Joint injection

Synonyms: Joint shots, Aspiration of fluid

Medical Specialties: Orthopedics, Physical medicine & rehab

Clinical Definition

Joint injections and aspirations are used for both diagnostic and therapeutic purposes for a variety of musculoskeletal conditions. For diagnostic purposes, fluid aspiration and analysis of the fluid can help identify a variety of joint pathologies. Also, a response to an injected anesthetic can help diagnose certain joint conditions. Injections of a glucocorticoids at particular sites of inflammation are used to treat different forms of arthritis, bursitis, tendinitis or other injuries involving the joints and their components.

In Our Own Words

With joint injections, health care professionals place a needle into affected joints both to assess and to treat joint problems. In a joint aspiration, the needle is used to draw out fluid from the joint, either to help in a diagnosis or to get rid of a collection of fluid that is causing problems. In contrast, in a joint injection of a therapeutic agent, the needle is used to inject a steroid, anesthetic, or a steroid-anesthetic mix into the joint to treat problems associated with joint inflammation and pain, such as arthritis or other conditions or injuries that cause pain or decreased range of motion.

Relevant Conditions
Common Types
  • Aspiration of fluid (arthrocentesis)
  • Corticosteroid injection
  • Anesthetic injection
  • Mix of corticosteroid and anesthetic
Side Effects
  • Tendon rupture
  • Infection
  • Bleeding
Share this article
  • American Family Physician. "Joint and Soft Tissue Injection." Accessed August 2013.
  • Arthritis Foundation. "Use of Corticosteroids in Arthritis." Accessed August 2013.
  • Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. "Radiology and joint injections." Accessed August 2013.
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