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Arch Orthop Trauma Surg. 2011 Jan;131(1):139-47. doi: 10.1007/s00402-010-1165-5. Epub 2010 Aug 10.

Viscosupplementation in the management of ankle osteoarthritis: a review.

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  • 1Rheumatology, S.Pietro FBF Hospital, via Cassia 600, 00189 Rome, Italy.



Osteoarthritis (OA) is a disease of synovial joints and is the most common cause of chronic pain. Viscosupplementation (VS) with hyaluronic acid (HA) is largely used for knee osteoarthritis therapy but the evidence for its usefulness in ankle osteoarthritis is limited. The objective of this review is to assess the efficacy of viscosupplementation treatment of ankle osteoarthritis in the current literature.


The following databases were searched: Medline (period 2006-2008), Database of Abstract on Reviews and Effectiveness and Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. Reference lists of relevant articles were controlled for additional references. The search terms Review, Viscosupplementation (VS), Osteoarthritis (OA), Hyaluronic acid (HA), Hyaluronan, Sodium hyaluronate, Ankle OA, Ankle joint were used to identify all studies relating to the use of VS therapy for the ankle OA. Methodological quality of included studies was assessed by assigning level of evidence as previously defined by the Centre for Evidence Based Medicine (CEBM).


Seven articles concerning the efficacy of a total of 275 patients undergoing VS treatment for ankle OA were included. One European study, one Taiwanese study, one Italian study, one Turkish study and three American studies with level of evidence ranging from I to IV evaluated the following products: Hyalgan, Synvisc, Supartz, Adant.


Viscosupplementation is used widely in knee OA and is included in the professional guidelines for treatment of the disease in this joint. The potential for treating osteoarthritis of the ankle joint by viscosupplementation has been suggested in the literature, however, no dosing studies have been published to date, and dosing in the ankle joint remains an area for discussion. Viscosupplementation could potentially provide an useful alternative in treating such patients with painful ankle OA.

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