Joint Injection :: Nationwide Children's Hospital

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Joint Injection

A joint is a place in the body where two or more bones meet. The joint injection procedure helps relieve pain in joints caused by arthritis. Medicine is injected (given by a shot) into joints that have arthritis. It may take a couple of days for the medicine to work.

Preparing for the procedure

  • If your child is going to be given anesthetic (medicine to make him or her stay asleep during the injection), the child should not eat or drink anything for 8 hours before the procedure.
  • The child should wear clothing that makes it easy to see the joint(s) that will get the injection. The child can be given a hospital gown to wear instead.
  • Ask your child’s primary care doctor to give you a list of all of your child’s medicines, along with directions about how they should be taken before and after this procedure.

At the clinic for the procedure

  • Parents may stay with the child before but not during this procedure as it is done under sterile conditions the same as an operation. The family will need to leave the room before the procedure begins.
  • A medicine may be put on the skin to numb it before the injection, or the child may be given anesthetic.
  • The time it takes to finish the procedure will depend on how many joints need to have an injection.
  • If your child has been given anesthetic, he or she will be watched carefully in the hospital until awake.

After the procedure

  • There may be some soreness of the joints after the procedure. Soreness is normal for up to 72 hours. If joints are sore longer than this, call the doctor who referred your child for this procedure.
  • Injected joints need as much rest as possible. Your child should try not to use the joint(s) for the first 24 hours after the injection.
  • Your child may have his or her normal foods and drinks.
  • If your child has pain or discomfort, you may give acetaminophen (Tylenol®). The amount depends on your child’s age and weight.

When to call the doctor

Call the doctor if your child has:

  • A fever of 101 degrees Fahrenheit or higher.
  • Red, hot or swollen joint(s).
  • Pain lasting longer than 72 hours.
  • No improvement in joint pain after 3 to 5 days.
  • Any side effects that continue or are very bothersome.

Follow-up appointments

Follow up with your child’s primary care physician (or the doctor who referred your child
for this procedure) as he or she has recommended.

Joint Injection (PDF)

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