Viscosupplementation (Gel Knee Shots)

Viscosupplementation, commonly known as gel knee shots, is a medical procedure aimed at alleviating the pain and discomfort associated with knee osteoarthritis.

Knee pain condition banner

This non-surgical approach involves the injection of a viscous gel-like substance into the knee joint to restore lubrication and reduce friction, ultimately improving mobility and quality of life for individuals suffering from knee pain.

Understanding Knee Osteoarthritis

Knee osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint condition characterized by the gradual deterioration of cartilage in the knee joint. As the cartilage wears down, individuals experience pain, stiffness, and reduced mobility. Viscosupplementation is particularly effective in managing this condition.

The Role of Hyaluronic Acid

Viscosupplementation primarily involves the injection of hyaluronic acid, a naturally occurring substance in the synovial fluid of our joints. Hyaluronic acid acts as a lubricant and shock absorber, but its levels decrease in osteoarthritic joints. Injecting hyaluronic acid supplements helps restore joint function.

The Viscosupplementation Procedure

Patient Assessment

Before the procedure, a thorough evaluation of the patient’s knee is conducted. This includes medical history, physical examination, and imaging (X-rays or MRI) to assess the severity of osteoarthritis.

Preparing the Knee

The knee is cleaned and sanitized to reduce the risk of infection. Local anesthesia may be administered to numb the area.

Injection Technique

A healthcare professional uses a thin needle to inject the hyaluronic acid gel directly into the knee joint. The number of injections and frequency may vary depending on the specific product used and the patient’s condition.

5 Types of Hyaluronic Acid Products

There are various hyaluronic acid products available for viscosupplementation. Some common ones include:

  1. Synvisc
  2. Hyalgan
  3. Orthovisc
  4. Euflexxa
  5. Supartz

Each product has its own characteristics and may be recommended based on the patient’s needs and response to treatment.

Expected Benefits and Outcomes

Viscosupplementation offers several potential benefits:

Pain Reduction: Patients often experience reduced knee pain and discomfort.

Improved Mobility: Increased joint lubrication can lead to improved range of motion.

Delayed Surgery: For some patients, viscosupplementation can delay or even eliminate the need for knee replacement surgery

Risks and Side Effects

While generally considered safe, viscosupplementation may have some side effects and risks:

  • Mild pain or swelling at the injection site.
  • Infection or bleeding (rare).
  • Allergic reactions (rare).
  • Temporary worsening of symptoms in some cases

Post-Procedure Care and Recovery

After receiving gel knee shots, patients are usually advised to:

  • Rest and avoid strenuous activities for a short period.
  • Use pain relief medications if necessary.
  • Follow a physical therapy program to enhance the benefits of the treatment.

Duration of Effects

The duration of pain relief and improved joint function varies from patient to patient. Some may experience benefits for several months, while others may require repeat injections.

Who Is a Suitable Candidate?

Not every patient with knee osteoarthritis is an ideal candidate for viscosupplementation. It is typically recommended for those who:

  • Have not responded well to conservative treatments like physical therapy or pain medications.
  • Are not ready for or do not wish to undergo knee replacement surgery.
  • Are in generally good health without severe joint deformities.


How long does the pain relief from gel knee shots typically last?

The duration of pain relief can vary, but many patients experience relief for six months to a year. Some individuals may even enjoy extended benefits, while others may require more frequent injections.

Yes, viscosupplementation can be used in combination with other treatments such as physical therapy, bracing, or medications to enhance its effectiveness and address various aspects of knee osteoarthritis.

There are no strict age restrictions, but the suitability of viscosupplementation depends on the patient’s overall health and the severity of their knee osteoarthritis. It can be considered for individuals of various age groups.

While viscosupplementation is most commonly used for knee osteoarthritis, it can also be employed for other joints like the hip or shoulder in some cases. The decision depends on the joint’s condition and the healthcare provider’s recommendation.

Recovery time varies from person to person, but many individuals can resume their regular activities within a few days to a week after the procedure. However, it’s essential to follow the guidance of your healthcare provider for a safe recovery.

Yes, maintaining a healthy lifestyle can enhance the effects of gel knee shots. Activities like regular low-impact exercise, weight management, and joint-friendly diets rich in anti-inflammatory foods can help improve knee osteoarthritis management.


Viscosupplementation, or gel knee shots, offers a valuable non-surgical option for individuals suffering from knee osteoarthritis. By restoring lubrication and reducing friction in the knee joint, this procedure can provide relief from pain and improve the quality of life for many patients. While it may not be suitable for everyone, it is worth discussing with a healthcare provider to determine if viscosupplementation is the right choice for managing knee osteoarthritis symptoms. Always consult with a qualified healthcare professional for personalized advice and treatment options.

Related Blog