Joint injections are common procedures in medicine where medications are injected into the joint space. This procedure is uncommon in younger athletes, due to their normal and healthy joint functions. However, this is one of the most reliable methods of managing degenerative arthritis or osteoarthritis in many older athletes.
Benefits of joint injections
The procedure is given to treat inflammatory joint issues such as gout, rheumatoid arthritis, tendonitis, psoriatic arthritis, bursitis and sometimes osteoarthritis. Corticosteroids are used for this medical procedure because of its anti-inflammatory capability as well as its ability to slow down the build-up of cells which causes the inflammation in the joint space. If present, joint fluid will be aspirated or removed prior to joint injection. This also relives the pain and swelling of the join and helps in the diagnosis of joint pathology.
While corticosteroids may successfully relieve osteoarthritis, the mode of action as to whether this will aggravate or alleviate the issue is unclear. In many knee joint injection procedures, Hyanluronic acid, a viscous lubricating substance, is commonly used to relieve the symptoms of osteoarthritis of the knee.
What Comprises Joint Injection Medications
The anti-inflammatory medication corticosteroid is mostly utilized in this procedure. Cortisone is a kind of steroid that it naturally produced by the body and released when you are under stress. Injectable cortisone is synthetically produced and it’s a close derivative of the natural cortisone. Unlike natural cortisone, corticosteroids are injected to specific inflamed areas instead of being released into the bloodstream. This synthetic cortisone is also more potent and provides relief for a long period of time.
Apart from synthetic cortisone, a lubricant such as hyaluronic acid injections works to lessen the inflammation and lubricate the affected joint. It helps the joint lining to produce substances to feed the joint cartilage. This actually helps in early arthritis can is effective up to 6 months. Patients are given joint injections once a week for the next three to five weeks and this process maybe repeated after six months if needed.
Which joints are injected?
The most commonly injected joints are the ankle, knee, shoulders, elbows, wrists as well as the small joints of the hands and feet. You may need an x-ray called fluoroscopy to guide hip joint injections. Experienced orthopedist, radiologist, rheumatologist, anesthesiologist and physiatrist may also initiate facet joint injections in cases of chronic back pain experienced my many athletes.
Unlike oral steroids which are mostly abused and misused by athletes, joint injections using corticosteroids can lessen healing time and help lessen pain and inflammation. This procedure is mainly used to treat inflammation of the joints in sports injuries and aging athletes with their arthritis. Despite its many benefits, injection and these steroids also have corresponding side effects depending on the amount and location of the joint injection as well as the condition of the patient.
Dr. Jonathan Berns, D.C. is a Chiropractor serving the Wesley Chapel, FL community. Dr. Berns is a second generation chiropractor and a graduate of the prestigious Palmer College of Chiropractic in Davenport, IA. He received a Bachelor in Science degree from the University of Illinois where he was also a member of the Fighting Illini football team. iPhysicalMedicine.com is an all inclusive functional medicine facility located in Wesley Chapel, just north of Tampa, Florida.