Joint Injection

Joint injections are medicines injected into a joint. They are given to reduce pain and swelling in a joint. The medicine is often a combination of corticosteroids and local anesthetic (numbing medicine). Injections may relieve pain for several weeks or months. This treatment is most often used in joints like the hips, knees, and shoulders.

  • Call Your Doctor

    Call your doctor if you notice any signs of infection, such as:

    • Warmth or swelling at the injection site
    • Fever
    • Chills

    If you have an emergency, call for medical help right away.

  • Definition

    Joint injections are medicines injected into a joint. They are given to reduce pain and swelling in a joint. The medicine is often a combination of corticosteroids and local anesthetic (numbing medicine). Injections may relieve pain for several weeks or months.

    This treatment is most often used in joints like the hips, knees, and shoulders.

  • What to Expect

  • Reasons for Procedure

    Your doctor may recommend a joint injection if you have pain and/or swelling from:

    • Osteoarthritis
    • Rheumatoid arthritis
    • Gout
    • Overuse injuries
    Rheumatoid Arthritis
    rheumatoid arthritis
    Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

  • Possible Complications

    Problems from the procedure are rare, but all procedures have some risk. Your doctor will review potential problems, like:

    • Worsening pain
    • Damage to skin and tissue
    • Worsening of other conditions (eg, diabetes)
    • Tendon rupture
    • Hypopigmentation (loss of skin color)
    • Joint infection (small risk)

    Another possible complication is steroid flare. This is an increase in swelling of the joint. It may be caused by preservatives in the medicine mix. The flare can develop within a few hours of the injection. It may last up to three days. This swelling will go away on its own. Applying ice to the area will help.

    Sometimes, you may have a reaction to the local anesthetic used. Reaction can occur up to 30 minutes after the injection and may include:

    • Flushing (may include chills, shaking, and headache)
    • Hives
    • Chest or stomach pain
    • Nausea

    Your doctor may limit the number of injections per year (eg, no more than four injections per year). Repeated use of injections may quicken normal age-related changes in the joint. This can cause problems with cartilage, ligaments, and tendons.

    Talk to your doctor about these risks before the procedure.