Locally injected steroids can be useful in the treatment of inflamed joints and inflammation of soft tissue. They do this by potently suppressing the inflammation and shrinking the swollen tissue particularly in the short term. They are called local because they act only in the injected area. Injecting a joint is called an `intra-articular` injection while injection close to a joint is called `peri-articular`
How long will it be before my joints feel better?
The local anaesthetic will start to reduce your pain within a few minutes of the injection.
This pain relief will last for 1-2 hours. The steroid will take longer to start working; sometimes it can be nearly 1-2 days after the injection before you start to feel better. So while you are waiting for the steroid to work you can take painkillers such as paracetamol, or cold packs.
The joint you have had injected will hopefully feel better for up to 3 months and sometimes longer , but everybody is different so it may not last this long. If you have had previous injections and they have not lasted this long then it would be advisable to have your condition re-assessed and a new treatment plan decided with your clinician.
Do I need to rest after the injection?
It is recommended to rest the joint that has been injected for 48 hours this helps the injection work better. If this is impractical then it is advisable to avoid any strenuous exercise for the following 48 hours.
A general principle is to move the joint injected as normal but do not lift or push heavy objects for a week after the injection.
How often can I have my foot injected?
We do not want to give you too many injections. The most we will give you is 2-3 in a year, into the same joint. Very occasionally we will give you more than this if there are special reasons. However, there is a small risk of frequent injections causing cartilage damage, especially in weight-bearing joints. Your clinician will be able to advise you more specifically about this risk.