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Joint injection explained

Joint injection explained

Joint injection is a routine procedure that usually involves injecting a drug directly into a painful joint. It is a safe and relatively painless procedure.

How is an injection carried out?

This procedure involves injecting a cortisone-based drug directly into the painful area. The problem could be a painful joint, tendon or nerve.

Won't injecting a painful joint make the pain worse?

The origin of the pain is inside the joint.

During the injection, the needle is carefully passed into the joint cavity and the drug is delivered.  Over time it disperses evenly in the space.

An injection is not usually any more painful than a blood test.

However, pain may occur immediately following the injection, and can last up to 48 hours. If it persists beyond this period, you should inform your GP.

Can injecting into the joint damage the cartilage?

No; during the injection, the needle point penetrates inside the joint cavity. There is no way it can damage a cartilage or any other structure.

Which products are injected?

The product injected is usually a cortisone-based anti-inflammatory that acts both on the pain and the inflammation.

If this is the case, the product injected comes in the form of small crystals. These have the advantage of dissolving slowly and having a longer-lasting effect.

They may cause local irritation in the hours following the infiltration. These problems disappear by themselves within a few hours.

It is also possible to inject other drugs in order to lubricate the joint.

Is it necessary to prepare for a joint injection?

An injection is a very straightforward procedure. No special preparation is necessary.

However, if you feel anxious about the procedure, you should make this known. A preventive treatment on the morning of the injection can help you relax and make the  procedure easier.

Is there a risk of infection?

Every precaution is taken in terms of disinfection. The injection area is thoroughly disinfected. The risk of infection is thought to be around 1 case in every 71,000 procedures!

If, despite all these precautions, you develop a very painful and warm-feeling swelling or a fever in the days following the treatment, it is important to report this immediately.

How should I take care of my joint following an injection?

The procedure can very rapidly relieve the pain in the joint, tendon or nerve.

However, it is advisable that you take it easy for a further twenty-four hours following the procedure, to let the product act and to achieve a long-lasting improvement.

A joint injection is a simple and effective method of rapidly treating rheumatological pain following a specific diagnosis. It must be performed by an experienced doctor.

Publication date:   11/29/11

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TLC-DOC is a service provided by local GPs, with the support of the HSE, and located in Tallaght Cross west across from Aldi Tallaght Rd, Cookstown, Dublin. Local GPs have formed a cooperative to provide out-of-hours care for their own patients. This service will provide GP appointments for urgent medical conditions on weekday evenings and weekends. 1890 20 22 24 Please do not ring this number before 6.00 pm Monday - Friday, or 10.00 Sat/Sun & Bank Holidays.

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