Joint injections are often recommended by physicians to help manage hand, wrist, elbow, shoulder, hip, knee, ankle, and foot pain. The medications most often used in joint injections are a combination of corticosteroids and anesthetic.
The anesthetic included in the injected medication provides fast-acting pain relief. It works by inhibiting the transmission of pain impulses from the area being injected to the brain. Lidocaine and Bupivicaine are common anesthetics used in joint injections. This type of medication acts quickly, usually within half a minute to 15 minutes after injection, but also wears off fairly quickly, usually within several hours after the injection. This can lead to an increase in pain several hours after an injection, which usually resolves when the effects of the corticosteroid begin to act.
This type of medication has longer-acting anti-inflammatory effects. It is thought to work by inhibiting the release of inflammatory agents called cytokines by the body’s immune cells in the region where they are injected. Commonly used corticosteroids for joint injections include Kenalog, Aristospan, Celestone, Soluspan, and Depo-Medrol. As long as the patient reduces the activity level of the joints for the first few days after the injection, the medication can last two to three weeks, and can sometimes provide long-term relief.
It is often necessary to repeat joint injections, as the corticosteroids are broken down by the body over time. It has been shown that patients with rheumatoid arthritis who receive corticosteroid injections continue use and function of the affected joints for longer than those who do not. As joint injections are often not a permanent solution, your pain management physician will usually use them in com