Steroid joint injections Health Information
The most common side effect is intense pain and swelling in the joint where the injection was given. If you have diabetes and monitor your own blood sugar, you will need to do this more often. Hydrocortisone injections can affect your blood sugar control. Hydrocortisone injections can make some health problems worse so it’s important that your doctor monitors you.
- Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, affecting over eight million people in the UK.
- You can have injections every three months if you need them.
- Only the lowest effective dose should be given, and for the shortest possible time.
For some the beneficial effect will persist for several months. Steroid injections are commonly used for the treatment of joint and soft tissue disorders. Steroids have been shown to be helpful for easing pain and reducing high levels of inflammation. In this technique and very fine needle is used to install a small drop at multiple sites with in an area so as to spread the dose of medication evenly and to reduce the chance of side effects.
Aftercare following steroid joint injections
It’s important to have an open discussion with your doctor after you’ve been prescribed to make sure you’re on the right dose and getting the proper help that you need. You should let the health professional doing your injection know if any of the following affect you. If you have signs of steroid crash that aren’t improving, such as lack of sex drive or difficulty getting an erection, get some medical advice. Other possible side effects include facial flushing, temporary changes in menstruation and mood.
- Injections can occasionally cause some thinning or changes in the colour of the skin at the injection site, particularly with the stronger ones.
- There are many medicines that can affect the way hydrocortisone injections work.
- There has been some concern that exposure to high levels of glucocorticoids in the womb might have harmful long-term effects on brain development.
- You can eat and drink normally before and after a hydrocortisone injection.
Your doctor or healthcare professional will discuss with you what to expect from having a steroid joint injection. You’ll need to give your consent before having the injection, so it’s important to make sure you tabletopsport feel fully informed. Steroid joint injections can reduce inflammation and ease pain in your joints. You might have a steroid injection if you have a painful or swollen knee, hip, shoulder, elbow, hand or wrist.
Uses of steroid joint injections
If you find the injection helpful, and other treatments unsuitable, the injection may be repeated. However, injections are most often used to provide a window of opportunity to engage in exercise and rehabilitation or whilst finding a more suitable program of treatment. Once your pain is better controlled, the need for injection should be reduced. Regular users may find that they start having trouble sleeping.
Treatment with more than one injection
It usually takes several days for the effect of the steroid to fully begin to work. Steroid injections are often used in conjunction with local anaesthetic. There are several different formulations of both steroid and anaesthetic which may be used.
A study comparing 40 and 80 mg of methylprednisolone has just been completed in Sweden (Atroshi 2013) and is probably one of the most important steroid trials to date. My thoughts on these results are set out in full in the page of this site dealing with important trial evidence. The results do not suggest that there is a dramatic benefit in using a higher dose, at least not in an initial injection.
After this time, it’s important to continue with any exercises given to you by your health professional. You may want to arrange transport home after the injection, especially if you’re going to have a local anaesthetic, because numbness from the anaesthetic can make it difficult to drive. You may need an ultrasound scan to find where the inflammation is, so the steroid can be injected into a precise spot and have maximum benefit.
There are many medicines that can affect the way hydrocortisone injections work. Your doctor will only prescribe hydrocortisone injections for you while you’re pregnant or breastfeeding if the benefits of the medicine outweigh the chances of it being harmful. In rare cases, if your child or teenager has hydrocortisone injections over many months or years, it can slow down their normal growth. Some of these side effects, such as mood changes, can happen after a few days.
With hydrocortisone injections, the medicine is placed directly into the painful or swollen joint. Steroid injections are different from the anabolic steroids used illegally by some people to increase their muscle mass. When injected into the blood, they can reduce inflammation throughout the body, as well as reduce the activity of the immune system, the body’s natural defence against illness and infection.
Please ask your doctor for more information about immunisations. Steroids affect your child’s immune system, so they shouldn’t have any ‘live’ vaccines if they’re receiving a high dose of injected or oral steroids. But it’s important they’re up to date with other vaccines beforehand to avoid catching one of the diseases that vaccination prevents. Unfortunately, we are not able to offer steroid injections to patients who are pregnant.