Osteoarthritis (OA) is one of the most common forms of arthritis; joint pain and stiffness impacting ones function. When conservative measures don't provide adequate relief, corticosteroid injections directly into the aching joint may be effective. Corticosteroids are medications that mimic the effects of the hormone- cortisol, which is produced naturally in the body, by the adrenal glands. Corticosteroids work to decrease inflammation. The goal of a corticosteroid injection into a painful arthritic joint is to reduce the irritation of bone interacting with bone which is what happens when the smooth, cartilage surface wears away.
Another injection option for certain joints affected by OA that have failed conservative therapy is hyaluronic acid. In a healthy joint, a thick substance called synovial fluid provides lubrication and acts as a shock absorber. In joints with OA a critical substance in the synovial fluid known as hyaluronic acid breaks down. Loss of hyaluronic acid appears to contribute to joint pain and stiffness.