What is a steroid injection in the hip?

Pain and inflammation in the hip joint(s) are the main reason that doctors prescribe steroid injections. A steroid injection contains two main ingredients. The first is a steroid (cortisone) that helps reduce inflammation. The second is a numbing agent or anesthetic that reduces pain.

Concerns about steroid injections in the hip

There are some concerns that cortisone can cause the cartilage in your hip joints to break down over time. For this reason, your doctor may limit the number of steroid injections you can get. You should spread out the injections at least every six weeks and have them no more than three to four times per year, according to the Mayo Clinic.
In addition to relieving pain, steroid injections are sometimes used to diagnose pain. If the injection fails to provide relief, then your doctor knows that the source of pain is from somewhere other than your hip.

What to expect from a steroid injection

Your doctor performs a steroid injection in the office as an outpatient procedure. The doctor uses a specialized type of X-ray, known as a fluoroscope, to project an image of the inside of your hip onto a screen. This allows them to see where to place the needle.

You lie on an exam table in a position that lets your doctor access your hip joint. The doctor cleans the skin and applies a local anesthetic to numb the area. They guide the needle into your hip joint while watching on the screen. They then inject a dye to make it easier to see where to inject the steroids.

After injecting the medication, you stay in place for 10 minutes. You'll then move your hip to let the doctor know if you still feel pain. You will likely experience some soreness at first as the numbing agent wears off. Once the steroids take effect, you'll notice the pain wears off. This can take two to seven days, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

How long a steroid lasts varies from person to person. You can expect it to provide relief for weeks or months.

Common conditions requiring a steroid injection

Hip pain and inflammation are the general symptoms doctors treat with steroid injections. There are several conditions that can cause hip pain. These include:

  • Bursitis
  • Arthritis
  • Labral tear
  • Injury or trauma to hip
  • Overuse or misuse of hip joint

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