What Are Joint Injections?
Joint injections are treatments for pain and stiffness that can occur in joints due to inflammation. Both chronic and acute pain can be alleviated with joint injections. Joint injections can be highly effective when joint pain is intense enough to make moving around difficult.
There are a number of joint pain formulations available to reduce inflammation, battle pain and help joints move more effectively. Common joint injection types include:
- Corticosteroids – Usually administered alongside an anesthetic, these steroids can reduce inflammation and aid healing.
- Platelet-rich plasma – A patient’s blood plasma is collected, fortified with healing platelets and then injected into the joint. This procedure puts platelets right where they need to be to speed healing.
- Hyaluronic acid – This substance lubricates and cushions damaged joints.
How Are Joint Injections Performed?
Joint injections are quick treatments that can be performed on an outpatient basis. They can usually be done in 20 to 30 minutes, which includes preparation time. You’ll usually stay for a short period of time afterward for observation.
A joint injection starts with cleaning and sterilization of the injection site. A local anesthetic will be applied to the skin to reduce discomfort during the procedure. Then, the medication is injected into the joint.
Corticosteroid injections are the most common type of joint injection. In clinical trials, these injections have been shown to provide a great deal of pain relief.
Platelet-rich plasma injections begin with a blood draw from the patient. The blood is spun in a centrifuge to separate the plasma from the blood. The plasma solution is then injected into the desired joint.
After a joint injection, you may experience some mild side effects that can include bleeding, bruising, tenderness, or facial flushing. Joint injections are considered safe and noninvasive procedures. Serious side effects are rare. If you experience pain at the injection site, you can apply ice for 15 minutes or so to ease pain or swelling.
Typically, up to three joint injections can be given in a six-month period. They are usually given two to three weeks apart. Many people experience significant relief after their first or second joint injection.
Conditions Related to Joint Injection Treatment
Osteoarthritis is one of the most common conditions treated by joint injections. Joint injections can also be effective treatments for torn cartilage, tendonitis, gout and bursitis. Common joint injection procedures include:
- Knee joint injections – Different formulas will be used depending on your pain level and the cause of joint pain in your knee.
- Ankle injections – Injections can be made directly into the ankle joint or into the soft tissue that surrounds it. Ankle issues can stem from bursitis, arthritis, gout or tarsal tunnel syndrome.
- Shoulder injections – Shoulder pain can be caused by rotator cuff issues, bursitis, and other conditions. Common injections include the intra-articular peripheral injection, which targets inflamed nerves.
- Sacroiliac (SI) joint injections – The sacroiliac, which is located at the bottom of the spine, has cartilage that can become damaged or inflamed. SI joint injections can fight this inflammation and allow you to regain full mobility.
Request a Consultation
If you are suffering from joint pain, you have many treatment options available. Whether you have acute pain that is due to an injury or chronic pain from repetitive stress, joint injections can help. Call for an appointment today to learn more.