A joint injection is a medical procedure in which medication is injected into a joint to help relieve pain, inflammation, or stiffness. Joint injections commonly treat arthritis, tendinitis, bursitis, and other inflammatory conditions.
Joint injections can be performed on several joints, including the knee, shoulder, hip, ankle, elbow, and wrist. The most commonly injected joint is the knee, followed by the shoulder.
There are several types of joint injections, each with benefits and risks. The most common types of joint injections include corticosteroid injections, hyaluronic acid injections, and platelet-rich plasma injections.
Corticosteroid injections are the most commonly used type of joint injection. They work by reducing inflammation in the joint, which can help relieve pain and stiffness. Corticosteroid injections are typically given in combination with a local anesthetic to provide immediate pain relief.
Corticosteroid injections can effectively treat various joint conditions, including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, tendinitis, and bursitis. They are generally safe, but there are some potential side effects, including temporary pain at the injection site, infection, and thinning of the skin and bones if used long-term.
Hyaluronic Acid Injections
Hyaluronic acid injections are used to treat knee osteoarthritis. Hyaluronic acid is a natural substance found in the joint fluid that helps lubricate the joint and absorb shock. Hyaluronic acid injections can help relieve pain and improve joint function by supplementing the body’s natural substance supply. Hyaluronic acid injections are generally safe and well-tolerated, but there is some risk of infection, bleeding, and allergic reaction. They may also be less effective in patients with advanced osteoarthritis.
Platelet-Rich Plasma Injections
Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections are a newer type of joint injection that uses the patient’s blood to stimulate healing. The patient’s blood is drawn and processed to isolate platelets containing growth factors that can help repair damaged tissue. PRP injections are used to treat a variety of joint conditions, including osteoarthritis, tendinitis, and bursitis. They are generally safe and well-tolerated, but there is some risk of infection, bleeding, and allergic reaction.
The joint injection procedure typically takes less than 30 minutes to perform and is usually done, outpatient. The patient is positioned to allow the healthcare provider access to the joint. The skin is then cleaned with an antiseptic solution, and a local anesthetic may be applied to numb the area.
Once the area is numb, the medication is injected into the joint using a needle and syringe. The healthcare provider may use imaging techniques, such as ultrasound or fluoroscopy, to guide the needle into the correct position. After the injection, the patient may be asked to rest briefly and avoid strenuous activity for a few days. Ice and over-the-counter pain medications may be recommended to help relieve any discomfort.
Joint injections can effectively treat individuals with joint pain, inflammation, or stiffness. The type of injection used will depend on the specific condition being treated and the individual’s medical history. While joint injections are generally safe and well-tolerated, it is important to discuss the risks and benefits of the procedure with a healthcare provider before undergoing treatment.