The hip joint is the largest ball and socket joint in the body and it carries the weight of the upper body. It is stabilized by muscles, ligaments, and tendons. Constant wear and tear of this joint over time can cause osteoarthritis of the joint. Symptoms of osteoarthritis include joint pain, decreased range of motion, joint stiffness, swelling, and a grating sound with movement also known as crepitus. Initially, hip pain should be treated with conservative care including rest, ice, heat, physical therapy, and weight loss. If the pain continues, interventional treatment is recommended.
If the pain is located within the hip joint itself, an intra-articular hip injection is indicated. The injection is comprised of both a local anesthetic and a steroid medication and can be used for both diagnostic and therapeutic purposes. The anesthetic medication alleviates nerve pain rapidly while the steroid medicine reduces inflammation and can provide long lasting relief. The steroid medication can take 2-3 days up to a week to fully work. Contrast dye is used to ensure the medication is correctly administered into the joint space.
If the pain is located on the side of the hip and is tender to the touch or you find it difficult to sleep on your side, a greater trochanteric bursa steroid injection is indicated. Similar to the intra-articular hip injection, it is comprised of a local anesthetic and steroid but the medication is administered to the bursa. The bursa is a small cushion of connective tissue on the outside of the hip.
The side effects are similar to that of all procedures and include: bleeding, infection, and nerve damage. The chance of this happening is very rare as the doctor uses a c-arm fluoroscope machine to guide him and contrast dye to ensure he is in the correct location.
Reduce procedural discomfort by applying ice for 15-20 minutes every 2-3 hours to reduce injection site swelling and irritation. NSAIDs and/or Tylenol are also recommended.