Joint Injections in Kent: Relief for Pain and Mobility Issues
Joint injections and injection therapy are used to treat swollen and painful joints, muscles and tendons that can’t be eased using traditional over the counter painkillers. The pain may have happened due to an injury or because of arthritis. Hydrocortisone is used, a corticosteroid that reduces pain and swelling, and it is injected directly into the joint or soft tissue where there is pain.
The areas we most commonly treat with hydrocortisone injections are shoulders, knees, elbows, wrists, thumb and hips. They are also used to treat tendonitis and bursitis, and sometimes muscle pain when it’s in a particular area.
Joint injections are not required in all cases. After a thorough assessment and discussion with you, we will recommend them, if we think they are appropriate for you, will make a difference and if other options have been tried.
We are able to supply and administer the injections ourselves, as we have qualified prescribers in the team, saving you a great deal of time – there’s no need to get a referral and a prescription as we can take care of it all.
We will discuss with you what you can expect from the injection, how you’ll feel afterwards and your recovery time. Here’s a quick overview:
What to expect
We will inject directly into the painful joint or tissue, which means the hydrocortisone is delivered slowly and directly to the area of pain. Some injections will also need a local anaesthetic and this may be administered first or combined with the hydrocortisone. If you are being treated for bursitis, some fluid may first be removed, and an ultrasound to guide the needle to the right spot may be needed.
You should feel the benefits of your joint injection for up to several months, and perhaps up to an year. Depending on the target tissue you can have more than one injection a year.
After the injection, we would advise that somebody else drives you home as you may experience discomfort at the injection site, or numbness if you were injected with an anaesthetic.
How to prepare for your appointment
Wear comfortable clothes. Ask a friend or family member to accompany you so they can help get you home afterwards. And don’t plan too much in the days following your injection – make sure your fridge is well stocked and be prepared to rest. We may ask you to take it easy for a day or two after injection. Please also inform us in advance in case you have an active infection like – cough, cold or flu as we may need to reschedule your appointment.
As we take many precautions, the side effects are mild and rare. Hydrocortisone injections are safe and non-invasive although you may feel slight increase in the pain and swelling of the joint immediately after the injection. This will go away after a day or so . You may also notice a small bruise at the site of the injection, but this too will disappear in a few days.
Complications / risks
There are very few complications or risks associated with hydrocortisone injections because the medicine is given directly to the source of the pain, rather than travelling through the body. If you have had several injections, there is a small chance some could enter your bloodstream and travel round your body. Complications can include:
- joint infection or in the tissues surrounding the joint
- cartilage damage within your joint or tendons surrounding it (more likely the more injections you have)
- thinning skin around the injection site or a change in skin’s colour (more likely with stronger or repeated injections and improves with time)
- irregular periods in women or vaginal bleeding (even if post menopause)
- high or low mood changes
If you experience any of these symptoms, let us know and arrange to speak to your doctor.