Steroid injections are used as a potent anti-inflammatory that directly targets inflammation, i.e. within the knee joint. Steroids tend to act over a period of 8 to 12 weeks and can significantly and rapidly reduce pain and inflammation, features seen in many musculoskeletal conditions. Steroid injections will often form a first line treatment option for many of the conditions treated at The Joint Injection Clinic and have been used successfully for many years. Steroid injections are used to treat knee and hip arthritis, tendon problems such as de Quervain’s Tenosynovitis, Frozen Shoulder and Bursitis.
Steroid injections are generally used with local anaesthetic and can act to reduce inflammation rapidly within several days. The steroid injections do have some side-effects.
Steroid injections can cause an early steroid flare, where pain and inflammation becomes temporarily worse for the first 3 to 5 days following the injection before settling. Steroids can also cause localised whitening of the skin when used superficially, for example with hand and wrist injections. This skin lightening can be more of an issue for patients with a darker skin tone but tends to fade over time.
Steroids can also have an impact on diabetic control in patients who are taking insulin, temporarily increasing blood sugar levels. If you use insulin to treat diabetes then it is important to closely monitor blood sugar levels for a week following the procedure.
Following a steroid injection, patients are advised to take relative rest for 3-5 days, ie. Avoid running/excessive walking following a knee joint injection but can undertake normal daily activities otherwise.
Patients are advised to look out for any signs of infection, specifically looking for redness, warmth, pain, swelling and a fever. This tends to occur 3-5 days after the procedure.
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