Hip pain makes sitting, standing, walking, and sleeping difficult, so it’s tough to ignore. If over-the-counter pain medications and topical analgesics aren’t helping, joint injections may provide the relief you’ve long awaited.
However, before you can be sure you’re a good candidate for hip joint injections, you need a professional diagnosis, and that’s where we come in. Dr. Bryan King and the friendly team at Tuscaloosa Orthopedic & Joint Institute specialize in getting to the bottom of hip pain and eliminating it, so you can get back to your life.
Often, relief is just a shot away, but hip joint injections aren’t for everybody. Here’s a look at what hip joint injections can and can’t do.
A hip injection is exactly what it sounds like — a shot of medication delivered directly into the center of your joint. By bypassing your digestive system, an injection works more quickly and efficiently than oral medication can and targets the point of pain.
Three main types of joint injections can bring relief to acute and chronic hip pain.
Most joint pain stems from uncontrolled inflammation, so the most common type of hip joint injection aims to reduce swelling. The main ingredient is a corticosteroid that tackles inflammation and the pain it causes, but it takes a few days to kick in.
So, the injection also includes a local anesthetic, lidocaine, to numb your pain instantly from the inside out.
For some people, corticosteroid injections work quickly and last for several months, but for others, they don’t work at all. Either way, Dr. King limits the number of corticosteroid injections to no more than three.
Your hip joint contains synovial fluid, a gel-like substance that lubricates the joint and absorbs shock. As you age, your body produces less hyaluronic acid, which is the primary component of the synovial fluid. Over time, the fluid becomes thinner and can’t perform its job like it used to.
Hyaluronic acid hip joint injections, also called viscosupplementation, restore your synovial fluid’s natural viscosity, relieving painful rubbing.
If the soft tissues in your hip joint are damaged, you may be a good candidate for platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections. This treatment uses components from your own blood to promote healing.
Dr. King draws a small blood sample from your arm, processes it in a high-speed centrifuge to separate the individual components, then injects the concentrated platelet-rich serum directly into your joint using a live X-ray to guide him.
The platelets release growth factors that immediately get to work repairing the damage. Although full results may take a few weeks, studies show that most patients experience significant improvement, accelerated healing time, and a less painful recovery.
Hip joint injections won’t help if you have a hip fracture or need a hip replacement, and they also aren’t recommended as the first-line treatment. However, if you have acute or chronic hip pain that hasn’t responded to more conservative measures and doesn’t require surgery, you may be a good candidate for hip joint injections.
Osteoarthritis is the most common condition that warrants hip joint injections. As the cartilage in your joint wears thin and leaves bones to rub against one another, inflammation and pain ensue. Hip joint injections can reduce inflammation and replace lost fluid to help your joints glide more smoothly and painlessly.
Torn ligaments in your hip take time to heal, and PRP injections can speed up the process. Talk to Dr. King about PRP injections if your hip injury keeps you from life’s daily activities.
The first step in determining whether hip injections are right for you is to get an accurate diagnosis. Call or click to schedule a consultation with Dr. King if you live in the Tuscaloosa or Northport areas of Alabama. Pain relief may be just a shot away.