Joint injections can help to alleviate pain and inflammation in specific areas of the body, such as the hip, knee, shoulder, elbow, ankle or wrist. These shots typically include a corticosteroid medication with a local anesthetic. Corticosteroids are powerful anti-inflammatory medications that work to reduce inflammation and associated pain. Cortisone injections can offer fast-acting relief of inflamed joints, and are used in the treatment of a variety of conditions, including:
- Bursitis of the hip, shoulder, elbow or knee
- Tendinitis (such as tennis elbow)
- Knee osteoarthritis
- Plantar fasciitis
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Spinal stenosis
- Disc herniation
- Degenerative disc disease
- Other inflammatory diseases
For most patients, joint injections can offer fast-acting pain relief. The reduction in pain allows the patient to move the affected joint more comfortably and return to normal activity levels. This makes joint injections a great complement to physical therapy, as the patient is provided with a window of symptom relief making it easier to carry out their rehabilitation program.
In addition to their therapeutic value, joint injections are also used for diagnostic purposes to confirm a suspected diagnosis. For this means, the joint is injected with a local anesthetic (e.g. lidocaine). After the numbing medication has taken effect, the patient will be asked to perform activities that would normally elicit the pain response. If the patient experiences a significant reduction in pain for the normal duration of the anesthetic, then a tentative diagnosis can be made. A therapeutic joint injection may then be the next step in the patient’s treatment.
How are Joint Injections Performed?
The manner in which the injection is performed varies depending on which joint is being treated. Initially, the patient is placed in a comfortable position that allows the joint to be accessed easily by the physician. Prior to a joint injection procedure, the patient’s skin is cleansed and the injection site is numbed with a local anesthetic. Under the guidance of a live X-ray machine (fluoroscopy) a needle is then directed into the joint space. Your doctor may first inject a contrast dye to confirm that the needle is properly positioned. The medication is then administered into the injection site, bathing the inflamed structures within the joint, and providing subsequent pain relief.
The duration of pain relief provided by joint injections varies from patient to patient. The effects can last from a few weeks to a few months. If the pain returns after this period of time, repeat injections can be performed.
Learn More about Joint Injections in Austin
If you would like more information about joint injections at our pain management clinic or would like to schedule an appointment, please give our office a call at (512) 981-7246. You may also request a visit online by clicking on the button below.