Hyaluronic acid is found in all bones, connecting tissue, joints, tendons and cartilage structures throughout the body — especially a type called hyaline cartilage, which covers the ends of bones and provides cushioning. Because it helps buffer bones and provides resistance to wear and tear, HA is useful for lowering pains and tenderness associated with degenerative joint diseases.
It’s also found in another important part of our joints called the synovial membrane, which forms a coating over two articulating bones and produces synovial fluid. Synovial fluid is a “viscous fluid” that helps joints absorb shock, remain elastic and carry nutrients to cartilage.
Hyaluronic acid is now a popular substance used in supplements for treating osteoarthritis pain and injuries. It’s also been approved by the FDA for treatment of osteoarthritis when administered in relatively high doses through injections given by a health care provider. Some research shows that lower doses can also be effective for reducing joint stiffness and chronic pain, although results seem to vary. The types of joint pains most commonly treated with HA include those of the elbows and knees.