A Short Guide to Small Joint Injections
March 14, 2022

No one should have to live in pain, but about 20% of people live with chronic pain every day. No end is in sight, and many people get only temporary relief. But small joint injections provide a fast-acting and long-lasting pain relief option for several parts of the body.

If you’re considering small joint injections or are looking for non-invasive options to fight chronic pain, then call our team at Sarasota-Bradenton Spine & Joint today at (941) 307-7766 for a free consultation in Sarasota, FL.

What Is Joint Aspiration?

Joint aspiration is the process of draining fluid from a swollen joint. Doctors generally perform this procedure in an office or hospital setting, using a cold spray or similar local anesthetic. Once they have cleaned and numbed the skin, they inject a needle into the joint to drain the fluid. Generally, they send the aspirated fluid to the lab for testing to help further diagnose the cause of the swelling and pain.

How Do Doctors Give Joint Injections?

After aspirating the affected joint, the doctor will prepare the injection. Steroid shots usually go directly into the joint to provide almost immediate pain relief. The steroids work to treat the inflammation itself, which will reduce swelling and pain associated with it. Small joint injections are outpatient procedures in a hospital or doctor’s office.

What’s the Purpose of Joint Injections?

Joint injections are common for people suffering from conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia along with those who suffer from injury-related joint pain. The injections allow the patient to reduce or potentially eliminate the regular use of NSAIDs or the more dangerous narcotics that they may typically take. A doctor will choose to use corticosteroid injections for joint pain because it is relatively fast-acting and long-lasting.

Are There Risks or Side Effects?

As with any other medication, you should be aware of a handful of risks and side effects before getting joint injections. Allergic reactions are rare but possible due to the drug itself or the tape or disinfectant used to clean the skin. Rarer than allergies is the chance of infection, which happens less than once in every 15,000 shots.

Roughly 1 in 50 patients will report soreness and swelling at the injection site, which usually subsides within a few days and is manageable with NSAIDs or Tylenol. Other possible side effects of the injection include depigmentation, local fat atrophy, or ruptured tendons near the injection site.

Where Can Small Joint Injections Be Used?

Steroid injections are helpful for pain relief in almost any joint. However, the most common joints treated this way are the knee, shoulder, or hips, while small joint injections are often used successfully for pain in the hands, feet, wrist, or elbow. The pain relief can last anywhere from weeks or months, but you can only safely get joint injections in the same joint a few times.

If you’re not sure whether small joint injections are the right pain management option for you, our Sarasota-Bradenton Spine & Joint experts in Sarasota, FL, can help. Book your free consultation today by calling us at (941) 307-7766, and we will work with you to find the best pain relief options for your condition.

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