Injections and infiltrations
Injections and infiltrations are primarily suited to people with osteoarthritis. They can be proposed to treat acute pain as well as the early stages of osteoarthritis.
What is the difference between an injection and an infiltration ?
An injection, called viscosupplementation, is a hyaluronic acid injection and is generally used to treat cartilage damage or the onset of osteoarthritis.
It consists in injecting hyaluronic acid to help recover joint flexibility, decrease rubbing and thus reduce pain.
The cartilage in healthy joints is covered with a liquid called synovial fluid. This liquid, of which Hyaluronic acid is a natural constituent, naturally lubricates the joint. With aging the quantity of liquid decreases thus reducing the joint’s shock absorbency.
Injected directly into the joint affected by osteoarthritis, viscosupplementation improves mobility and reduces pain.
Infiltrations involve injecting corticosteroids, powerful cortisone-based anti-inflammatories, to relieve joint pain caused primarily by osteoarthritis. Corticosteroid injections may also be proposed to relieve pain caused by tendinitis. In this case, they help optimize rehabilitation sessions by reducing the pain felt by the patient.
What is osteoarthritis ?
Osteoarthritis is a disorder of the cartilage covering the two ends of the bones in a joint. It can be primary or secondary to a trauma, joint overuse, or deformity and is characterized by the deterioration of the cartilage. It worsens with age resulting in greater resistance and rubbing, hence the production of synovial fluid by the joint to help lubricate it. The quality of this fluid is, however, insufficient to ensure good lubrication.
Hyaluronic acid injections offset the lack of synovial fluid so the latter can fulfill its natural role of lubricant.
What precautions are necessary before an infiltration or injection ?
It is important to inform the physician of any fever, infection or skin damage (wound in particular), if you have taken aspirin and/or anti-coagulants in the days before the examination or have an allergy to iodine. This treatment is not recommended for pregnant women.
What happens afterwards ?
It is essential to rest the joint the day of the injection or infiltration and the day after.
Avoid repetitive movements at work, using excessive force as well as sports for 48 hours. A gentle physical activity such as recreational cycling is recommended between each injection. The effects will be observed within a few days or weeks. Medical leave may be necessary according to the patient’s profession.