Types of Injections
for Arthritis Pain

Types of Injections
for Arthritis Pain

There are two types of injections that are given for arthritis pain; corticosteroid injections and hyaluronate injections (also called viscosupplementation).


Corticosteroid Injections

Steroids decrease inflammation (heat, redness, and swelling), which can alleviate arthritic pain in the affected area. These injections are given for moderate to severe pain, most often under the guidance of x-ray.

Side Effects
There are very few side effects with steroid injections. The joint may initially feel more painful after. Icing and activity will help relieve this. Complications of steroid injections, such as infections, are rare. Infrequently, injections can be associated with adverse changes in the cartilage or bone.

Improvement in symptoms varies based on the severity of the arthritis. Most physicians only recommend injections every 3-4 months, as there is a concern that multiple injections may increase damage in the joint. Injections should not be taken within three months of joint replacement surgery.

Hyaluronic Acid Injections
(examples: Synvisc®, Durolane®)

Joint fluid contains hyaluronic acid, which lubricates and cushions the joint. These injections provide lubrication for the arthritic joint. Synthetic hyaluronate is a gel-like fluid that is injected into the joint. Sometimes the injection is only administered once; other times, there is a series of injections.

Side Effects
Injections do not have an immediate effect. You may experience pain, warmth and slight swelling after the injection. Icing and activity will help relieve this. Complications, such as infections, are rare.

Hyaluronic acid injections are most effective for patients with early (mild to moderate) osteoarthritis. There is a cost for these injections which may be covered under private insurance plans.

Injection Follow-Up

Regardless of the type of injection that you receive, your physician/surgeon will want to know how effective they are in managing your pain. Write down when the injection started to work and for how long it lasted.

Need more information about Arthritis?

Please refer to the Arthritis Society website or the Alberta Rheumatology website for further information on medications used to treat arthritis.

Visit the Arthritis
Society’s Website
Visit Alberta
Rheumatology’s Website
Learn about
Medication for Arthritis