Steroid injections are used to offer fast-acting relief of inflamed muscles, joints, tendons, and bursa to reduce inflammation and pain.
When Is This Procedure Conducted?
This procedure is performed into a joint, tendon or bursa where inflammation is present and to provide pain relief. It can also provide short-term treatment for osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and long-term treatment for bursitis, tenosynovitis, synovitis and tendinosis.
How Does This Procedure Work?
The Joint Injection is most commonly performed using ultrasound to guide the injection. The exact technique varies depending on the joint to be injected and the interventional radiologist.
To locate the exact point to be injected, a preliminary scan will be performed and a mark placed on your skin, which will become the injection site. An antiseptic solution will be used to clean your skin and to prevent infection.
A needle will then be placed into the joint either at the injection site marked on your skin or using the ultrasound to see the tip of the needle as it moves into the joint or bursa.
Sometimes the interventional radiologist may remove some fluid from the joint for analysis before injecting usually a mix of steroid and/or local anaesthetic into the joint or bursa.
How Will I Feel After The Procedure?
Initially after the injection, you may experience more soreness, but also feel better as a result of the local anaesthetic. The anaesthetic will generally wear off after a few hours and you may have more soreness in the joint than before the injection. This soreness may last for up to 2-3 days after the injection.
If the steroid part of the injection is going to reduce the pain and inflammation in the joint, this will usually start to occur between 3-5 days after the injection.
If you experience a more intense pain following the injection, this may indicate either an aggravation of the synovitis (inflammation of the synovial membrane), by the injection or very rarely an infection of the joint. Please contact your referring doctor or Emergency Department immediately.
How Successful Is Ultrasound Guided Steroid Joint Injections?
Overall, ultrasound guided joint steroid injections appear to provide short to medium term pain relief, particularly when combined with recommended physical therapy.
However, it should be noted that if there is an underlying joint disease such as osteoarthritis, it will not provide long term pain relief.
Summary of Benefits of Ultrasound Guided Steroid Injections
- Joint injections are performed to confirm the injected joint or bursa as the site of pain
- Can reduce inflammation and pain
- May provide short to medium term pain relief
- It is a safe procedure with few risks