Joints can often become arthritic or inflamed, causing localised or referred pain. A joint injection is used to provide temporary pain relief to a joint. A specialised Radiologist will inject a mixture of steroids (Cortisone), anaesthetics and anti-inflammatories into a joint through a needle.

This information sheet applies to joint injections of the Extremities (i.e. shoulder, elbow, wrist, hand, hip, knee, ankle, foot).

  1. Anticoagulation and blooding-thinning medications (e.g. Warfarin, Aspirin, Platelet Inhibitors, etc.) may need to be ceased. Please refer to our Anticoagulation Medication Information Sheet for details.
  2. You will need to bring any previous scans that are relevant to the procedure.

Upon arrival you will be asked to complete a medical history questionnaire and consent form. You will be asked to change into a gown and shown into the procedure room. Before commencing the procedure, the radiologist will explain the procedure and any associated risks involved to you. They will not perform the procedure without your consent.

Joint injections can be performed using a variety of image guidance modalities, depending on the area and location of the joint. These include CT, Ultrasound, MRI or Fluoroscopy (x-ray). The overall process of the biopsy will be the same, regardless of what image guidance modality is used. A trained radiographer or sonographer will be present to assist with the image guidance.

The procedure is performed using aseptic technique to reduce the chance of infection. This means that everything used during the procedure is sterile, including single use sterile gloves, syringes and needles.

Local anaesthetic may be used to numb the skin at the site of injection. This often stings for 15-20 seconds and subsides as the area becomes numb. The radiologist will then gradually advance the needle into the correct position using image guidance. When the radiologist is satisfied that the needle is in the correct position, they will inject the steroid and anaesthetic mixture.

Most joint injections take about 15-30 minutes.


You should be able to walk freely and leave the practice straight after the procedure.

You can recommence any blood-thinning medications the same day after the procedure, unless advised otherwise. We recommend that you see your doctor a week after the procedure to readjust your Warfarin dosage.

For your comfort it is recommended that you:

                    Take things easy for the next 48 hours

                    Resume your normal activity as limited by pain

                    You may apply ice to the affected area

                    You may continue with physiotherapy etc.

The injection may give you immediate relief of pain due to the local anaesthetic but this will only last for a few hours. You may notice that you have some weakness of your legs, which is due to the local anaesthetic that blocks the pain and action of the nerve. You may have a sore back for one or two days, but following this period the steroid should take effect and you may notice a decrease in your pain over the next two weeks.

The injection will not make you drowsy so you may drive a car or catch public transport, unless you have significant weakness in your legs.

The injection is often used to see if the site in question is the cause of your pain. If the injection has minimal effect then it may not be the exact origin of your pain.  It is important to note your response to the injection, and perhaps to keep a diary so that you can inform your doctor on your next visit.

The duration of pain relief from a joint injection is quite variable and depends partially on the severity of underlying disease. It is often possible to repeat the injection if symptoms recur, which can be discussed with your doctor or your treating Radiologist.

Some patients have reported the development of white discolouration around the injection site but this is uncommon. There have also been incidences of an increase in symptoms over the first few hours following the injection but this generally settles down. 

On rare occasions the injected area may become infected, so if you experience any of the following please contact your referring doctor as soon as possible:

                    Localised pain more than you normally have


                    Inflammation (redness)





9716 3600


 8042 3000


9911 6800

Five Dock

8705 8300


9598 0100


8228 9000

North Strathfield

8282 8100

North Sydney (Mater Imaging)

9955 4466
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