Hyaluronan is a gooey molecule, present throughout the fluid outside our cells. It is a major part of the synovial fluid inside the knee joint. Being gooey helps increase the viscosity of the fluid. That means it lubricates the joint surface and helps the bones slide and glide during motion.
Hyaluronic acid injections may help improve or partially restore the viscosity of the joint fluid. The goal is to lubricate and cushion the joint in an effort to reduce painful symptoms.
The procedure involves a series of injections and is called viscosupplementation. However, it is not advised for patients with acute flare-ups. The acid products used can cause increased synovial fluid build up in some patients.
You may want to ask your doctor about having the fluid removed. This is called joint aspiration. Otherwise, conservative care is still the standard of care. Rest, ice or cold, and nonsteroidal antiinflammatory medications are the first line of treatment.