Joint Injections in Las Vegas (Wrist, Hip, Knee, Shoulder, Ankle, Elbow)

Joint injections are used to deliver a medication or special solution directly into the joint bursa. The bursa is a lubricating sac that surrounds the joint and lies between bones and tendons. Joint injections can be performed in an office setting using a local anesthetic.

What do joints do?

A joint lies between two bones, providing support and assisting with movement. The body’s joints become inflamed with certain types of arthritis, injury, or trauma. When a joint is stiff and painful, a joint injection is used to preserve the integrity of this structure while alleviating pain.

What are “steroids?”

Steroid is the short name for corticosteroid. These are synthetic drugs with a similar chemical makeup to cortisol, which is a hormone produced by the adrenal glands. Corticosteroids are not the same as steroids used by body builders. Instead, these drugs will reduce immune system activity and eliminate inflammation inside the joint. Two commonly used corticosteroids are methylprednisolone and triamcinolone.

Which joints require injections?

The joint most often injected is the knee. However, the pain management specialist can inject the hip, ankle, shoulder, elbow, wrist, and base of the thumb. When small joints are injected, the doctor often will use ultrasound guidance (real-time x-ray) to guide the needle into correct position.

What conditions can be treated with a joint injection?

Joint injections are used to treat:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Tendonitis
  • Bursitis
  • Trigger finger
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Gout

What can I expect before a joint injection?

You should talk with the pain management specialist before the joint is injected. The doctor will ask specific questions about your symptoms, take a medical history, and do a physical examination. Testing involves laboratory tests, x-rays, and magnetic resonance imaging. Once you arrive at the medical facility, a nurse will go over the benefits and risks associated with the procedure, and have you sign a consent form.

What happens during the joint injection procedure?

The doctor cleans the skin with an antiseptic solution, and numbs the skin with a local anesthetic. Fluoroscopic guidance (x-ray) is used to assure correct needle placement. After the needle is in place, the doctor can aspirate and remove fluid if necessary. After the medication is injected into the joint, the site is covered with a Band-Aid.

Why does the doctor remove fluid from the joint?

Certain medical conditions cause a buildup of joint fluid. The doctor removes the fluid to relieve pressure and for laboratory analysis. The lab checks for crystals, cell counts, and cultures the fluid to see if infection is present. These analysis is a diagnostic tests used to treat certain health problems.

What risks and complications are associated with joint injections?

A joint injection is a safe, effective procedure, but there are a few risks to consider. These are rare, but they include infection, bleeding, allergic reaction, skin discoloration, and tendon rupture.

How effective are joint injections?

In a review of clinical studies, researchers found that corticosteroid injections are more effective for pain relief than placebo. One study showed that the procedure had an 83% efficacy rate when used to treat bursitis and tendonitis.

Who is NOT a candidate for a joint injection?

Because corticosteroids can increase blood sugar, joint injections are not recommended for people with poorly controlled diabetes. Additionally, these injections are rarely given to people with blood clotting disorders or those on blood-thinning drugs.

Resources

Lambert RGW, Hutchings EJ, Grace MGA, et al. (2007). Steroid injection for osteoarthritis of the hip. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Arthritis Rheum, 56(7):2278–87. doi: 10.1002/art.22739.

Stephens MB, Beutler AI, & O’Connor, FG (2008). Musculoskeletal injections: A Review of the evidence. Am Fam Phys, 78(8): 971-976.