The Not So Scary Truth About Joint Injections

Dr. Dimitrios Lambrou Dec 10, 2013

The idea of getting an injection can be scary, however when you look at joint injections and understand how they can help get you pain relief, there’s not really that much to be worried about. The benefits of these injections are worth overcoming any fear of needles.

What are joint injections?

A joint injection is a procedure used in the treatment of inflammatory joint conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, gout, tendinitis, bursitis, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, and osteoarthritis.  This injection of a steroid or other medication is administered into a joint; any place two bones move against each other and are surrounded by a joint capsule.

How is this procedure done?

The procedure is done in whatever position is most comfortable allowing the best access to the joint and only takes a few minutes. Many times a cold spray or other local anesthesia is used prior to the injection. Once the surface is thoroughly cleaned, the needle is inserted. A few hours later the injected joint may become sore for a day or two but by the 3rd to 5th day pain relief will be quite noticeable.

What are the benefits of joint injections?

Joint injections may decrease the accumulation of fluid and cells in the joint and may temporarily decrease pain and stiffness. Commonly injected joints include the knee, shoulder, ankle, elbow, wrist, base of the thumb and small joints of the hands and feet. Corticosteroids (such as methylprednisolone and triamcinolone) are frequently used. They are anti-inflammatory agents that slow down the accumulation of cells responsible for producing inflammation and pain within the joint space. Another joint injection that is commonly used is the hyaluronic acid injection. Hyaluronic acid is a natural part of the fluid that helps lubricate your joints and keeps them working smoothly. It also acts like a shock absorber. It keeps your bones from bearing the full force of impact when you walk. When you have osteoarthritis, the hyaluronic acid in the affected joint thins. Hyaluronic acid injections add to your body’s natural supply. Studies show these injections may work better than painkillers for some people with osteoarthritis.

Northeast Spine and Sports has a dedicated team of doctors and staff who are devoted to pain management. Contact us to learn more about joint injections and to learn about other treatment options that are available.