FAQ’s on Joint Injection of the Sacroiliac (SI) joint, Knee, Hip or Shoulder
What is a Joint Injection of the Sacroiliac (SI) joint, Knee, Hip or Shoulder?
To understand what a joint injection can do for a patient, it is important to first understand how a joint works. Joints are located where two or more bones intersect in the body, and work to provide functional movement for a patient.
Covering the surface of the bones is a substance called cartilage, which a sponge-like tissue that assists in providing cushion during movement to stop bones from directly grinding against one another. Surrounding the intersecting bones and cartilage are a plethora of muscle tissues, tendons, and ligaments which provide the joint the ability to move. Over time, the cartilage present in a joint is gradually worn away in a condition known as arthritis.
The detrimental effects of arthritis are the primary cause of pain in a joint for many patients, with a joint injection offering a non-invasive option for those desiring relief from pain.
What will a Joint Injection treat?
A joint injection into the knee, hip, shoulder, or SI joint can provide relief for symptomatic pains occurring in these areas as a result of arthritic damage. A joint injection will not be able to treat the actual physical damage that has occurred, but are a very strong treatment method for obtaining relief. Joint pain due to arthritis is commonly the result of an inflammatory response in the area of arthritic damage, which can cause pain and reduce the mobility of a patient’s joint.
Joint injections work by injecting a concentration of anti-inflammatory medication into the inflamed tissue which is able to reduce inflammation and provide symptomatic relief. The most commonly used injections agents are corticosteroids, with cortisone used in many injections. There a number of new, non-steroidal injections currently in use for relief. These include hyaluronic acid injections, stem cell therapy, and platelet rich plasma therapy.
How are Joint Injections performed?
The method of injection will vary based on which joint is a source of pain for a patient. For injections into the knee or shoulder, the effects of arthritic damage will primarily be isolated to the outer surface of a joint and the injection is a relatively simple outpatient procedure performed under local anesthetic with minimal recovery time. For arthritic damage occurring deeper inside a joint, such as with the hip and sacroiliac joint, the injection needle must be guided into the affected area.
The primary guidance technique used for patients is fluoroscopic imaging, which is a series of X-rays taken in quick succession to create a real-time image of where the needle currently is. With this guidance technique, our physicians are able to accurately guide a needle directly into the area of inflammation to provide patients the best possible results from this treatment (Use of ultrasound-magnetic resonance image fusion to guide sacroiliac joint injections: a preliminary assessment.2013).
After the needle is properly placed, our physician will administer a combination of anti-inflammatory medications and numbing agents. The numbing agent of a joint injection is designed to provide immediate relief for pain, which lasts upwards of 12 hours for many patients. After two or three days have passed, the full effects of the anti-inflammatory medication will have taken hold to provide patients long-lasting relief.
How well does a Joint Injection work?
The primary cause of pain in a joint is often the inflammation caused by the effects of arthritis, making a joint injection of anti-inflammatory medication a very substantial method of relief for patients. The exact duration of relief experienced by patients will vary on an individual basis, with some patients achieving multiple months of pain.
What are the risks of Joint Injections?
There is a small risk of infection, bleeding, or soreness at the site of injection. There may be swelling at the injection site for patients, but this is a normal response. The largest risk for patients is that the pain was caused by something else, and that a joint injection will not be able to provide the desired relief.