Arthrocentesis – Also called joint fluid aspiration, arthrocentesis is removal of joint fluid through a hollow needle inserted into the joint space of the knee. Although the purpose of removing joint fluid from the knee is usually so that it can be tested in the lab, removing excess fluid can also quickly ease pain and swelling. Often after withdrawing fluid, doctors use the same puncture site where the fluid was removed to inject a corticosteroid preparation and/or anesthetic into the knee joint to further relieve pain and inflammation.
Pain after a corticosteroid injection is not the norm, but it’s not abnormal either. I can’t speak to your situation, but I can say that occasionally patients will have what’s called “post injection flare” where the pain is worse for 2-3 days after the injection. I would tell patients to put ice on the area and as long as it’s not red, swollen or with discharge at the injection site, sit on it for a couple days to see if it resolves. If it’s not any better after 2-3 days, then come into the office. And just so you know, it does NOT mean the injection did or did not work correctly, and it does not matter which technique was used to get the steroid into the knee joint.
Epidural steroid injections are most commonly used in situations of radicular pain, which is a radiating pain that is transmitted away from the spine by an irritated spinal nerve. Irritation of a spinal nerve in the low back ( lumbar radiculopathy ), such as from lumbar spinal stenosis , cervical spinal stenosis, herniated disc , and foraminal encroachment, causes back pain that goes down the leg. Epidural injection is also used as a minimally invasive procedure to treat nerve compression in the neck (cervical spine), referred to as cervical radiculopathy , which causes pain.