What are Joints?
Essentially, a joint is a point in the body where two bones meet. There are various types of joints within the body that assist with structure, mobility and overall physical function of the body. Fibrous joints are immovable joints, cartilaginous joints are partially movable, and synovial joints are freely movable. The most commonly referred to joint is the synovial joint. Common examples of this joint include: hands, wrists, elbows, shoulders, hips, knees, ankles, and feet.
All synovial joints have a synovial capsule surrounding the entire joint, a synovial membrane which secretes synovial fluid (a lubricating liquid) and cartilage known as hyaline cartilage which pads the ends of the articulating bones. Since this joint is so movable it is more susceptible to inflammatory diseases that can lead to pain, decreased function and decreased range of motion. When these disease processes start to occur is normally when people seek out treatment. One common treatment is a joint injection.
What are joint injections?
A joint injection can be both diagnostic and therapeutic. It involves injecting a medication into a synovial joint in order to relieve painful symptoms and improve the joint’s function. Depending on the type of injection determines the amount of injections required. Joint injections represent an excellent nonoperative treatment to relieve pain. The various types of joint injections we provide include anti-inflammatory, Hyaluronic Acid, and Regenerative medicine.
Hyaluronic Acid Injections (Hyalgan and Supartz)
Hyaluronic acid (HA) injections are currently only FDA approved for knee injections. They involve the application of a pharmaceutical hyaluronic acid, which is similar to the hyaluronic acid that occurs naturally in the joints. It works by acting like a lubricant and shock absorber in the joints and helps the joints to work properly. The goal is to increase the concentration of HA in the synovial fluid and therefore increases the viscosity. Injecting HA into a joint can cushion and lubricate the joint, thus improving movement and reducing pain. HA injections are beneficial for the treatment of osteoarthritis of the knee. HA injections have been known to postpone the need for knee joint replacements.
See section on Stem Cells/Regenerative medicine for more detailed information.
Why are joint injections performed?
Joint injections can be an effective treatment for numerous painful and inflammatory conditions, including:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Psoriatic arthritis
What are the most common application sites for joint injections?
Some of the common joint injection sites include:
- Plantar Fasciitis
- Sacroiliac joint – the joint located at the bottom of the
- spine that connects the spine to the hips
What does getting joint injections involve?
In joint injection procedures, the Medical Primary Care Provider will use an ultrasound probe to position the needle into the joint space. Prior to inserting the needle, the joint will be felt in order to determine exactly where the injection needs to be placed. Once identified through both palpation and ultrasound guidance, the injection area will be cleaned with antiseptic. Next, the medicine is administered into the joint and the joint is then moved around, through passive range of motion, to disperse the medicine. The entire procedure takes approximately 10-20 minutes.
After getting a joint injection, you may experience minor soreness around the injection site for a few days. The effects and degree of pain relief from a joint injection is dependent upon your condition, but most patients start noticing relief within the first few days. In some cases, multiple rounds of injections may be necessary. The length of time that the effects of joint injections last will also vary depending on the patient and the type of injection used.
What are the benefits of joint injections?
Joint injections can be highly effective at decreasing localized pain and swelling in a joint. Joint injections may also decrease the accumulation of fluid and cells in the joint and can temporarily decrease stiffness. In regenerative injections, there is a 97% efficacy of reversing the underlying disorder; therefore, potentially not needing future injections. Regenerative medicine has been known to eliminate the need for surgical intervention in many situations.
If you are experiencing arthritis or another painful condition that may warrant a joint injection, the first step is scheduling a consultation with our Medical Primary Care Provider at Dynamic Health Center. Our practice is known for our compassionate care and personalized approach. Schedule an appointment today by contacting our office at (303) 873-6232.