What is a steroid Injection?
Steroid injections have been used for many years as a quick and effective treatment for soft tissue conditions, joint pain and inflammation throughout the body. They are introduced to the dysfunctional or painful area/joint via an injection and work by reducing inflammation.
What are they recommended for?
Steroid injections are often recommended for people with painful conditions such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, bursitis and tendinitis. The injections are used to reduced inflammation and can also reduce joint swelling and pain which will aid mobility and function of the joint and surrounding soft tissues.
What will be injected?
We will inject the affected joint or soft tissue with a small volume of steroid, this should help reduced inflammation locally. Sometimes this will be alongside a local anaesthetic that acts as a painkiller and may provide immediate temporary pain relief.
How quickly does it take to feel a reduction in symptoms?
Local anaesthetics can reduce your pain within a few minutes of the injection. The steroid affect will take slightly longer to occur, usually 1-2 days to a week. Within this time, you can continue to manage your pain through gentle movement, analgesia, ice or heat packs. It is advised that you take a few days of relative rest from vigorous or excessive exercise/stress of the joint/area affected after the injection.
How long do the affects last?
Steroid injections usually last for up to 3 months, sometimes longer however every patient is different. Steroid injections can promote an anti-inflammatory response which will help to reduce pain and swelling allowing you to focus on your rehabilitation exercises.
How do I have a steroid injection?
A clinical specialist will complete a full assessment to conclude whether an injection is the appropriate treatment for your symptoms. As the patient you will be advised of the risk factors and be provided the appropriate advice to make an informed decision.
Most injections are quick and easy to perform within clinic and are utilised alongside an individually tailored client assessment and rehabilitation programme to enable the most effective recovery.
Risks and Side Effects of steroid injections
Most people have steroid injections without any side effects. It is normal to experience slight discomfort and pressure during the time of the injection.
Post injection pain within the first 24 hours can occasionally occur. This usually settles by itself within a few days, however taking painkillers such as paracetamol may help. There is a risk of infection at the site of the injection or in the joint. With steroid injections there is a small risk of thinning or colour changes locally in the skin at the injection site.
The steroid dose is very low therefore normal side effects of steroid tablets are very rare. However, it is important not to overuse injections and it is advised not to have more than 3 per year.