In this procedure, an anti-inflammatory agent is injected directly into the joint, reducing the inflammation and swelling of the joint space while relieving pain and improving joint function.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a joint injection?
A joint injection is an injection of medication or steroid into your joint. A joint is any place where two of your bones move against each other and are enclosed by a joint capsule.
What is the objectives of a joint injection?
The medication injected is meant to cut down your inflammation and/or swelling of tissue in your joint space. This may, in turn, weaken pain and other symptoms caused by inflammation or tenderness of your joint and surrounding structures.
How long does the joint injection take?
The joint injection only takes a few minutes.
What is actually injected?
The injection generally consists of low-dose steroid medication and a local anesthetic.
Will the joint injection hurt?
The procedure requires inserting a needle through your skin and deeper tissues. So, there is some minor discomfort. However, we sometimes numb your skin and deeper tissues with a local anesthetic before inserting the needle into your joint. This technique makes this procedure comfortable for the majority of our patients.
Will I be "put out" for the joint injection?
No. This procedure is conducted with a small gauge needle, sometimes with a local anesthetic.
How is the joint injection achieved?
It starts with you being in a position that best allows access into your joint. Shoulders, wrists, elbows, fingers and knees are usually injected with you sitting up. Hips, knees, ankles and toes are usually injected with you lying down. Your skin is cleaned with an antiseptic solution and then the injection is executed. A band-aid is then applied.
What should I expect after the joint injection?
Right after the injection, you may feel that your pain may be lessened or gone. This is due to the injected anesthetic. This will last for a few hours. Your pain may return and you may have a sore joint for the next day or so. You will start noticing pain relief on the 3rd to 5th day or so.
What should I do after the injection?
You may want to have a ride home. We advise our patients to take it easy for a day or so after the joint injection. You can apply ice to your affected area. Perform your normal activities as tolerated.
Can I go to work the next day?
You should be able to return to work the next day. The most common thing you may feel is a sore joint.
How long does the medication last?
The actual effect is generally from the injected anesthetic. This wears off in the first few hours. The steroid begins working in about 3 to 5 days and it can last for several weeks to a few months.
How many joint injections do I need to have?
If the first injection does not alleviate your symptoms in the first two to three weeks, you may be recommended to have another injection. If you react to the injections and still have lingering pain, you may be recommended for further injections on an as-needed basis, depending on the condition of your joint.
Will the joint injections help my condition?
It is hard to conclude if the injection will certainly help you or not. Our patients who have new-onset pain or milder pain may react better than those patients with longstanding pain.
What are the risks and side effects of joint injections?
This procedure is safe. However, with any medical procedure, there can be risks, side effects, and a possibility of complications. The most common side effect is pain – which is temporary. The other risks involve bleeding, infection, or worsening of symptoms. Other risks are related to the side effects of steroids: These may include weight gain, water retention, increase in blood sugar, suppression of body’s own natural production of cortisone, etc. Fortunately, these serious side effects are super uncommon.
Who should not have a joint injection?
If you have an allergy to any of the medications injected, if you are on blood-thinning medication, have an active infection, or have poorly controlled diabetes or heart disease, you should not have a joint injection.