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by EBSCO Medical Review Board

Joint Injection

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

Definition

Joint injections are medicines put into a joint. The medicine is often a combination of corticosteroids and local anesthetic (numbing medicine).
This treatment is most often used in joints like the hips, knees, and shoulders.

Reasons for Procedure

Injections are done to ease pain and swelling in a joint from things like:
Rheumatoid Arthritis
rheumatoid arthritis
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Possible Complications

Problems are rare, but all procedures have some risk. The doctor will go over some problems that could happen, such as:
  • Problems from local anesthesia, such as wheezing or sore throat
  • Infection
  • Blood clots
  • Damage to skin and tissue
  • Tendon rupture
Things that may raise the risk of problems are:
  • Smoking
  • Drinking alcohol
  • Chronic diseases, such as diabetes or obesity

What to Expect

Prior to Procedure

The care team may meet with you to talk about:
  • Anesthesia options
  • Any allergies you may have
  • Current medicines, herbs, and supplements that you take and whether you need to stop taking them before the injection
  • Whether you need a ride to and from the injection
  • Tests that may need to be done before the injection

Anesthesia

You may be given local anesthesia. The area will be numbed. This may provide relief right away, which can help confirm a diagnosis.

Description of the Procedure

The injection site will be located. The area will be wiped with an alcohol pad. The joint may be flexed. The needle will be inserted into the joint. The medicine will be injected. The needle will be removed. A bandage may be placed over the area.
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 to 15 minutes

Will It Hurt?

Symptoms may worsen for the first 24 to 48 hours after the injection. Medicine and home care can help ease pain.

Post-procedure Care

At the Care Center
Right after the procedure, the staff may:
  • Put an ice pack on the injection site
  • Test your range of motion
At Home
Physical activity will be limited for several days. Relief from pain may last several weeks or months.

Call Your Doctor

Call the doctor if you are not getting better or you have:
  • Signs of infection, such as fever and chills
  • Warmth or swelling at the injection site
If you have an emergency, call for medical help right away.

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

Injection therapy for osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/management/injection-therapy-for-osteoarthritis-oa-of-the-knee. Accessed August 2, 2021.
Injections that could ease your joint pain. Cleveland Clinic website. Available at: https://health.clevelandclinic.org/injections-that-could-ease-your-joint-pain. Accessed August 2, 2021.
Joint injections (joint aspirations). American College of Rheumatology website. Available at: https://www.rheumatology.org/I-Am-A/Patient-Caregiver/Treatments/Joint-Injection-Aspiration. Accessed August 2, 2021.

Revision Information