What are hip injections?
Hip injections are a non-surgical approach for those with chronic pain in their hips. When non-pharmacologic treatment of the hip (such as rest, heat and cold therapy, weight loss, physical therapy, and occupational therapy) are not successful in reducing pain, hip injections may be utilized.
What causes hip pain?
The hip joint corresponds to where the femur, or thigh bone, meets the pelvis. It is a sizable ball and socket joint that can support a great deal of weight. As a result, the joint is exposed to everyday wear and tear that increases the risk of osteoarthritis (OA).
Hip injections are recommended for patients who suffer from chronic inflammation and/or pain due to osteoarthritis, disease, or injury of the hip. Hip injections are also recommended to patients who are not candidates for hip surgery or want to avoid hip surgery.
How hip injections work
The medication injected into the hip joint is a mixture of a local anesthetic, like lidocaine, and an intermediate-to-long-term acting corticosteroid, like triamcinolone or dexamethasone. Corticosteroids are potent inhibitors of inflammation and can decrease or relieve the pain of hip osteoarthritis.
The procedure is short and fluoroscopy is used to produce real-time images of joints. Prior to the procedure, patients lie face-down on an X-ray table, and the skin over the hip area is disinfected. During the procedure, sedatives will be administered for relaxation. Once the injection site has been prepared, a mixture of an anesthetic will be injected in the direction of the hip joint.
Are there risks?
Hip injections should not be given any more than three times in a 12-month period. Not adhering to these guidelines could undermine the bones and tendons in the hip joint, causing further injury. Competent physician oversight with the formulation of a long-term treatment plan is key in having positive outcomes in the case of hip osteoarthritis and injections.