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Joint Injections

Injury to the joints can cause pain in the legs, lower back, groin, buttocks, knees, shoulders and hips. Pain may occur from injury, simple wear and tear or an inflammatory disease, such as rheumatoid arthritis.

A joint is where the ends of two bones meet. They allow movement from side to side, up and down, and in rotation. A special lining covering the ends of bones, called cartilage, stops the bones from rubbing together and allows easy, smooth movement. If cartilage becomes worn down, the bones rub together during movement, causing significant pain.

By injecting a local anesthetic and steroid into the injured joint, we aim to reduce joint pain and inflammation.

The UCSF Pain Management Center offers the following types of joint injections:

  • Shoulder joint injection
  • Knee joint injection
  • Hip joint injection


During a joint injection, you will lie on your stomach on an X-ray table. The skin over the targeted joint is cleaned with antiseptic solution and then injected with local anesthetic to numb the area. Using X-ray guidance, the doctor will insert a needle into the targeted joint and inject a combination of anesthetic and steroids.

The procedure takes approximately 10 to 20 minutes.


You may experience minor soreness around the targeted area for a few days after the procedure. You can treat this with ice and over-the-counter pain medications.

Pain relief will depend on your condition. In some cases, if your pain is significantly improved by the injection, your doctor may recommend further injections. If not, other types of pain treatments may be recommended.


Reviewed by health care specialists at UCSF Medical Center.

Related Information

UCSF Clinics & Centers

Pain Management Center
2255 Post St.
San Francisco, CA 94143-1654
Phone: (415) 885-PAIN (7246)
New Patients: (415) 885-3552
Current Patients: (415) 885-7533
Fax: (415) 885-3883

Our Experts

Mario De Pinto
Dr. Mario De Pinto,
anesthesiologist and pain management specialist
Zhonghui Guan
Dr. Zhonghui Guan,
anesthesiologist and pain management specialist
Melanie M. Henry
Dr. Melanie M. Henry,
anesthesiologist and pain management specialist
David J. Lee
Dr. David J. Lee,
anesthesiologist and pain medicine specialist
George Pasvankas
Dr. George Pasvankas,
anesthesiologist and pain management specialist
Xiaobing Yu
Dr. Xiaobing Yu,
anesthesiologist and pain management specialist
Thoha Pham
Dr. Thoha Pham,
anesthesiologist and pain management specialist