A steroid injection is a minimally invasive procedure that can temporarily relieve pain caused by an inflamed joint. The procedure has two purposes. First, it can be used as a diagnostic test to see if the pain is actually coming from the joint. Second, it can be used as a treatment to relieve inflammation and pain caused by various conditions (injury, arthritis, degeneration).
How Does It Work?
A steroid injection includes both a corticosteroid and an anesthetic numbing agent. The drugs are delivered to the painful joint, inside the joint capsule. These injections can reduce inflammation and can be effective when delivered directly into the painful area. The pain relief can last from days to years, allowing your condition to improve with physical therapy and an exercise program. Injections can be made in the following areas:
- facet joints
- sacroiliac joint and coccyx
- hip joint
- shoulder, elbow, and hand
- knee, ankle and foot
During a joint injection, you will be positioned according to the location of the joint being treated. The skin over the targeted joint is cleaned with antiseptic solution and then injected with local anesthetic to numb the area. Using X-ray guidance or ultrasound guidance, the doctor will insert a needle into the targeted joint and inject a combination of anesthetic and steroid.