Joint injections use solutions of anesthetics and corticosteroids injected into the joint space to help reduce symptoms of pain and inflammation and to restore range of motion to joints that have become injured or damaged due to degenerative conditions like osteoarthritis. Joint injections can be used in a major joint, like the knee, or in minor joints like those of the hand, foot, ankle and wrist.
Joint injections begin with a careful cleansing of the injection site. In some cases, a topical anesthetic may be used to help numb the area, but in most cases, it's not necessary. Then, the injection is made into the space surrounding the joint. Once the injections are complete, you may have some discomfort near the injection site, but most people feel immediate relief of pain within the joint, thanks to the anesthetic component of the solution. Once that wears off, you may have some minor discomfort until the corticosteroids go to work over the next few days, when range of motion and mobility will improve and joint discomfort will subside.
That depends on how the joint is used as well as the underlying cause of your joint symptoms. Joint symptoms that arise from injury or following surgery may be resolved with a single series of injections; however, when a degenerative condition like arthritis is involved, you may need ongoing injections. In addition to ongoing pain management, joint injections are often used in combination with physical or occupational therapy to help strengthen the joint and restore range of motion naturally. During your consultation, you can discuss the need for further injections as well as the use of exercises to help restore normal function over time.
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