necessary so that, on the one hand, the pain can be relieved and, on the other hand, the joint fluid and cartilage can be built up.
Side effects are possible
Even if treatment with hyaluronic acid is harmless, doctors must still inform their patients about possible side effects. Skin reactions or infections are possible. If there is already activated arthrosis, whereby it has already been established that joint inflammation is present, the medical practitioner should combat the inflammation in the joint before deciding on hyaluronic acid treatment.