If you have been struggling with joint pain, either from arthritis or an injury, your orthopaedic consultant may recommend a steroid injection to help alleviate the pain. Most joint injections use a medicine called corticosteroid (cortisone) which reduces inflammation to allow your joint to move more easily.
Steroid joint injections reduce inflammation, which is the cause of swelling and pain. Different steroids may take longer to start working than others, but if you have inflammation in your joint that is causing your symptoms, you should see an improvement. Your consultant will talk you through which is the best steroid medicine for you.
Steroid joint injections won’t cure the underlying problem or condition affecting your joint, but they may ease your symptoms. They are often used alongside other treatments, such as medication and physiotherapy. If you are undergoing physiotherapy treatment, steroid joint injections will allow you to cope better with this.
How Long will it Last?
Relief from steroid injections vary pendent on the patient, so it is difficult to give an exact timescale. However, they can last anything from a couple of weeks to a few months, sometimes longer.
Your orthopaedic consultant will provide you with details of what to expect from the procedure and how best to prepare yourself for it. A medical history will be taken to ensure any current medication you are taking will not interact with the steroid. You may require a blood test before your steroid injection if you are taking medication to thin the blood, such as Warfarin as your risk of bleeding into the joint will be higher. The blood test will determine how well your blood clots.
It is very important to inform your doctor of any health condition you have which affects the way your blood clots, such as haemophilia. As a shoulder injection can raise your blood sugar levels for several days, it is also important to inform your consultant if you have diabetes as you will likely need to adjust your medication.
During the Procedure
Your consultant will firstly position you comfortably to ensure the needle can be easily inserted.
The area around the site is cleaned to ensure it is sterile before administration, and an anaesthetic spray or cream may be applied to the injection site. You will most likely feel some pressure when the needle is inserted, but let your consultant know if you are feeling a lot of discomfort. The steroid is then released into the injection site and you should feel immediate relief from the pain.
Some people may experience a warm sensation in the chest after a steroid injection, along with some redness to the face due to the temporary rise in your blood sugar levels. If you feel unwell at all then let you consultant know as you may need to just lie down for a while until you feel well enough to continue with your daily routine.
Post Shoulder Injection Care
It is important to keep the area protected for 1 – 2 days following your injection. Your arm is likely to have a ‘heavy’ feeling, so apply ice to the injection site if you feel any pain, and ensure you do not use any form of heat pain relief. Abstain from having a bath, although showering is okay. If the area has not settled within 48 hours, or you are experiencing redness, swelling and increased pain, inform your doctor immediately as this could indicate an infection.
There is no set rule as to how many steroid injections a patient can be given, but administration no more than every 3-4 months is the recommended length between injections. If a steroid injection wears off quickly or does not relieve the problem, then it may be worthwhile repeating it soon after. However, continued use can potentially cause a weakening of the tendons and softening of the cartilage.
Steroid injections should only be used to treat inflammation and not used as a form of pain relief for other disorders. If you have any questions or concerns about receiving a steroid injection, raise these with your consultant in order to make an informed decision.
Steroid injections are available at One Ashford Hospital. We also offer a number of other procedures for shoulder and elbow conditions, including shoulder replacement surgery, SLAP repair and elbow release surgery. We can book you in to see a specialist Orthopaedic Shoulder Surgeon for an initial consultation, usually within 48 hours.
One Ashford Hospital is well placed to see patients from Ashford, Canterbury, Maidstone, Dover, Folkestone and all surrounding areas. Call us on 01233 423 000 to find out more.
You can use your private medical insurance or pay for your Shoulder Injections treatment. We offer competitive, fixed price packages as well as the ability to spread your cost with the option of 0% finance. If you are using your health insurance, please contact your insurer first for approval and let them know you’d like to be treated at One Hatfield Hospital.
Why One Hatfield
- Modern purpose-built hospital opened in December 2017
- Fast access to diagnostics including MRI, Xray and Ultrasound
- Private, spacious, en-suite rooms
- Specialist physiotherapy and nursing teams
- Little or no waiting time
- ‘Ultra clean air’ theatres
- Freshly prepared food
- Calm, dignified experience
Contact us and find out more
If you are based in and around Hertfordshire, St Albans, Stevenage, Watford, North London, Welwyn or Bedfordshire and would like to visit the One Hatfield Hospital please click here.
Mr Rajeev Sharma
Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon - Upper Limb Surgery (Shoulder, Elbow, Wrist and Hand)