Steroid injection therapy

What is steroid injection therapy?

Steroid injections, also called corticosteroid injections, are anti-inflammatory medicines used to treat a range of conditions in many different areas of the body, including feet, ankles, hands, wrists, knees and hips. The effects can last for several months. 

Steroid injection therapy may be used as part of the diagnosis or therapeutic stages of your treatment. For diagnosis, an injection may be given to the affected area. If you experience pain relief after the injection, we can confirm the pain is coming from that location. For therapeutic treatment, the steroid injection will reduce inflammation in the affected area and will act as temporary pain relief. 

Common examples of steroids used include hydrocortisone, triamcinolone and methylprednisolone. 

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Ready to book now? Get in touch to discuss your needs and decide on the best course of treatment for you.

Common uses for steroid injections

Steroid injections are used to treat a variety of conditions including: 

  • Tendons and bursae – these injections can treat inflammation of a tendon or bursitis, a condition where involving inflammation of bursa, closed, fluid-filled sac that works as a cushion and gliding surface to reduce friction between tissues of the body. This condition can affect tendons near large joins such as in the shoulders, elbows, hips, and knees 
  • Arthritis – If you have arthritis, this type of treatment can be used to calm inflammation in the affected area. It is only used when just a few joints are affected. Usually, no more than 3 joints are injected at a time 
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome – your consultant may recommend steroid injection therapy into your carpal tunnel to help relieve your pain 
  • Musculoskeletal injections – often used to treat sports injuries, a steroid injection should help to reduce pain and inflammation in the area causing you discomfort. This relief can often make physical therapy more comfortable and therefore more effective. These injections are normally carried out using an ultrasound to help guide the injection to the exact point required.  
  • Epidural space (back pain, sciatica and neck pain) – epidural injections target the area around the spinal cord where nerve “roots” exit and extend to other parts of the body. 

What happens during a steroid injection?

Steroid injections are usually given by a specialist doctor in a hospital or clinic. 

They can be given in several different ways, including: 

  • Into a joint (an intra-articular injection) 
  • Into a muscle (an intramuscular injection) 
  • Into the spine (an epidural injection) 
  • Into the blood (an intravenous injection) 

Typically, your injection will also contain local anaesthetic to provide instant pain relief which will relieve discomfort for a few hours after the treatment. 

The injections normally take a few days to start working, although some work in a few hours. The effect usually wears off after a few months. 

How do steroid injections work?

Steroids, anti-inflammatory medicines, are manmade versions of hormones normally produced by your adrenal glands (two small glands above the kidneys). 

When injected into your joint or muscle, steroids reduce swelling in the area. This can help relieve pain and stiffness. 

Preparing for your steroid injection

Your consultant will explain how to prepare for your procedure. You don’t usually need to make any special preparations other than wearing comfortable clothes with easy access to the area you’re having treated.  

You should let your doctor know in advance about any medication you are taking. For example, if you take blood thinners, you may be at higher risk of complications. Similarly, it’s also important to let your doctor know if you have a health condition that affects the way your blood clots, such as haemophilia. 

It’s also important to let your doctor know if you have diabetes. Steroid injections may raise your blood sugar for a short period after your treatment, so you may need to monitor this closely. 

After your injection, it’s recommended that you get a lift home. If you’ve had a local anaesthetic, you may be a little numb, so it may be challenging to drive. You will need to rest the affected area for a day or two after the treatment. 

FAQs

You may be able to have a hydrocortisone injection into the same joint up to 4 times in a year. The number of injections you need depends on the area being treated and how strong the dose is. 

Most adults and children, including babies, can have steroid injections. 

But there are some people that injections are not suitable for. You should let your doctor know before starting the treatment if you: 

  • have ever had an allergic reaction to hydrocortisone or any other medicine 
  • have ever had depression or manic depression (bipolar disorder) or if any of your close family has had these illnesses 
  • have an infection (including an eye infection) 
  • are trying to get pregnant, are already pregnant or you are breastfeeding 
  • have recently been in contact with someone with chickenpox, shingles or measles (unless you’re sure you are immune to these infections) 
  • have recently had, or you’re due to have, any vaccinations 
  • have weak or fragile bones (osteoporosis) 
  • have high blood pressure 
  • type 1 or type 2 diabetes 
  • any unhealed wounds. 

You can go home after the injection, but you may need to rest the area that was treated for a few days. 

Ways to pay

Paying for yourself

Healthshare provides access to the highest quality care giving you the opportunity to access the very best treatment, facilities and consultants. Healthcare the way you want it, when you need it.

Spread the cost

A fixed term loan, provided by our partners Chrysalis Finance, will allow you to spread the cost of treatment and allow you to pay in monthly instalments over a time period to suit you.

Medical insurance

If you have private medical insurance you can get referred to a Healthshare Clinic for the very best treatment. Contact your insurance provider to pre-authorise your treatment today.

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