Corticosteroid Injections for Hand & Joint Pain
Corticosteroid injections, sometimes called Cortisone, are often employed to reduce inflammation and pain following an injury, or in the degenerative conditions of arthritis or carpal tunnel syndrome. It is best to consult with a doctor who specializes in the area needing treatment. In the case of the hands and arms, a hand specialist should perform the injection. For the foot, ankle and lower extremities, a podiatrist should be consulted.
In the case of injury or degeneration in the hands or wrists, corticosteroid injections are just one part of an overall plan to return the patient to full health and mobility. Hand exercises, hot and cold modalities and massage therapy may also be employed by the team of hand therapists at Midwest Hand Therapy.
What to expect from a corticosteroid injection procedure:
- The patient will be placed in a comfortable position, so that the area requiring the injection is readily accessible to the doctor.
- The injection site will be disinfected with alcohol or iodine.
- The patient will be encouraged to relax. If the muscles around the joint are relaxed, the injection will glide more smoothly and with less resistance and discomfort.
- If ultrasound is being used, a gel will be applied near the injection site, and a technician will gently press an ultrasound transducer against the skin to show an image of the joint space.
If the affected joint or bursa contains excess fluid, the doctor may gently draw off the fluid with a needle and syringe. This is known as joint aspiration or arthrocentisis.
- The doctor will then inject a small amount of cortisone into the joint; the cortisone may be mixed with an anesthetic such as lidocaine or bupivacaine. The patient may notice a pinching or a burning sensation.
- The injection area will then be cleaned and bandaged, and the patient may be asked to flex the joint several times to help distribute the medication.
- Usually patients wait about 30 minutes in the doctor’s waiting room, following this procedure, just to insure they have no unusually severe pain or an allergic reaction to the medication.
- These injections can be helpful in reducing inflammation and its associated pain over varying periods, depending on the individual. Frequently the pain is reduced for several weeks or even months, allowing the patient to participate in therapy to strengthen and elongate the muscles and tendons around the joint, to help resolve the issue.
If someone you know is struggling with pain, swelling, tenderness or tingling in the fingers, hands, wrists or elbows, contact Dr. Rehman today. She specializes in injuries and conditions of the upper extremities, and will perform an in-depth analysis of the cause of the condition. Utilizing state-of-the-art technology, she will design a comprehensive program of therapy to return the affected area to full strength and mobility.