Hip steroid injection is a common procedure done to provide relief for a painful hip joint. This procedure is done by a radiologist who uses imaging guidance to make sure the steroid is injected into your hip joint. The steroid is often mixed with an anesthetic. Although there may a be a flare in the first couple of days, many patients feel relief shortly after the procedure.
After you check in to the radiology department and change into a gown, a technologist will take you to the radiology suite where the live x ray machine is located that will help the radiologist with the procedure. After taking a brief history you will be positioned laying down on the procedure table. The radiologist will explain the procedure to you including any potential complications. These are rare but can include allergies, bleeding, infection and pain after the procedure.
The radiologist will mark the site of the injection on your hip. He will clean the area and drape it. He will numb the area with an anesthetic. This will be around the skin and deep to it. The procedure itself should be painless and you should only feel pressure. The radiologist will then advance a thin needle into your hip joint using the live x ray machine for guidance.
Once the radiologist reaches the joint, a small amount of contrast will be injected to make sure the needle is in the joint. Once this is confirmed, then the mixture containing the steroid and anesthetic is injected. The total amount injected is small, often 5-10 cc. Sometime patients complain of pain or fullness during the injection but this is short lived.
Many patients feel immediate relief or decrease of their pain. Some others may initially get worse only to get better days later. There are some patients who don’t experience much relief. This may be because the pain you are feeling is not coming from the hip. Even if this is the case, this will help your doctor with further testing and treatment.
After the procedure, the area will be cleaned and bandaged. You may feel some soreness or numbness but this will go away within a day. Take it easy with your hip that day and resume normal activities the next day. If the shot helps, then you may come back for another, but the often you need definitive treatment for the underlying condition. In many cases this involves a hip replacement if you have bad arthritis.
I rarely see complications or problems with this procedure. If you experience a fever, warmth or redness in the hip, then you should call your doctor and go to the emergency room. This may mean you have an infected hip which requires emergency treatment. Allergies are extremely rare in my experience and are usually not severe. Bleeding is minor and can be stopped with pressure. Numbness of the groin or thigh will often go away after a day. A hip steroid injection may provide relief and buy you some time before you get definitive treatment for your condition.