Steroidal Joint Injections

Injection of corticosteroid to suppress inflammation and relieve pain, particularly effective for inflammatory arthritis conditions.

The basics

Joint injections are a minimally invasive procedure used to provide medium to long term pain relief for joint pain. Steroid injections are a common type of joint injection used to treat pain and inflammation associated with osteoarthritis or inflammatory arthritis conditions. These conditions can cause cartilage and lubricating joint fluid to break down, leading to increased friction and joint pain. Joint injections allow medication to be directly inserted into the affected joint(s) to produce a targeted effect, providing pain relief while allowing for physiotherapy and lifestyle changes necessary for long-term improvement.

Who's it for?

Joint injections, including steroid injections, are for people experiencing pain and inflammation associated with osteoarthritis or inflammatory arthritis conditions. The injections allow medication to be delivered directly into the affected joint(s), providing targeted pain relief. Joint injections are not recommended for people who have infections or bleeding disorders.

How it works?

Medical imaging, such as an ultrasound or CT, is used to place the needle into the joint cavity. Corticosteroid, combined with a local anaesthetic, is then administered into the joint. The needle is removed, and the procedure is complete.

Therapies & treatments

We use a long-acting steroid called Triamcinolone in joint injections. The steroid takes effect after 24 hours, and the beneficial effects slowly increase over the next four weeks. The use of a steroid within the joint can provide pain relief for six weeks to six months, depending on your condition. After the injection, it is best to avoid strenuous activities for 48 hours. However, you can resume your normal day-to-day activities immediately.

Risks & considerations

Common side effects include local tenderness, bruising, or swelling over the needle site. Steroids have immunosuppressant effects, which may increase susceptibility to infection. For this reason, the procedure will not be performed if you have any form of infection. As a rule, no more than three treatments should be performed in a 12-month period. More frequent treatments may increase the risk of weakened tissue and may possibly accelerate arthritis. Rarely, side effects associated with corticosteroid use include hypertension, oedema, hyperglycaemia, and altered mental state. Anaphylactic or hypersensitivity reactions are rare but possible with steroid injections.

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