Normally, joint injections are employed to treat types of arthritis and other joint problems. They can be utilized in conjunction with joint aspirations where fluid is extracted from inside the joint. These are performed at the physician’s office and typically a local anesthetic will be employed to numb the location of the injection. Joint fluid can be extracted in order to perform tests in the lab and medications can also be injected into the joint. The most commonly performed joint 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 utilized however they may require an ultrasound or x-ray first.
Joint aspirations are utilized to procure an accurate diagnosis and an injection is utilized to lessen the accumulation of fluid and can help to minimize pain and stiffness for a short time. The doctor can determine what is going on inside the joint using the fluid and determine what is causing the discomfort. The analysis can contain a cell count like the number of white or red blood cells, a crystal analysis which verifies the presence of calcium pyrophosphate crystal disease or gout, and/or it can identify if an infection is occurring. Drainage of a joint regularly improves mobility and decreases pain as well. Medications injected into the joint can assist to treat tendonitis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, and a variety of other conditions.
Corticosteroids such as triamcinolone which have been developed to remain within the joint are typically used. These injections use anti-inflammatory medications and they slow the accumulation of cells which cause swelling and pain in the joint space. These medications are beneficial when treating conditions such as osteoarthritis. Hyaluronic acids such as Hyalgan® are also employed to address osteoarthritis and can mitigate symptoms in the knee for up to a year.