Objective: To compare the effect of intraarticular injections of hyaluronan and placebo (vehicle, saline) in patients with knee pain on exertion and with joint cartilage abnormalities.
Methods: Fifty-two patients with arthroscopically verified deep cartilage fissures and villus-like flakes in the symptomatic knee were randomly assigned to receive intraarticular injections of 2.5 ml of either hyaluronan or vehicle, weekly for 5 weeks. The effect was evaluated by both primary and secondary parameters of efficacy at 2, 4, 13, 26, and 52 weeks.
Results: At the followup visits, both groups had improvement from baseline; however, there was no difference between the groups in any of the relevant variables at any time point.
Conclusion: The effects of intraarticular hyaluronan do not differ significantly from those of placebo in patients with knee pain and cartilage disease.