What are Steroid Injections? - Rheumatology Consultant London | Rheumatologist London | Dr Stephanie Barrett



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Steroids are naturally occurring chemicals in the human body, but they can also be man-made for medical treatment. Steroid injections are commonly used in the treatment of a range of rheumatic conditions. Man-made steroids act like the body’s natural version and work to reduce inflammation in the body or in a particularly affected area.

Steroid injections are offered to many patients with rheumatoid arthritis and other conditions. They are recommended because they often offer long-term relief from inflammation and the related pain. Steroid injections are also prescribed for osteoarthritis if the joint pain is particularly severe.

There are a range of different steroids which are given as injection. They include short-acting soluble steroids which can deliver pain and inflammation relief within a few hours for up to a week. There are also longer-acting less-soluble steroids which may take up to seven days to become effective, but the symptom relief can last a number of months.

What are the Side Effects of Steroid Injections?

Most patients can have steroid injections without any side effects at all. The injection itself can be a little uncomfortable but usually this is only minimal. Some patients experience a flare-up in pain within the first day of having the injection. However, this usually passes and can be treated with regular over-the-counter painkillers.

Stronger steroid mixtures come with higher risk of side effects. They can potentially cause thinning or discolouration to the skin of the injection site, but this is uncommon. Patients who are regularly have steroid injections may also experience an indentation in the injection site area, but this is also uncommon.

Infections can occur after steroid injections, but this is very rare. However, if the joint becomes more painful or difficult to move you should seek medical help immediately.

Appointments and Consultations with Dr Stephanie Barrett

Dr Stephanie Barrett treats patients with a wide range of musculoskeletal and rheumatic conditions, prescribing and administering steroid injections in many cases.

If you would like to find out more about pain management and treatment or to make an appointment with Dr Stephanie Barrett please call 020 7730 8508 or make an appointment here.