Joint Injections: Are They a Good Option For You?

Running Through The Pain

Joint issues are a common problem many people suffer from. The pain, swelling, and discomfort you experience as a result can limit your ability to work or even engage in simple daily activities.  Uncovering the cause is the first step in your recovery. At Intermountain Medical Imaging, we can use joint injections to pinpoint the exact problem and to ensure you get the best possible treatment


Joints and the Human Body

There are more than 200 bones in the human body. Your joints help to hold them together, connecting one bone to another. Some joints, such as those within the skull, serve to keep the bones firmly in place. Others allow for limited flexibility, such as the joints located in the vertebrae of the spine. Joints within body parts such as the wrists, elbows, shoulders, hips, knees, and ankles are the most flexible and the most prevalent. In order to function properly, they rely on various types of soft tissues, which include:

  • Cartilage: This is a tough but flexible tissue that covers the bone at the joint;
  • Ligaments: These are strong connective tissues that surround the joint and help hold the bones in place;
  • Tendons: Located on either side of the joint, these connect bones to muscles;
  • Bursae: These are fluid-filled sacs that help to cushion the friction in the joint during movement.

Age, overuse, accidental injuries and certain types of health conditions can cause these soft tissues to break down. This results in limited movement in the joints. It also results in severe pain for the patient, due to the lack of cushioning and the friction of bones rubbing together.


How Joint Injections Can Help

The main challenge in alleviating the pain and stiffness of joint-related issues is identifying the exact location of the problem and why it is happening. Standard imaging procedures, such as x-rays, generally are not enough. Even with advanced imaging tests, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computerized tomography (CT) scans, it can still prove difficult to pinpoint problems within the joints. In these cases, joint injections help to illuminate affected areas.

At Intermountain Medical Imaging, we perform a procedure called arthrography. Safe, simple, and relatively pain-free, it involves injecting a contrast dye as part of your imaging tests. By injecting the dye directly into the affected area, arthrography allows our radiologists to get a better view of the joint and its surrounding structures and soft tissues. As part of your MRI or CT scan, joint injections allow us to obtain clearer, more highly detailed images, which your medical provider can then use in recommending an appropriate course of treatment.

In some cases, this may include additional joint injections. Once the exact cause and location of your pain, swelling, and discomfort are identified, your doctor may be able to use corticosteroids and/or local anesthetics to aid in healing. Knowing the precise location to make a joint injection increases the odds that the procedure will work, resulting in less pain and greater mobility for patients.


Am I a Good Candidate for Joint Injections?

Joint injections are most frequently done in the shoulders, elbows, knees, and hips, but they can be useful in any areas in which joints are suspected of being the cause of discomfort. By alleviating swelling, joint injections improve flexibility, helping patients get more out of physical therapy and allowing them to return sooner to their normal activities.

In terms of diagnosing your condition, doctors routinely request that our radiologists at IMI perform joint injections as part of an imaging scan for the following reasons:

  • When there is swelling in various body parts that do not respond to anti-inflammatory medication or other treatments;
  • When a patient experiences pain in the wrists, elbows, hips, knees, or other areas and the doctor wants to determine if problems with the joints are responsible;
  • When your doctor has already injected corticosteroids or local anesthetics but gotten no results and needs more guided imagery.


Contact Intermountain Medical Imaging Today

At Intermountain Medical Imaging, we have been a trusted provider of advanced imaging services in the Boise area for over 20 years. If you are struggling with joint pain, our team of experienced radiologists can help you get the relief you need. Joint pain can be eliminated. To discuss your options, visit with your healthcare provider and then have them contact our IMI offices online today.

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