Steroid Joint Injections
A steroid injection includes both a corticosteroid (e.g., triamcinolone, methylprednisolone, dexamethasone) and an anesthetic numbing agent (e.g., lidocaine or bupivacaine). The drugs are delivered to the painful joint, inside the joint capsule. Corticosteroid 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 of the spine
- sacroiliac joint and coccyx
- hip joint
- shoulder, elbow, and hand
- knee, ankle and foot
To begin, you lie on an x-ray table and a local anesthetic is used to numb the treatment area so discomfort is minimal throughout the procedure. You remain awake and aware during the procedure to provide feedback to the physician. The doctor then directs a hollow needle through the skin and into the region responsible for pain. Fluoroscopy allows the doctor to watch the needle in real-time on the fluoroscope monitor to ensure that the needle goes to the desired location Contrast may be injected to confirm correct needle location. Some discomfort occurs, but patients more commonly feel pressure than pain. Finally, when the needle is correctly positioned, the anesthetic and corticosteroid medications are injected into the joint capsule. The needle is then removed and the procedure is complete.