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Intra-Articular Joint Injection
An intra-articular joint injection is a common therapeutic procedure, which aims to reduce pain and inflammation in a joint. Joint inflammation can be caused by a variety of conditions, such as osteoarthritis. (Journal of the Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. 2005. 13 (1). 37-46.) The procedure is most commonly performed in the knee, hip, and shoulder, but can be done in the costochondral joints (between ribs and breastbone), facets joints (between vertebrae in the spine) and joints in the hands and feet. Joint inflammation is usually associated with a proliferation of white blood cells and reduction of blood flow. This results in a painful, swollen joint. This procedure involves the injection of corticosteroids into the affected joint. This can provide quick and long-lasting pain relief with very little risk of damaging the tendons, ligaments or nerves.
Intra-articular joint injections are fairly safe and can provide long-term benefits. Normally, the pain relief lasts about 3-4 months. After that time, the procedure may be repeated if necessary. Studies have indicated that 3-4 intra-articular joint injections per year are well tolerated. (Arthritis Rheum. 2003. 48: 370-377)
Potential side effects from the steroid injection include menstrual irregularities, skin flushing, muscular fatigue, and gastrointestinal upset. Local side effects may include soreness at the site of injection, bruising, changes in skin pigmentation and infection. Infection is very rare and is reported in one out of every 10,000 injections. Patients are advised to refrain from excessive weight bearing activities for 24-48 hours after the injection.
This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the care or advice given by your physician. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider before starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.