Why Would I Need a Joint Injection?

Joints are locations in your body where the ends of two bones meet. They allow side to side, up and down, and rotation movements. The joints have a protective covering called the cartilage, which allows smooth movement. The cartilage may wear down as you grow older or due to repetitive motion in a particular joint, causing pain when bones rub against each other. The good news is that joint injections in Eugene help reduce pain and inflammation. Joint injections usually consist of steroids and local anesthetic and can benefit even the tiny joints in your hands and feet.

What conditions benefit from joint injections?

Joint injections are effective for inflammatory pain that may result from arthritis. Physicians also use joint injections as part of treatment for other conditions, including gout, back pain, bursitis, tendinitis, and osteoarthritis. Although cortisone injections can help relieve pain, multiple shots can damage the cartilage within a joint. For this reason, there is a limit to the number of joint injections you can get. Generally, you shouldn’t get joint injections more than four times a year.

Preparing for a joint injection

It is essential that you consult with your physician before treatment to avoid complications. An initial discussion with your doctor also helps you clear any uncertainties you might have. During a consultation, your doctor may ask you for a list of your current medications, including supplements. If blood thinners are among your drugs, you might need to temporarily stop taking them for several days before treatment to reduce the risk of bleeding and bruising. Your doctor may also inquire whether you’ve had a fever in the past two weeks.  

Here is also when your physician discusses the potential risks of joint injections with you. Your healthcare provider may inform you that cortisone or joint injections pose several risks, including infection, facial flushing, tendon rupture, skin color changes, pain, cortisone flare reaction, and high blood sugar.

What to expect during a joint injection

First, you will change from your regular clothing to a hospital gown for your doctor to easily access the treatment area. Using an alcohol wipe, your physician cleans where you will get the shot. Depending on your situation, your doctor may use an anesthetic spray to numb the injection site. The physician inserts the needle and guides it into the joint using ultrasound or fluoroscopy. The ultrasound or x-ray imaging allows the doctor to place the needle in the right spot. Expect to feel some pressure when your healthcare provider inserts the needle. Be sure to inform the doctor if the discomfort becomes unbearable.

After the injection, your face and chest may turn red and feel warm (facial flushing). It is common for women to experience this within a few hours of the infection. Blood sugar levels may also rise for individuals with diabetes, so close monitoring is essential after getting a cortisone shot. Fortunately, these symptoms go away after some days, but it may make people think twice before getting another injection.

Is your joint pain unresponsive to over-the-counter medications? Book a session with your doctor at Pacific Sports and Spine for joint injections to improve your quality of life.