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Steroid Injections


Steroid injections are types of anti-inflammatory medicines and they’re not the same as anabolic steroids used by body builders to increase their muscle size and strength. They are used to treat a wide range of conditions such as joint pain, arthritis and repetitive strain injuries. An alternatives treatment to steroid joint injections is also available in the form of hyaluronic acid (Ostenil)

A number of different steroids are available for injection. Common examples of steroid injections are:

  • Hydrocortisone
  • Triamcinolone or Kenalog
  • Methylprednisolone or Depo-Medrone

Benefits of steroid injections

Corticosteroid injections more effectively treat joint and soft tissue inflammation, which reduces pain and improves joint function. Some steroid injections start to relieve pain within hours and the effects should last about a week, weeks or months. Corticosteroid injections, in general, are well tolerated by the body and do not cause the typical side-effects seen by taking oral steroids or anabolic steroids.


As with every procedure, there are some risks associated with steroid joint injections. We haven’t included the chance of these happening as they are specific to you and differ for every person. Ask your doctor or healthcare professional to explain how these risks may apply to you.

  • More pain and swelling as well as discomfort for a few days in the injected area this usually settles within a couple of days
  • Temporary bruising or collection of blood under the skin this usually settles within a couple of days
  • A flushed or red face usually only lasts for a few minutes but can last an hour or two
  • An infection, causing redness swelling and pain
  • De-pigmentation (paler) skin at the injected area
  • Fat atrophy (loss of fat thickness) at the injected area
  • A rise in blood sugar (more likely for diabetes sufferers)​
  • Risk of tendon rupture

Your clinician will discuss these factors in detail before injection with you and explain the likelihood in your case specially before injecting.

How do they work?

Some steroids occur naturally in the human body. Artificial steroids act like natural steroids to reduce inflammation. Corticosteroids are manufactured versions of steroid naturally produced by the glands mainly adrenal gland. When corticosteroids are injected into a joint or tendon they can help relieve inflammation in the joint space, tendon sheath and nearby structures, which can then reduce any pain and stiffness. For the purpose of pain relief, steroids are often used in conjunction with a local anaesthetic such as Lidocaine which can provide immediate pain relief that lasts a few hours.



Most people can have steroid injections. However, a clinician should always be consulted before treatment and you should inform them if you have experienced any of the following:

  • Had a steroid injection in the last few weeks. You usually need to wait 6 weeks between injections
  • Have had an allergic reaction to local anaesthetic previously
  • Have an infection or soon to have any vaccinations
  • Are pregnant, breast feeding or trying to fall pregnant
  • Have any other pre-existing conditions
  • Are taking any other forms of medication
  • Taking warfarin or other blood thinning medication.


Steroid joint injections aren’t usually used as a long-term treatment. Steroid injections may help to ease symptoms such as pain, stiffness and swelling, and make it easier for you to have other treatments, such as physiotherapy. Your doctor may also recommend anti-inflammatory medicines, rest, ice or heat. It’s also important to look at, and think about, changing how you do certain activities if they may have brought on your symptoms. This may help stop the problem coming back. Your clinician may suggest that you only have a limited number of injections in each affected joint, to reduce the chance of getting side-effects. These include possible damage to your cartilage and tendons. If you still have pain or swelling after a course of steroid injections, speak to your doctor (GP) about alternative treatments.


Some studies have suggested that repeated injections of steroids into your joints can damage the cartilage covering the ends of your bones. To reduce the chance of this, doctors try not to use these injections more often than every three months in the same joint. No more than a maximum of four injections in a year are recommended.

If you still have pain or swelling after a course of steroid injections, speak to your doctor (GP) about alternative treatments.


All of our steroid injections are performed with local anaesthetic. All of our joint injections are performed by quailed practitioners using aseptic techniques, who have undertaken significant training at University level to be able to perform injections.

We charge the following costs for an injection:

Consultation and Single Joint Injection: £120.00

Consultation and Double Joint Injection: £200.00

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