FAQ’s on Joint Injection of the Sacroiliac (SI) joint, the Knee, the Hip, or the Shoulder
What is a Joint Injection of the Sacroiliac (SI) joint, the Knee, the Hip, or the Shoulder?
To understand how a joint injection can provide symptomatic relief, it is crucial to first understand how the joints work. A joint is located where two or more bones meet and move against one another to provide functional movement. Covering the surface of these bones is a sponge-like tissue named cartilage which serves to provide a cushion for the bones as they move, directly preventing each bone from grinding against the others during movement.
Surrounding the cartilage of a joint and the bones it protects are a variety of tendons, ligaments, and other muscle tissues which directly create the ability of a joint to move. If cartilage is lost (which occurs naturally over time), or if one or more of the muscles, ligaments, or tendons become damaged, it is possible for the joint to become a source of severe pain for patients.
Joint injections seek to provide a non-invasive option for relief for this pain by reducing the inflammation present, restoring function to the joint and providing symptomatic relief to patients.
What will a Joint Injection treat?
Joint injections performed for the sacroiliac joint, the knee, the hip, or the shoulder are each administered with a goal of providing relief for symptomatic pains related to one or more causes found in these areas. The most common cause of pain is inflammation due to arthritic damage in the joint, as inflammation can produce pain during any movement of the joint or when it is held idle. While an injection will not be able to correct the damage that has occurred, it can be a very strong therapeutic tool in providing symptomatic relief to patients and in restoring mobility to a joint that has lost it due to arthritic inflammation. Joint injections have been found to be particularly effective in the treatment of bursa-related injuries in the shoulder (Effects of subacromial bursa injection with corticosteroid and hyaluronidase according to dosage, 2013)
Joint injections work by placing a highly concentrated dosage of anti-inflammatory medication directly into the inflamed tissue via injection. The medications used most for this purpose include corticosteroids, with cortisone (the injectable used most). There are numerous new, non-steroidal treatments, currently being offered. Non-steroidal injections include stem cell therapy, platelet rich plasma therapy, and hyaluronic acid injections. Platelet rich plasma therapy (PRP) has been found to be a very effective knee injection in patients with chronic pain due to osteoarthritis (The effect of platelet-rich plasma on pain, function, and quality of life of patients with knee osteoarthritis, 2013).
How is a Joint Injection performed?
The procedural methods for the injection will differ based on which joint is receiving the injection. For knee or shoulder injections, the arthritic damage is typically isolated to the outer surfaces of joints making the injection a relatively simple ordeal that can be performed with local anesthetic and little to no recovery time. For arthritic damage occurring deeper in a joint, such as with the hip or SI joint, the injection needle will be require guidance to ensure accurate delivery of medication to the inflamed tissue.
After the needle has been placed in the desired tissue, an injection of anti-inflammatory agents and numbing medications will be used to provide relief to patients. Patients will typically experience around 12 hours of immediate relief, with the full effects of the anti-inflammatory agent taking hold after two or three days to provide lasting relief.
How well does a Joint Injection work?
Provided the primary cause of pain for the patient is inflammation in that joint, a joint injection will be capable of providing a large amount of relief and in many cases will be able to provide complete relief for patients. The duration of relief can vary on an individual basis, with some patients obtaining multiple months of pain relief.