What is a joint injection?
A joint injection is an injection of a steroid or other medication into a joint; any place two bones move against each other and are surrounded by a joint capsule, such as shoulders, elbows, wrists, fingers and knees.
What is the purpose of a joint injection?
The medication injected, usually a steroid, is meant to reduce the inflammation and/or swelling of tissue in the joint space. This may in turn reduce pain, and other symptoms caused by inflammation or irritation of the joint and surrounding structures.
What is actually injected?
The injection typically consists of a local anesthetic and a steroid medication.
How is the joint injection performed?
It is done with the patient in whatever position allows the best access into the joint. Shoulders, elbows, wrists, fingers and knees are often injected with the patient sitting. Hips, knees, ankles and toes are often injected with the patient lying down. The skin is cleaned with antiseptic solution and then the injection is carried out. A band-aid is usually applied.
What should I expect after the joint injection?
Immediately after the injection, you may feel that your pain may be gone or quite less. This is due to the local anesthetic injected. This will last only for a few hours. Your pain will return and you may have a sore joint for a day or two. This is due to the mechanical process of needle insertion as well as initial irritation from the steroid itself. You should start noticing pain relief starting the 3rd to 5th day or so.
What are the risks and side effects of joint injections?
Generally speaking, this procedure is safe. However, with any procedure there are risks, side effects and possibility of complications. The most common side effect is pain – which is temporary. The other risks involve, infection, bleeding, worsening of symptoms etc. The other risks are related to the side effects of steroids: These include weight gain, increase in blood sugar (mainly in diabetics), water retention, suppression of body’s own natural production of cortisone etc. Fortunately, the serious side effects and complications are uncommon.
PLEASE INFORM OUR OFFICE IF YOU HAVE ANY OF THE FOLLOWING:
- ALLERGY TO CONTRAST OR IODINE
- TAKE ANY BLOOD THINNING MEDICATION SUCH AS COUMADIN, PLAVIX, ASPIRIN OR NSAID.
- HAVE AN INFECTION ANYWHERE IN YOUR BODY.