Joint Injections FAQs

What are joint injections?

Joint injections are a medical procedure utilizing a needle and syringe to inject medication into a damaged and painful joint. Joint injections, which are administered by a doctor, are performed either in your physician’s office or in a hospital under sterile conditions.

Why would I receive a joint injection?

If you have a joint that is painful and in some manner damaged and other nonsurgical therapy has not proven to be helpful

or has been minimally effective, then you may be a candidate for joint injection. Joint injections are utilized to help reduce or eradicate joint pain and inflammation in order to improve patient mobility.

What are the signs that indicate that a joint injection might be necessary?

Those who undergo joint injection therapy are usually experiencing pain, swelling, and a reduction in mobility. Joint injection may be part of a greater therapeutic plan that includes physical therapy, exercise, and painkillers. Injection therapy can help relieve pain and encourage faster healing.

When should I avoid a joint injection?

Most patients are good candidates for joint injections, however there are those who should forgo the procedure, including those who have either a skin or blood infection or who have in the past had an allergic reaction to the medication being used or its various components. Others who may not be good candidates include those who are on blood thinning medication, have diabetes that is not under control, or are susceptible to infection. Also, if you have previously undergone joint injection treatment and did not respond in a positive manner, then your physician may believe you’re an unsuitable candidate.

What happens before I have joint injection therapy?

A complete medical history will be taken and your joint problem will be thoroughly examined. You doctor will need to know what over-the-counter and prescription medications you are taking, any supplements or herbal remedies you’re utilizing, and any allergies you may have. The joint may be imaged in some manner, as this will give your doctor a better idea of what is causing the problem, as well as where best to make the injection. Also, various diagnostic tests may be ordered.

What will occur during my joint injection procedure?

The following steps will generally be followed when you undergo a joint injection procedure:

  • Your doctor will cleanse the area to be injectedAnkle_Injection
  • Once the area is sterilized, they will apply a local anesthetic
  • Any excess fluid will first be drawn off the joint by inserting a needle into the joint
  • Using an x-ray device that creates real-time images to guide them and ensure optimum accuracy, they will inject the medicinal mixture into a specific area of the joint.

The entire treatment takes a few minutes and you will be able to go home approximately 30 minutes after treatment.

After my treatment, what should I do when I get home?

Joint injection treatment involves a minimal amount of home care. Follow these steps and any additional instructions provided by your doctor.

  • If there are signs of swelling or if there is pain at the injected area, apply an ice pack for 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Avoid putting any strain on the joint for 48 hours
  • If needed, take over-the-counter pain medications
  • You may need to rest for the remainder of the day
  • Contact your doctor if the injection site becomes hot or continues to swell or if you develop a fever.

What are the possible side effects of this procedure?

Side effects and complications for joint injections tend to be minimal. However, they do vary from patient to patient and are partly dependent upon the type of mixture injected. Possible side effects include:

  • Swelling in the injection area
  • Soreness in the region injected
  • Bruising or redness
  • Infection in the region
  • General fever

 

If swelling and/or soreness continue to escalate, if you develop a fever, or if you show any other signs of infection, contact your physician immediately.

Other complications may include nerve or blood vessel damage or joint surface problems related to the injection and flushing, rash, chest or abdominal discomfort, and nausea from the anesthetic.