Steroid Injections

What are steroid injections?

Corticosteroids are potent anti-inflammatory medications highly effective in relieving joint inflammation-induced pain. When directly injected into a joint, they can offer enduring relief for some individuals.

Typically, doctors administer a small dose of anesthetic alongside corticosteroids. This anesthetic delivers immediate but short-lived pain relief in the knee, aiding diagnosis by indicating the source of discomfort. Doctors can eliminate other potential causes, such as muscle strain if the anesthetic alleviates pain. It’s normal for the anesthetic effect to diminish within a few hours, possibly allowing knee pain to resurface. The corticosteroid itself starts to take effect after two to three days.

While some individuals may experience prolonged pain relief lasting several months post-injection, others may not find the injection effective at all. Most people, however, report some degree of pain relief, typically lasting a few weeks to months.

Doctors advise against exceeding two or three corticosteroid injections in the knee annually. Frequent use can lead to adverse effects like soft tissue weakening and skin discoloration at the injection site. Moreover, corticosteroid use may elevate blood sugar levels, posing risks for individuals with certain metabolic conditions such as diabetes.

What to Expect After Corticosteroid Injections

Following the injection, most individuals can return home or to work immediately. However, it’s common for the injection site to feel swollen or tender for one or two days. To alleviate discomfort and reduce swelling, doctors may suggest applying ice two or three times a day or taking over-the-counter pain medication.

The pain relief effects of corticosteroid injections may be felt more quickly than those of other treatments, but the duration of relief may vary. It’s important to note that individual responses to these injections can differ. Regular communication with healthcare providers can help manage expectations and tailor treatment plans to each person’s needs.

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