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What Are Rooster Comb Injections?

Osteoarthritis affects more than 30 million adults in the United States and occurs when joint cartilage between bones breaks down or is damaged. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis. If you suffer from the condition, you know that osteoarthritis symptoms such as pain, stiffness, and reduced joint function can impact your daily quality of life.

A rooster comb injection may be just what you’re looking for to help with your symptoms. The rooster comb injection, technically known as a hyaluronic acid injection or viscosupplementation, got its name from its early days when the hyaluronic acid was extracted from the cartilage of rooster combs. Today, however, these injections are no longer taken from animals but are synthesized in labs, according to Lafe Harris, DO, a sports medicine physician with Banner Health, who sees many osteoarthritis patients.

“In osteoarthritis patients the naturally occurring hyaluronic acid in the joints, which acts as a lubricant, breaks down,” said Dr. Harris. “A hyaluronic, or rooster comb, injection replaces that lost lubricant.”

Benefits of Rooster Comb Injections for Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis can affect joints in the neck, hands, hips, lower back and knees and cause joint stiffness, pain and mobility issues. “Hyaluronic acid, or rooster comb, injections work to slow down the progression of your osteoarthritis by decreasing inflammation, blocking pain receptors from sending pain signals and making the joint surfaces smoother,” said Dr. Harris.

Rooster comb injections are a promising treatment for the pain and discomfort associated with osteoarthritis, but it’s important to use it in conjunction with other therapies like exercise, physical therapy, weight loss, and using supportive devices such as crutches or canes,” Dr. Harris said. “Hyaluronic injections can delay the need for a replacement of the joint for about two or three years.” Dr. Harris also noted that rooster comb injections have an added benefit of being safer for diabetic patients because the injections don’t raise blood sugar, unlike with other pain relief medications.

According to the National Institutes of Health’s U.S. National Library of Medicine, when it comes to lowering pain in osteoarthritis patients, hyaluronic acid treatments seem to be the safest and last the longest. If you’re experiencing pain or stiffness from osteoarthritis, or any other cartilage pain, talk to a sports medicine or orthopedic doctor about your prospects with rooster comb injections. Visit the Banner Health Physician Directory to find an orthopedic or sports medicine specialist near you.

Joint pain keeping you down? Take our free Joint Pain Test to learn more about your knee and hip health. You can also check out these other related articles on the Banner Health blog:

Pain Management Orthopedics Sports Medicine