Joint injections are used to manage chronic pain associated with joint disorders. The most common joint conditions in which injections are used as treatment include arthritis, adhesive capsulitis, joint trauma, gout and rotator cuff disease. Steroid injections can reduce the pain-inducing inflammation and provide long-term pain management.
What Happens during Joint Injections?
Injections are minimally invasive outpatient procedures. Prior to the steroid injection, the injection site will be cleaned and numbed with a local anesthesia. The injection needle will be inserted into the affected joint where it will deliver the steroid medications. An x-ray machine or ultrasound may be used to visually aid the physician.
Patients are observed immediately following the procedure to ensure the patient doesn’t experience adverse side effects to the medication. Most patients can resume normal activity within a few hours of the procedure, apart from driving. Patients should not drive for at least one day after the procedure.
The steroid medication generally starts to reduce pain within 3 to 7 days of injection. Pain and inflammation are commonly controlled for a few weeks to a few months, depending on the patient.
Although rare, risks of joint injections include bleeding at the injection site, tendon and muscle damage, allergic reaction to the medication and increased joint pain.