Can a natural lubricant found in real-life rooster combs make your joints feel better? For many patients, the answer is yes. A well-established treatment called viscosupplementation can provide long-lasting relief for joint pain and osteoarthritis in your knees, shoulders or hips.
What Is A Rooster Comb Injection?
When you and your doctor decide to try viscosupplementation, your doctor will plan a series of injections to supplement the natural synovial fluid that lubricates your joints. Joint pain happens when synovial fluid gets low. Scientists have found that injections of hyaluronic acid into the joint can help. Hyaluronic acid is a natural substance produced by our bodies that lubricates the joints and the eyes. Decades ago, scientists discovered that the cartilage in rooster combs contains high levels of hyaluronic acid, so they’ve become an essential source for this natural treatment. Hyaluronic acid from rooster combs is an ingredient in a wide range of medical and cosmetic purposes, and rooster comb injections have been FDA-approved for joint pain since the 1990s.
What Are Rooster Comb Injections Used For?
Doctors have been using rooster comb injections for joint pain treatment for decades. It’s especially common for knee pain but can also treat pain in shoulders and hips. Studies have also shown that they can provide short-term pain relief and increased mobility for patients with mild to moderate osteoarthritis. Rooster comb injections are different from cortisone injections, which involve a steroid injected into the joint to relieve inflammation. While cortisone injections remain a preferred option for many patients, rooster comb injections usually offer longer-lasting results. Rooster comb injections may also be a better option than steroid injections for patients with diabetes, the Arthritis Foundation says, since corticosteroids can raise blood sugar levels.
What Results Can I Expect from a Rooster Comb Injection?
As with many non-surgical treatments, we’ve found that rooster comb injections work well for some patients but are not as useful for others. It depends on the severity of the patient’s condition, along with other factors. However, research suggests that hyaluronic acid does relieve symptoms and can even boost motion in the joint. A 2006 study in the Journal of Rheumatology suggested that hyaluronic acid injections improved pain and function in patients with osteoarthritis of the knee. Most experts suggest that viscosupplementation is most effective when arthritis is in its early stages with mild to moderate symptoms.
According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, there’s no evidence that rooster comb injections can reverse the arthritic process or regrow cartilage. This treatment is not a cure, but it can provide long-lasting temporary relief and can be an effective way to delay joint surgery. Another upside is that side effects are usually minimal: some patients report mild pain, swelling and stiffness at the injection site.
How Long Do Rooster Comb Injections Last?
Long-lasting results are one of the main reasons patients choose rooster comb injections over cortisone. Treatment generally involves a weekly injection three to five weeks in a row, and results can last up to six months. However, patients should be aware that rooster comb injections take longer than cortisone injections to kick in. It may take several weeks after treatment to feel the effects.
Are Rooster Comb Injections Right for You? Ask Your Orthopaedist.
At Countryside Orthopaedics, our goal is to help patients relieve pain and get moving again. When joint pain is an issue, we always consider all options–from physical therapy to injections to surgery. In some cases, surgery is the best option. But considering joint surgery’s extended recovery time, many patients find delaying surgery with rooster comb injections to be an effective alternative. We’ll take a look at your individual case, the causes of your joint pain, the effect it has on your body and how it impacts your life. We’ll look at your mobility goals and explore all of the options with the goal of determining the treatment that works best for you.