Osteonecrosis (the lack of bone tissue due to lack of blood supply) and bone collapse is much greater in patients with osteoarthritis who receive steroid or anesthetic injections in their hip rather than their shoulder, according to new research presented at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America.
Osteoarthritis is a common form of arthritis that causes joint pain and stiffness. Steroid or anesthetic injections are often given to patients with osteoarthritis to control inflammation in order to ease join pain. The injections are administered directly into the joint that is in pain, according to the Arthritis Foundation.
The study involved 142 people aged 19 to 92 years, divided into three groups. One group was given hip injections and received X-rays of the hip at the time of the injection and again at a follow up visit between three and nine months later. These individuals were compared to two control groups – one that received no hip injections and the other who received injections in the shoulders. All X-rays were independently reviewed by two radiologists.
The study showed that the participants who received injections in the hip were more likely to develop osterarthritis compared to those in the two control groups. But the findings were not deemed statistically significant.
Dr. Connie Y. Change with Harvard Medical school, who led the study, said that more research was needed to back up the results of her study. Another reason for the outcome may be that those who experience severe hip pain may be more prone to faster changes of bone loss or damage compared to those individuals who were in the control group.
“We don’t want to deter patients from getting an injection,” Dr. Change said. “These results are enough to warrant an investigation, but not enough to cancel a procedure.”