Joint injections are performed to treat pain and obtain a diagnosis in joints such as the hips, knees, or shoulders. Joint injections are guided using x-ray or ultrasound imaging, and the medications are administered directly into the joint. A contrast dye is used to ensure the doctor is in the joint.
Joint aspirations are used when there is concern for infection in the joint. This is the process of draining fluid from the joint prior to a steroid injection into the joint. The fluid drained from the joint can be tested for blood cell count or the presence of disease or infections. Joint aspiration can also be used to improve mobility and reduce pain.