Some children with rheumatologic problems such as JIA require injections of steroid into the joint. It’s usually effective because it does three things at once: treats the inflammation, decreases the damage to the joint and provides pain relief.
The medical term for a joint injection is intra-articular injection. The procedure involves inserting a needle into the space between the bones in a joint to inject a long-acting steroid called Triamcinolone hexacetonide. Sometime excess fluid will be removed from the inflamed joint.
Your doctor will explain the risks of the joint injection before the procedure and ask you to sign a consent form as per other treatments. The side effects are explained in this information sheet and include a very remote risk of joint infection and possible later skin atrophy. Don’t hesitate to ask all your questions, it’s important you understand the treatment and feel comfortable with the procedure.
The injections can cause stinging to the joint and some children find this painful and uncomfortable. The younger a child is, the harder it is for them to manage without some sort of pain relief.
Depending on which joint or how many need to be injected, children receive the treatment in three ways.
Many parents ask how long takes before they see a response to the steroid injection. Many patients report that within a few days they are able to move the joint more freely and experience less pain.
The day following the procedure, we suggest that children not participate in strenuous exercise such as sport or dance training, but they are welcome to continue normal daily activities, attend school, and ‘play’ as if they feel up to it.
After 48 hours, if your child wants to return sport and feels comfortable, they are welcome to.
Anne Senner, PRN Clinical Nurse Consultant.