The hip joint is a large joint where the leg joins the pelvis. A hip joint injection may be considered for patients who suffer with symptoms of arthritis or injury. Each year, thousands of people that suffer from hip pain struggle with activities such as walking or exercising. If you have hip pain, non-surgical treatment options should be considered first.
Hip injections typically contain a mixture of local anaesthetic and steroid. The local anaesthetic offers rapid pain relief, although this wears off quickly. The steroid (also called cortisone) acts as a powerful anti-inflammatory within the joint. Because of possible side effects, the number of shots you can receive is limited to 3 – 4 per year.
Why are Hip Injections Performed?
Hip injections reduce inflammation, which is the cause of swelling and pain. Different steroids can take longer to begin working than others. Your doctor will talk you through which is the best steroid option for you.
Hip injections will not cure the primary problem or condition affecting your joint, but they may ease your symptoms. They are often combined with other treatments, such as medications and physiotherapy. If you are undergoing physiotherapy, steroid joint injections will help you to cope better with this.
You can have hip injections every 3 months if you require them. Generally, it is advised not to have more than 4 hip injections in a year as exceeding this number a year can cause further damage to your joint.
Cortisone shots, a specific steroid injection, are considered the most effective in treating inflammatory arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis. They can also be help to treat other conditions such as:
- Psoriatic arthritis
- Reactive arthritis
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Labral tear
- Injury or trauma to hip
- Overuse or misuse of the hip joint
Preparing for a Hip Injection
When preparing for your hip injection, you can usually continue to take other medicines as steroid injections do not usually affect them. It is important to let your doctor know about any medicines you are taking, along with any health conditions you have that affect the way your blood clots, such as haemophilia.
There are not any particular preparations you need to make before you have a hip injection. It is advised that you wear comfortable, loose fitting clothes that allow easy access to the hip.
Check with your doctor whether you will be able to drive following your joint injection. It is recommended that you ask friends or family for a lift home as if you have a local anaesthetic, your hip joint area may feel numb, making it difficult to drive.
You will be talked through what to expect before, during and after your procedure. If you are unsure about anything or have any questions, now is the time to ask.
What to Expect from a Hip Injection
Your hip injection will be carried out as a day case procedure. As the hip joint is quite deep and tight, a special type of X-ray (a fluoroscope) is needed to help the doctor see where to place the needle. When the needle appears to be in the correct position, a dye is then injected to ensure the tip of the needle is inside the hip joint. You may experience some pressure when the needle is inserted; let the doctor know if you have a lot of discomfort.
You will be asked to lie on an examination table in a position that lets your doctor easily access your hip joint. The doctor cleans the skin with antiseptic and applies a local anaesthetic to numb the area. The needle is guided into your hip joint whilst watching it on a monitor. A dye is then inserted to make it easier to understand where to inject the steroid.
After injecting the medication, you will need to stay still for 10 minutes. You will then be required to move your hip to assess if you still feel pain. It is common to experience some soreness as the local anaesthetic wears off. Once the steroid start to work, you will notice the pain lessen, usually within 2 – 7 days.
After Your Hip Injection
In some cases, you may experience redness and a warm sensation in your chest and face after a steroid injection. If you have diabetes, your blood sugar levels may temporarily increase.
Results of a steroid injection usually depend on the reason for the treatment and vary from person to person. Steroid injections commonly cause a temporary flare in pain and inflammation for up to 48 hours following the injection. After that, pain and inflammation of the affected joint should lessen, and can last for up to several months.
Following your hip injection, your doctor might ask that you protect the injection site for a couple of days by avoiding heavy lifting or vigorous activities and staying off your feet when you can. If pain relief is necessary, you can take over-the-counter pain medication or try applying ice to the injection area. Do not use heat pads. Avoid having a bath or using a hot tub. Showering is ok. In most cases, you are able to put full weight through your hip fairly soon following your procedure, although you may need a crutch for support for a short period.
Most people do not experience any problems following hip injections. Contact your doctor if your joint feels hot, or if the pain does not settle within the first couple of days.
Potential side effects of hip injections increase with larger doses and repeated use. Side effects can include:
- Cartilage damage
- Death of nearby bone
- Joint infection- redness, swelling and pain. Seek immediate medical attention
- Nerve damage
- Temporary facial flushing/redness
- Temporary flare-up of pain and inflammation in the joint, usually lasting a couple of days
- Temporary increase in blood sugar levels, generally lasting for a few days
- Tendon weakening or rupture
- Thinning of nearby bone (osteoporosis)
- Thinning of skin and soft tissue around the injection site
- Paler skin around the injection site
- A loss of fat around the injection site, resulting in dimples in the skin
- Temporary high blood pressure
Outlook Following a Hip Injection
It can take up to 7 days for a hip injection to begin working in the body. The effects of the injection typically last up to 2 months, but can be longer for some people.
Steroid can reduce inflammation that causes damage to the joints. Your doctor may suggest other treatments to address joint pain resulting from another condition such as obesity, tendon or ligament damage, or an autoimmune disorder.
Hip injections are available at One Ashford Hospital. We can book you in to see a specialist Orthopaedic Hip surgeon for an initial consultation, usually within 48 hours. One Ashford Hospital is ideally placed to see patients from Ashford, Canterbury, Maidstone, Dover, Folkestone and all surrounding areas. Call us on 01233 423 000 to find out more.
You can use your private medical insurance or pay for your Hip Injections treatment. We offer competitive, fixed price packages as well as the ability to spread your cost with the option of 0% finance. If you are using your health insurance, please contact your insurer first for approval and let them know you’d like to be treated at One Ashford Hospital
Why One Ashford Hospital
- Access to leading Consultants within 48 hours*
- 0% and low interest finance options**
- Competitive fixed-price packages
- Modern purpose-built hospital
- Private, spacious, ensuite rooms
- Specialist Physiotherapy and nursing teams
- Little waiting time for surgery
- Calm, dignified experience
*Dependent on Consultant availability
**Terms and conditions apply