What is an intra-articular hip injection?
An intra-articular hip injection is a procedure used to treat hip and groin pain. Usually this pain comes from inflammation (swelling) that happens from daily “wear and tear.” In some patients, the pain is from an injury or a birth defect.
During the procedure, a mixture of a local anesthetic and a steroid is injected into the hip joint capsule, where it spread throughout the joint. The local anesthetic will numb the area, and the steroid may help lower the swelling. This should reduce your pain and improve the motion in your hip.
Does the procedure hurt?
Your doctor will use a topical spray to numb the skin over your hip joint area. Your doctor will then inject the numbing medication that is used prior to the steroid injection. You may feel some stinging from the needle or the numbing medication. You may also feel some pressure or an increase in your normal level of pain while the steroid is being injected. This temporary increase in pain may last for a few days after the procedure, until the steroid starts to work.
Do I have to do anything to prepare for the procedure?
Once the procedure is scheduled, we will give you instructions on how to prepare. It is very important for your safety to tell us if you:
- Take a blood thinner (for example: Warfarin/Coumadin, Lovenox, or Plavix),
- Take anything that contains aspirin or a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or naproxen (Aleve),
- Have a condition that prevents your blood from clotting normally, or
- Have any allergies to latex, local anesthetics, or certain steroids
What happens during the procedures?
An intra-articular hip injection generally involves the steps below:
- You will be taken to a procedure room after checking in with the front desk. There we will ask you some basic questions about your health and verify if you have any allergies. We will ask you for your consent to do the procedure and you will speak with the doctor.
- You will lie on a table. The doctor will look at your joint with his sonogram machine.
- The area to be injected will be cleaned. This will help keep the area free of germs.
- The topical numbing spray will be applied, then the doctor will use the sonogram to guide the anesthetic injection into the joint.
- The doctor will then switch the injection to the combined numbing and steroid medication into your joint.
The procedure takes about 15-20 minutes. You will be awake during the procedure and may ask questions at any time. If you would like, you will also be able to see the procedure happening in real time on the screen linked to the ultrasound machine. Before you leave, we will give you instructions on how to care for yourself at home.
Are there any side effects from the procedure?
Side effects from this procedure are rare. The most common side effect is pain from where you were injected. Others include bleeding, infection, and increased blood sugar levels.
What should I do after the procedure?
Be as active as possible and do the activities that usually cause pain in your hip and/or groin. This will help your doctor know whether your pain is caused by your hip.
How will I feel after the procedure?
- You may be sore for a few days after the procedure. Use an ice pack at least 3-4 times a day to feel more comfortable.
- The local anesthetic will wear off in about 4 hours. At that time, your usual level of pain may return until the steroid starts working, which can take up to two weeks.
- Pain relief from a hip injection usually will last for several months, but this may vary from patient to patient. You may have 3-4 steroid injections a year. If you get no relief from the injection, we will continue to work with you to explore other treatment options.