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Hip joint injection

Definition

A hip injection is a shot of medicine into the hip joint. The medicine helps relieve pain and inflammation. It can also help diagnose the source of hip pain.

Alternative Names

Cortisone shot - hip; Hip injection; Intra-articular steroid injections - hip

Description

For this procedure, a health care provider inserts a needle in the hip and injects medicine into the joint. The provider uses a real-time x-ray (fluoroscopy) to see where to place the needle in the joint.

You may be given medicine to help you relax.

For the procedure:

  • You will lie on the x-ray table, and your hip area will be cleaned.
  • A numbing medicine will be applied to the injection site.
  • A small needle will be guided into the joint area while the provider watches the placement on the screen.
  • Once the needle is in the right spot, a small amount of contrast dye is injected so the provider can see where to place the medicine.
  • The steroid medicine is slowly injected into the joint.

After the injection, you will remain on the table for another 5 to 10 minutes or so. Your provider will then ask you to move the hip to see if it is still painful. It may be a few days before you notice any pain relief.

Why the Procedure is Performed

Hip injection is done to reduce hip pain caused by problems in the bones or cartilage of your hip. The hip pain is often caused by:

  • Bursitis
  • Arthritis
  • Injury to the hip joint or surrounding area
  • Overuse or strain from running or other activities

A hip injection can also help diagnose hip pain. If the shot does not relieve pain within a few days, then the hip joint may not be the source of hip pain.

Risks

Risks are rare, but may include:

  • Bruising
  • Swelling
  • Skin irritation
  • Allergic reaction to medicine
  • Infection
  • Bleeding in the joint
  • Weakness in the leg

Before the Procedure

Tell your health care provider about:

  • Any health problems
  • Medicines you take, including over-the-counter medicines
  • Any allergies

Plan ahead to have someone drive you home after the procedure.

After the Procedure

  • You may ice your hip if you have swelling or pain (wrap the ice in a towel to protect your skin).
  • Avoid strenuous activity the day of the procedure.
  • DO NOT drive the day of the procedure.
  • You may resume most normal activities the next day.
  • Take pain medicines as directed.

Outlook (Prognosis)

Most people feel less pain after a hip injection.

  • You may notice reduced pain 15 to 20 minutes after the injection.
  • Pain may return in 4 to 6 hours as the numbing medicine can wear off
  • As the steroid medicine begins to take affect 2 to 7 days later, your hip joint should feel less painful.

You may need more than one injection. How long the shot lasts varies from person to person, and depends on the cause of the pain. For some, it can last weeks or months.

References

Arthrocentesis and Injection of Joints and Soft Tissue. In: Firestein GS, Budd RC, Gabriel SE, McInnes IB, O'Dell JR. eds. Kelley's Textbook of Rheumatology. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2013:chap 5.

Malfair D. Therapeutic and diagnostic joint injections. Radiologic Clinics of North America. 2008;46,(3):439-53. PMID: 18707956 www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18707956.


Review Date: 11/26/2014
Reviewed By: C. Benjamin Ma, MD, Assistant Professor, Chief, Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service, UCSF Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, San Francisco, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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