We are pleased to offer a steroid joint injection service at Whitnash Medical Centre.
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.
Steroid injections are often used in conjunction with local anaesthetic. There are several different formulations of both steroid and anaesthetic which may be used.
Like all medication, an individual’s response to a steroid injection cannot be predicted. Most patients experience an improvement in their symptoms lasting a few weeks. For some the beneficial effect will persist for several months. Some patients unfortunately gain little or no benefit.
This information sheet below is intended to supplement the advice you will be given by your doctor with regard to the role of steroid injections in your particular circumstances.
How do steroid injection work?
Steroids are a man-made version of hormones normally produced by the adrenal glands, two small glands found above the kidneys.
When injected into a joint or muscle, steroids reduce redness and swelling (inflammation) in the nearby area. This can help relieve pain and stiffness.
Which Joints are injected at WMC?
- Outer Hip (Tronchanter Bursitis)
- Trigger Finger
- Carpal Tunnel
Please note this list will expand over time as our service develops
What are the risks?
The risk of a complication arising from a steroid injection is low and serious complications are extremely rare. However occasionally the following may occur and may require medical attention;
- Some patients experience deterioration in their symptoms for about 48 hours after the injection. Rest and simple pain killers usually help.
- Infection may be introduced into the joint or soft tissues as a result of an injection. This is extremely rare but can have very serious consequences if not identified and treated promptly. If you experience progressive warmth, swelling or worsening symptoms at the injection site particularly in association with fever, seek urgent medical attention.
- Allergic reaction to the steroid or local anaesthetic. Any medication has the potential to precipitate an allergic reaction even in someone who has previously encountered the same medication without problem. This is most likely to occur within 20 minutes of the injection. You should therefore remain in the department for this time. Symptoms of severe allergy include; wheeze or difficulty breathing, swelling of the face, throat or tongue, rash or itching, stomach cramps and vomiting, or feeling very unwell. Call for immediate help if necessary.
- Facial flushing (warmth and redness) may occur. This will usually resolve after 24-72 hours and predominantly affects women. It is not an allergy and does not preclude future injections.
- Thinning of the skin and soft tissues at the site of the injection may occur resulting in a dimple. Occasionally the formation of a small lump or loss of a small area of skin colour may also occur.
- Tendons may weaken when in contact with steroid resulting in rupture. This effect is thought to be very rare and may primarily affect damaged tendons already predisposed to rupture.
- The steroid may occasionally cause irregular vaginal bleeding for a few weeks.
- Joint and soft tissue steroid injections can cause a rise in blood sugar for a few days in diabetic patients. The effect however is usually negligible and would not normally necessitate a change in treatment. In certain circumstances additional monitoring may be recommended.
- Some individuals are susceptible to fainting during medical procedures. Faints result from a sudden short term fall in blood pressure. Please inform the doctor or physiotherapist in advance if you feel this may be likely so that precautions can be taken.
- Bleeding or bruising. This is more likely if you are taking certain medications for example aspirin or warfarin, and usually settles with simple pressure. If you experience severe swelling or bruising after the injection please seek prompt medical attention.