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.