Joint injections (with steroid) or aspirations (taking fluid out of a joint) are performed in an office or hospital setting, often with a cold spray or other local anesthesia. After the skin surface is thoroughly cleaned, the joint is entered with a needle attached to a syringe. At this point, either joint fluid can be obtained (aspirated) and used for appropriate laboratory testing or medications can be injected into the joint space. This technique also applies to injections into a bursa or tendon sheath to treat bursitis and tendonitis, respectively.
Commonly injected joints include the knee, shoulder, Hips, ankle, elbow, wrist, base of the thumb and small joints of the hands and feet.