Originally Posted by dalemurphy
Do you think it would be prudent for football players to get regular Synvisk (the lubricant made from rooster comb proteins)injections as simple prevention/maintenance? I wonder if any teams are doing that kind of thing now. From what I understand, there is no harm and likely some additional protection for the cartilage. I'd like to know your thoughts.
I'm thinking this should be considered for healthy knees, not just chronic ones...
Synvisc has been around since the mid 90s. Studies have revealed very mixed results. Several have shown absolutely no differences from placebo saline injections (which resorb quickly). The ones that tended to show some pain relief were relatively small studies in numbers, short spans of follow-up (6 months or less) and representing more of the regular Joe population with very lightly sprinkled elite athlete representation. The idea is that it acts as a lubricant and shock absorber. Neither effect has been truly proven to be significant. Some patients, after the usual 5 injection series exhibit 6 month pain decrease (usually not relief) anecdotally. But regular Joe is not looking to crunch against 300 pound players that are trying to kill them.....they are mostly looking for some improvement in simply getting around.......i.e., walking.............trying to temporize total knee replacement for a couple of years. You could just as well be pouring motor oil into the joint.
As far as injecting the knee "prophylactically," if teams are doing this, it is far from benign. Each time you poke a perfectly normal knee, you run the risk of infection. Even one infection of the knee during a multiple injection series can cause wide devastating scarification and destruction of the knee joint structures. BTW, depending on which studies you read, the rate of infection following each Synvisc injection is anywhere from ~5% to 10%......certainly no small number........especially for knee that started out normal.