Injections may be used for either diagnosis or treatment. There are different types of injection therapy.
Steroid injections around the hip and knee
This can be helpful in the hip joint to calm down inflammation and allow a physiotherapist to work on improving range, core stability and strength around the hip following a hip joint injury.
Around the outside of the hip, injections are useful for the treatment of trochanteric pain (trochanteric syndrome). They can help to reduce pain due to the inflammation seen in trochanteric bursitis and pain with tendinopathy of the gluteal muscles.
Steroid injections are cheap and work well in certain circumstances, however they can increase the risk of an infection or ‘hide’ underlying problem such as arthritis. You should not have a joint replacement for at least 6 months following a steroid injection.
Viscosupplementation in the hip and knee joint
Injection of fluid similar to the Hyaluronic acid normally found in joint may help to reduce pain. Derivatives such as Synvisc or Durolane may help to improve symptoms. Some patients report significant benefit following treatment, whilst others report little benefit. This may be a good option when you have discomfort due to early degenerative changes.
Injections can be expensive, but may be covered by your insurance company. They are not associated with an increased risk of infection after joint replacement.
This treatment includes injecting concentrated factors from blood into damaged joints. It is felt that the factors may help control inflammation within damaged joints.
Other treatments include stem-cell therapy taken from bone marrow or fat. At present, there is little high quality evidence to support the use of these treatment options.
The Risks of Injection therapy
Any intervention has the risk of infection. Some patients report a flare up after injection which often settles down. Steroids can occasionally cause skin whitening and changes in the fat under the skin.