Procedure

Joint Injection

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Joint Injection, Intra-articular Injection, Soft Tissue Injection

  • Contraindications
  • Intra-articular Injection
  1. Overlying Cellulitis
  2. Severe Coagulopathy
  3. Anticoagulant therapy (relative contraindication)
  4. Septic effusion or Septic Joint
  5. More than 3 injections per year in weight bearing joint
  6. Lack of response after 2-4 injections
  7. Bacteremia
  8. Unstable joints
  9. Inaccessible joints
  10. Joint prosthesis
  11. Osteochondral Fracture
  12. Overlying soft tissue infection or dermatitis
  • Precautions
  1. Do not inject directly into tendons
    1. Injection into tendon sheath is appropriate
    2. Tendon weakens with direct injection (rupture risk)
    3. Do not inject high risk tendons
      1. Avoid Achilles tendon injection
      2. Avoid Patella tendon injection
  2. Aspirate before injection to confirm no vessel
  3. Avoid needle Trauma to cartilage on Joint Injection
  4. Limit Corticosteroid Injections to >4 week intervals
    1. Intra-articular Injections are typically limited to 3 month intervals
  5. Limit Corticosteroid to one large joint per visit
  6. Exercise caution with nearby nerves
    1. Withdraw needle if patient reports Paresthesias
    2. Example: Ulnar Nerve lies close to medial epicondyle
  • Complications
  1. Postinjection flare (2-5%)
    1. Relieved with ice to the area for 15 minutes/hour
    2. Resolves within 24 to 48 hours
    3. More common with longer acting Corticosteroids
  2. Steroid Arthropathy (0.8%)
  3. Tendon rupture (<1%)
  4. Facial Flushing (<1%)
  5. Skin atrophy or depigmentation (<1%)
  6. Iatrogenic Infectious Arthritis post-arthrocentesis Septic Joint (<0.07%)
    1. Within 3-4 days of aspiration
  7. Transient paresis of injected extremity (Rare)
  8. Hypersensitivity Reaction (rare)
  9. Asymptomatic pericapsular calcification (43%)
  10. Acceleration of cartilage attrition (unknown Incidence)
    1. Seen with frequent injections (e.g. 1970s NFL players)
  11. Local Anesthetic Systemic Toxicity
  12. Hyperglycemia in Diabetes Mellitus patients
    1. Single Intra-articular Injections do not typically affect Blood Sugars
    2. Soft tissue and peritendinous injections increase Blood Sugars for 5-21 days
    3. Wang (2006) J Hand Surg 31(6):979-81 [PubMed]
    4. Younes (2007) Joint Bone Spine 74(5): 472-6 [PubMed]
  13. Reference
    1. Gray (1983) Clin Orthop Relat Res, (177): 253-63 [PubMed]
  • Preparations
  • Based on duration and potency
  1. See Injectable Corticosteroid for dosing
  2. Short-Acting and Low Potency
    1. Cortisone
    2. Hydrocortisone
  3. Intermediate-Acting and Intermediate Potency
    1. Prednisone
    2. Prednisolone tebutate (Hydeltra)
    3. Triamcinolone (Aristocort, Aristospan, Kenalog)
    4. Methylprednisolone acetate (Depo-Medrol)
  4. Long-Acting and High Potency
    1. DexamethasoneSodium phosphate (Decadron)
    2. Betamethasone (Celestone Soluspan)
  • Preparations
  1. Preferred agents for large Joint Injections (longer duration but local skin reaction risk)
    1. Triamcinolone hexacetonide (Aristospan)
    2. Triamcinolone Acetonide (Kenalog)
  2. Preferred agents for small joints and soft tissue
    1. Methylprednisolone acetate (Depo-medrol)
  • Needles
  1. Joint Injection
    1. Needle Gauges 22-27 with length of 1.5 inches (author prefers 27 gauge)
  2. Joint Aspiration
    1. Needle Gauges 18-20 with length of 1.5 inches
  3. Special Circumstances: Spinal needle
    1. Obesity interferes with joint or bursa access
    2. Trochanteric Bursitis
  1. Shoulder Injection
    1. Adhesive Capsulitis
      1. Fair evidence of good short-term and good long-term relief
    2. Subacromial impingement
      1. Good evidence of poor short-term and poor long-term relief
  2. Elbow Injection
    1. Lateral Epicondylitis
      1. Weak evidence of good short-term but poor long-term relief
    2. Medial Epicondylitis
      1. Weak evidence of fair short-term but poor long-term relief
  3. Wrist Injection
    1. Carpal Tunnel
      1. Weak evidence of good short-term but poor long-term relief
    2. DeQuervain Tenosynovitis
      1. Weak evidence of fair short-term relief
    3. Wrist Osteoarthritis
      1. No evidence available for short-term or long-term relief
  4. Hand Injection
    1. Hand Osteoarthritis
      1. No evidence available for short-term or long-term relief
    2. Trigger Finger
      1. Weak evidence of good short-term and fair long-term relief
  5. Hip Injection
    1. Greater Trochanteric Bursitis
      1. Fair evidence of good short-term and fair long-term relief
    2. Hip Osteoarthritis
      1. Fair evidence of good short-term and fair long-term relief
  6. Knee Injection
    1. Knee Osteoarthritis
      1. Fair evidence of good short-term but poor long-term relief
  7. Foot Injection
    1. Morton Neuroma
      1. No evidence available for short-term or long-term relief
  8. References
    1. Foster (2015) Am Fam Physician 92(8): 694-9 [PubMed]