Safety and efficacy of intra-articular sodium hyaluronate (Hyalgan®) in a randomized, double-blind study for osteoarthritis of the ankle

Michael M. Cohen, Roy D. Altman, Richard Hollstrom, Claire Hollstrom, Craig Sun, Brad Gipson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

75 Scopus citations


Background: The potential benefit of hyaluronans in alleviating pain associated with osteoarthritis (OA) in joints other than the knee is of increasing interest. This double-blind, randomized, controlled study examined the safety and efficacy of intra-articular sodium hyaluronate (Hyalgan®) in the treatment of pain associated with ankle OA. Materials and Methods: Thirty consecutive patients with ankle OA documented by X-ray were randomized to treatment with five weekly injections of either sodium hyaluronate 2 mL (HYL) or phosphate-buffered saline 2 mL (control) in the tibiotalar joint. The primary endpoint was pain on movement and weightbearing using the Ankle Osteoarthritis Scale (AOS) 3 months after injection (a 100-mm visual analog scale [VAS]). Additional measures included the Western Ontario and McMaster Universities (WOMAC) OA Index and patient global assessment through 6 months; the Short Form-12 (SF-12) Health Survey at 3 months and 6 months; and all reported adverse events (AEs). Results: The study groups differed only in age, baseline WOMAC pain, and AOS total scores; 80% of the HYL and 73% of the control patients completed the study. At Month 3, the primary endpoint of the study, the HYL group demonstrated a significantly greater improvement from baseline in AOS total score than did the control group (HYL: -17.4 ± 5.0 mm; Control: -5.1 ± 4.0 mm; p = 0.0407). The incidence of AEs was low, with no significant differences between the groups. There were no post-injection flares. Conclusion: Our study suggests that sodium hyaluronate may be a safe and effective option for pain associated with ankle OA, although larger studies are needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)657-663
Number of pages7
JournalFoot and Ankle International
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Ankle osteoarthritis
  • Hyalgan
  • Hyaluronan
  • Sodium hyaluronate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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