Purpose of Hip Joint Injections
Hip joint injections involve injecting medicine directly into the joint. These injections can help diagnose the source of pain, as well as alleviate the discomfort:
- Diagnostic function: By placing numbing medicine into the joint, the amount of immediate pain relief experienced will help confirm or deny the joint as a source of pain. If complete pain relief is achieved while the hip joint is numb it means this joint is likely to be the source of pain.
- Pain relief function: Along with the numbing medication, time-release cortisone is also injected into these joints to reduce inflammation, which can often provide long term pain relief.
- See: Osteoarthritis Complete Treatment Guide: https://www.spine-health.com/conditions/arthritis/osteoarthritis-complete-treatment-guide
- Pain Relief After a Hip Joint Injection
Patients may notice a slight increase in pain lasting for several days as the numbing medicine wears off and the cortisone is just starting to take effect.
If the area is uncomfortable in the first two to three days after the injection, applying ice or a cold pack to the general area of the injection site will typically provide pain relief and appear more beneficial than applying heat.
- Read more in the Heat and Cold Therapy Health Center
If the hip joint that was treated is the source of the pain, the patient may begin to notice pain relief starting two to five days after the injection.
If no improvement occurs within ten days after the injection, then the patient is unlikely to gain any pain relief from the injection and further diagnostic tests may be needed to accurately diagnose the patient’s pain.
Patients may continue to take their regular medicines after the procedure, with the exception of limiting pain medicine within the first four to six hours after the injection, so that the diagnostic information obtained is accurate.
Patients may be referred for physical therapy or manual therapy after the injection while the numbing medicine is effective and/or over the next several weeks while the cortisone is working.
- See Manual Physical Therapy for Pain Relief
On the day after the procedure, patients may return to their regular activities. When the pain has improved, it is advisable to start regular exercise and activities in moderation. Even if the pain relief is significant, it is still important to increase activities gradually over one to two weeks to avoid recurrence of pain.
Potential Risks of Hip Joint Injections
As with any procedure, there is a risk of complications. Possible side effects from the hip joint injection include:
- Allergic reactions to the medications used
- Infection (occurs in less than 1 per 15,000 injections)
- Post-injection flare (joint swelling and pain several hours after the corticosteroid injection)
- Depigmentation (a whitening of the skin)
- Local fat atrophy (thinning of the skin)
- Rupture of a tendon located in the path of the injection