An intra-articular joint injection is a common therapeutic procedure, which aims to reduce pain and inflammation in a joint. Joint inflammation can be caused by a variety of conditions, such as osteoarthritis. The procedure is most commonly performed in the knee, hip, and shoulder, but can be done in the costochondral joints (between ribs and breastbone), facets joints (between vertebrae in the spine) and joints in the hands and feet.
Joint inflammation is usually associated with a proliferation of white blood cells and reduction of blood flow. This results in a painful, swollen joint. This procedure involves the injection of corticosteroids into the affected joint. This can provide quick and long-lasting pain relief with very little risk of damaging the tendons, ligaments or nerves.
Intra-articular joint injections are fairly safe and can provide long-term benefits. Normally, the pain relief lasts about 3-4 months. After that time, the procedure may be repeated if necessary.