A joint injection is a procedure your provider uses to introduce medication into a joint. The injection is done under sterile conditions using a syringe and needle. All joint injections at Everest Medical Group are performed under ultrasound guided conditions. This means your provider is able to watch the placement of the needle in real-time in order to safely and effectively place the medication in the exact site it is needed to get maximum results.
The goals of a joint injection are to relieve pain and improve joint function. Your provider specialist can also confirm your diagnosis when giving a joint injection.
In addition, fluid can be drawn from the joint before an injection and sent for laboratory testing. The symptoms of infection, gout and autoimmune disease can be similar, and lab testing can help determine a diagnosis when symptoms point to several diagnoses.
An injection may be needed if you have redness, pain, swelling, loss of smooth motion, and trouble with walking normal distances.
Joint injection should be avoided in certain situations. Some of these include the presence of skin or blood infections and a history of allergic response to the injectable medication or its components.
In addition, your provider may rule out a joint injection if there was little improvement after a previous injection, you have a bleeding disorder or are on blood thinning medication, you have poorly controlled diabetes, or your body has problems fighting infections.
You may be asked to remain in the office for 30 minutes or so to be observed for side effects of the injection. You may be instructed to avoid or limit activity for a day or so after the injection. Your provider may prescribe other medication, splinting or physical therapy as part of your treatment plan. Your specialist will also tell you when to schedule your next appointment.
Potential complications include infection at the injection site, infection of the joint, tenderness, swelling and warmth. There can sometimes be nerve or blood vessel injury, or damage to the joint surfaces.
When corticosteroids are used, they may cause loss of skin pigment or thinning of the skin. Corticosteroid can also cause weakening of a nearby ligament or tendon with the possibility of complete tears. This medication may also temporarily increase blood sugar and disrupt the body’s own steroid hormone balance, particularly in patients with hormone disorders.
Local anesthetic may cause flushing, hives, chest or abdominal discomfort, and nausea. Viscosupplements, substances that act like naturally occurring joint fluid, may cause joint pain, swelling and inflammation.
It is generally recommended that you apply ice once or twice per hour for 10 to 15 minutes for the first few hours after a joint injection. You should avoid applying heat to the affected joint.
No specific cleaning of the injection site is typically needed. You generally are able to resume normal showering or bathing after joint injections.
Your provider will be able to answer this question for you. Be sure to bring a current list of your medications to your appointment.