Most joint, tendon and ligament problems are related to inflammation which is the ultimate cause of the pain. Powerful anti-inflammatories such as cortisone can dampen down the inflammation and improve your symptoms. It is very effective, but repeated use increases the risk of infection and tendon tear if injected into a tendon sheet. We recommend that you do not have more than 3 injections a year in the same area. If you had previous injections from someone else please let us know.
An injection into the hip joint can be considered if oral medication and lifestyle changes are not enough to relieve arthritic pain, but you are not yet ready for a hip replacement. It is more likely to be effective if there is only mild arthritis present in the joint. It can be done under ultrasound by specialist radiologists or under x-ray guidance by the surgeon. It can relieve your pain for up to 6-8 months, but if the arthritis is advanced the effect will wear off much sooner.
Bursitis or tendonitis around the hip can be treated with injections and this has the potential to solve the problem for the long term if there is no other underlying abnormality. Trochanteric bursitis can be injected blind in the first instance, but tendons lying deeper require ultrasound guidance.
Conditions amenable to injection therapy:
Arthritis. In early arthritis when there is still cartilage left in the joint it can be effective in relieving pain. A steroid injection will not cure the arthritis, but can buy you some time. Eventually you may well need a knee replacement if the arthritis progresses.
Synovitis. When there is no obvious cause for the inflammation of the lining of the joint or if it had been removed, but the pain and swelling persists steroids can settle things down for the long term.
Chronic ligament sprain. The medial collateral ligament on the inner side of the knee is especially prone to sprains. This can take 6-8 weeks to settle down, but if it still persists longer an injection can be helpful.
Hand conditions amenable to injection therapy:
Carpal tunnel syndrome. If the nerve in the carpal tunnel is under pressure due to inflammation of the tendon sheets an injection can solve the problem altogether.
Trigger finger. The primary cause of this condition is inflammation and thickening of the tendon sheet. The injection can reduce the inflammation resulting in relief of symptoms.
Arthritis. The most commonly affected joints are the ones at the base of the thumb but all small joints of the hand can be affected. Injection can be effective to keep pain and swelling at bay.
Tendonitis. All tendons run in thin sheets for various lengths over the hand. The sheets can get inflamed and painful after injury or overuse.