Three Weekly Hyaluronate Shots Improve Ankle Arthritis

Three weekly intra-articular hyaluronate injections improve pain, function, balance, patient satisfaction

THURSDAY, Sept. 29 (HealthDay News) -- Three weekly intra-articular injections of hyaluronate are safe and effective for patients with unilateral ankle arthritis, according to a study published in the Sept. 21 issue of The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery.

Shu-Fen Sun, M.D., from the Kaohsiung Veterans General Hospital in Taiwan, and colleagues investigated whether three weekly injections of hyaluronate were safe and effective in 46 patients with unilateral ankle arthritis (radiographic Kellgren-Lawrence grade 2 or 3) and ankle pain of at least six months. Change in the Ankle Osteoarthritis Scale score at six months after the third injection was the primary outcome, and consumption of rescue analgesics, American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society (AOFAS) Ankle-Hindfoot Score, four clinical tests of balance, and global patient satisfaction were secondary outcomes.

The investigators found a significant reduction in the mean Ankle Osteoarthritis Scale score at one, three, and six months after the third injection. The mean AOFAS Ankle-Hindfoot Score improved significantly from 60.5 points at baseline to 73.5 points at one month, 75.5 points at three months, and 76.7 points at six months. There was a significant improvement in all four balance tests at each follow-up visit. Acetaminophen use fell significantly after treatment and patients reported high satisfaction rate. There were no serious adverse events noted.

"This study suggests that three weekly injections of hyaluronate are well-tolerated and can provide pain relief and improve function and balance in patients with unilateral ankle arthritis," the authors write.

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