Munson Health
 
Joint Injection

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by Kerr SJ

(Steroid Joint Injection; Cortisone Joint Injection; Corticosteroid Joint Injection; Cortisone Shot)

 

What to Expect

Prior to Procedure

Before the procedure, your doctor will do a physical exam. Your doctor will also discuss risks associated with joint injections. Joint injections may not be a good choice if you:
  • Have had no relief from previous injections
  • Take blood-thinning drugs, such as warfarin (Coumadin), or anti-platelet drugs, such as clopidogrel (Plavix)
  • Have uncontrolled diabetes

Anesthesia

Your doctor may use a local anesthetic on your skin before giving the injection. This will make the area numb for a short time. Your doctor may also use a cold treatment to numb the skin.

Description of the Procedure

This procedure can usually be done in your doctor's office.
Your doctor will locate the site where the injection will be placed. The area may be marked with a pen or marker. The injection area will be wiped with an alcohol pad.
Your doctor may flex the joint being injected. The doctor will then inject the joint in the area where it is most swollen and tender. The needle will be inserted to the bone. It is then pulled back slightly before the injection is given.
The local anesthetic may provide immediate relief. It will also help your doctor confirm the diagnosis. The steroid may provide relief from pain, swelling, and inflammation for a longer period of time.

How Long Will It Take?

10-15 minutes

Will It Hurt?

You may have some pain when the injection is given. It is also possible that your symptoms may worsen for the first 24-48 hours after the injection. Talk to your doctor about steps to reduce pain.

Post-procedure Care

At the Care Center
Right after the procedure, the staff may:
  • Apply an adhesive bandage to the injection site.
  • Put your joint through range of motion.
  • Apply ice to the injection site for 15 minutes.
You will be able to leave after being monitored for 30 minutes.
At Home
When you return home, take these steps:
  • Follow your doctor’s instructions for caring for the injection site.
  • Ask your doctor about when it is safe to shower, bathe, or soak in water.
  • Avoid strenuous activity with the injected joint for several days.
  • Your doctor may recommend non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicine (NSAID) for pain. You may need it during the first few days.
  • Your symptoms may get worse for 24-48 hours after the injection. You may also have a steroid flare. You can apply ice to the injected joint for 15 minutes at a time. Always wrap ice in a towel. Do not apply it directly to your skin.
  • Be sure to follow your doctor’s instructions.
 

RESOURCES

American College of Rheumatology
http://www.rheumatology.org/

The Arthritis Foundation
http://www.arthritis.org/

 

CANADIAN RESOURCES

The Arthritis Society
http://www.arthritis.ca/

Public Health Agency of Canada
http://www.phac.gc.ca/

 

References


Beddoe AE, Schub T. Pain, chronic. CINAHL Nursing Guide. EBSCO Nursing Reference Center website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/biomedical-libraries/the-cinahl-database. Updated January 20, 2012. Accessed May 28, 2012.


Cardone DA, Tallia AF. Diagnostic and therapeutic injection of the hip and knee. Am Fam Physician. 2003;67(10):2147-2152.


Cardone DA, Tallia AF. Joint and soft tissue injection. Am Fam Physician. 2002;66(2):283-289.


MacMahon PJ, Eustace SJ, Kavanagh EC. Injectable corticosteroid and local anesthetic preparations: a review for radiologists. Radiology. 2009;252:647-661.


Reilly DT. Ask the doctor: should I be worried about the side effects from cortisone shots? Harv Health Lett. 2012;37(6):8.

 

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