Joint Injection Q & A
What are joint injections?
For most patients, joint injections are used to address different types of arthritis and other joint conditions. These injections can be used together with joint aspirations where fluid is removed from inside the joint. These aspirations are performed in-office and in most cases a local anesthetic will be used to numb the joint. Joint fluid is taken out in order to perform laboratory tests and medications are injected into the joint to relieve swelling and pain. The most common locations for these injections include the knee, elbow, shoulder, ankle, the base of the thumb, wrist, and the small joints of the feet and hands. Hip joint injections can also be performed however they could require an ultrasound or x-ray prior to being performed.
What are joint injections and aspirations used for?
Medications injected into the joint can be used to treat tendonitis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, and several other conditions. Joint injections are also utilized to reduce the buildup of fluid inside the joints and can help to lessen pain and stiffness. Joint aspirations are used to obtain an accurate diagnosis of any conditions affecting the joints. The doctor can determine what is going on inside the joint by examining this fluid. This information can help the doctor to determine what is causing pain and swelling. The analysis can contain a cell count such as the number of white or red blood cells, a crystal analysis to check for the presence of calcium pyrophosphate crystal disease (gout), and it can identify an infection. Drainage of a joint performed regularly can also improve mobility and decrease pain.
What medications are typically injected into the joints?
Corticosteroids, such as triamcinolone, which have been designed to stay inside the joint after being injected are typically used. These injections use anti-inflammatory drugs and they slow the buildup of cells which can cause swelling and pain. These medications are helpful when treating conditions like osteoarthritis. Hyaluronic acids, such as Hyalgan®, are also used to address osteoarthritis and can alleviate symptoms in the knee for up to 12 months. Whatever the patient’s needs, the doctors at Premier Family Medical will work with them to use the best treatments available.