A new study at Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) aims to determine if a hyaluronic acid treatment combined with an exercise program helps patients with knee arthritis more than exercise alone. Hyaluronic acid is a gel-like solution that acts as a lubricant and shock absorber in the knee joint. Researchers will be studying Hymovis®, an FDA-approved hyaluronic acid product that's administered in two injections in the knee joint given one week apart.
"Research shows that certain exercise programs can benefit people with knee arthritis. However, not all patients obtain sufficient pain relief through exercise," explains Sabrina Strickland, MD, an orthopedic surgeon and lead investigator at HSS. "The new study, which will take place at hospitals around the country including HSS, is designed to enroll a relatively young, active population of people with knee osteoarthritis. It will be interesting to see the results, as hyaluronic acid injections are typically used for an older patient population."
Study participants will be divided into two groups. One group will receive two hyaluronic acid injections combined with a physical exercise program of at least eight weeks. The other group will be provided with an exercise program alone, also to last eight weeks. All patients will receive a diary to record their activity and progress. They will see the physician for follow-up visits three months and six months after enrollment.
The initial doctor exam, x-rays, hyaluronic acid injections, exercise program, and follow-up visits will all be provided free of charge to study participants. Patients who have failed to obtain sufficient pain relief from the exercise program alone at the three-month follow-up will have the option of receiving the hyaluronic acid injections.
Dr. Andreas Gomoll, an orthopedic surgeon at HSS, is also involved in the study, which is open to individuals from 21 to 55 years of age. To qualify, patients must have experienced persistent knee pain lasting at least three months prior to the initial screening; lead an active lifestyle (play a sport or train at least two to three times per week); receive a diagnosis of knee osteoarthritis confirmed by an x-ray; and meet a number of additional requirements.