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Cortisone Injection (cont.)

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How are cortisone injections of a joint given?

The method of administering a cortisone injection to a joint is similar to that of soft-tissue injections. Betadine, however, is more commonly used for sterilization of the skin over the joint. This is an important precaution to prevent introducing infection into the joint. Furthermore, if there is an excessive amount of fluid within the joint, it often is removed first with a separate syringe and needle prior to injection of the cortisone. Removal of this joint fluid allows the doctor to examine the fluid and submit a sample to the laboratory for diagnosis. Removal also rapidly relieves pain by reducing the pressure of the fluid within the joint. Finally, removal of fluid may allow the joint to heal more quickly. Resting the joint after the injection is important to allow the inflammation to decrease. Formal exercise involving the injected joint should be avoided for several days after the injection.

"I've always heard that cortisone injections are painful? Are they?"

In an expert's hands, the opposite is more often the case. That is, minimal pain from the procedure is noted while relief from the pain of the inflammation occurs rapidly. Occasionally, cortisone injections of joints that have degenerated (become damaged) or that are particularly small (such as finger joints) can be associated with temporary, minor pain at the time of the injection. This is not generally expected. Less frequently, nerves can be irritated, either directly by the needle during the injection or by the corticosteroid medication. Again, pain after the injection is not common or anticipated.

REFERENCES:

McNabb, J.W. A Practical Guide to Joint & Soft Tissue Injection & Aspiration. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2005.

Ruddy, S., Harris, E.D., Sledge, C.B., Kelley, W.N., eds. Kelley's Textbook of Rheumatology. 7th ed. Philadelphia: WB Saunders, 2005.


Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/17/2014

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Source: MedicineNet.com
http://www.medicinenet.com/cortisone_injection/article.htm

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