Steroid injection FAQs
Below you will find some of the most commonly asked questions concerning steroid injections.
What drugs are used?
The most commonly used steroid drugs are known as hydrocortisone, methylprednisolone and triamcinolone. They have brand names too such as depo-medrone, and hydrocortistab. In addition, a local anaesthetic known as lidocaine is used.
How are they given?
You can receive injections to the joints (an intra-articular injection), the muscles (an intramuscular injection), the spine (an epidural injection) or the blood (an intravascular injection). At Surrey Physio, we mostly perform joint injections.
Only a healthcare professional can perform these injections.
What should I do if I get pain?
You may notice your joint pain increasing immediately following an injection, but this should abate within 48 hours. Often the pain can be easily controlled by using some ice wrapped in a towel around the affected area to reduce the pain. Often the pain will not be too bad as a local anaesthetic will be used.
Do I still need to do my exercises?
Yes, you should still complete the exercises set by your physiotherapist. Your physiotherapist may also encourage you to complete more intensive mobilisation treatment in the days after the treatment while the joint is less painful.
How many steroid injections am I allowed to have?
You usually need to wait at least 6 weeks between injections. Doctors normally recommend no more than three injections to the same area in the space of 12 months.
How quickly does the injection take to work?
Shorting acting soluble steroids usually begin to give relief within a few hours. Longer acting steroids may take around two weeks to become effective, but these types usually ease symptoms for a longer period.
How long will the effects of an injection last?
It really depends on a number of factors. Some longer lasting, less soluble steroids can be effective for two months or longer. Sometimes improvement can be none at all. Factors include what else the patient may be doing to themselves, for example, if you have tennis elbow caused by playing tennis, and you have a steroid injection and then continue playing tennis or aggravating the problem you may get limited benefit. However, if you also make changes to your lifestyle, sports, do rehab exercises, and see a physiotherapist it is likely the effects of the steroid injection will last much longer.
What side effects can an injections cause?
This will depend on where the steroid is injected and what type of steroid you receive. Milder forms such as hydrocortisone tend to have weaker side effects than the stronger mixtures of methylprednisolone and triamcinolone.
- Pain and discomfort for a few days in the injected area
- Temporary bruising or collection of blood under the skin
- A flushed complexion
- An infection, causing redness swelling and pain
- Paler skin at the injected area
- Loss of fat at the injected area
- A rise in blood sugar (more likely for diabetes sufferers)
- Risk of tendon rupture
Can I go straight back to work?
If you feel okay and aren’t in too much pain it is fine to return to work immediately. However, if your job involves heavy lifting, you should aim to reduce your workload for several days following.
Can I drive straight after the injection?
Yes, as long as you aren’t in too much pain and feel you can safely control the vehicle. However, it is advisable to wait and relax for a short period immediately after the injection before driving a vehicle.
Can I drink alcohol while on steroid injections?
Yes, there is no specific reason to avoid alcohol after receiving a steroid injection.
Do steroid injections affect pregnancy?
Single steroid injections are not likely to affect fertility or pregnancy. However, if you are pregnant it is strongly advised that you seek a doctor’s advice before receiving a steroid injection. If in any doubt, do not have a steroid injection.
Do steroid injections affect breastfeeding?
If an injection is given during breastfeeding, small amounts can pass into your breast milk. While this is unlikely to be harmful to your baby, you should still consult with a doctor before receiving a steroid injection. If in any doubt, do not have a steroid injection.
Can I have other medications while on steroid injections?
Yes. However, if you are taking a type of medication call an anticoagulant (a drug that things the blood), you are highly unlikely to be offered a steroid injection. This is because of the risk of bleeding into the joint. If you are taking an anticoagulant it is important that you inform your doctor before proceeding with a steroid injection.
What should I do if I have diabetes?
You should carefully monitor your blood sugar levels for 48 hours following a steroid injection. This is because sugar levels often rise and you may need more insulin than usual.
How much does it cost to have a steroid injection?
The price including the consultation, medication and injection is £120.00 and the appointment will last approximately 15-20 minutes.
It is recommended you have a review 2 weeks after the injection, and the cost is the normal price of an appointment (approx.. £38.00).
What Locations do you do Steroid Injections?
These are performed at:
Croydon Physio, 1 Upper Selsdon Rd, CR2 8DD
The Border Practice, Blackwater Way, Aldershot, GU12 4DN
Do I need to read the patient information sheet?
Yes please download and read our patient information sheet on the next menu tab. If you have any questions, please ask us.
Who performs the Steroid Injections?
Tim Allardyce, Chartered and Prescribing Physiotherapist
Ben Coffey, Chartered Physiotherapist
Both Tim and Ben have over 15 years’ experience as physiotherapists.
How do I book?
To book your injection in Croydon call us on 0208 651 3315, or for Aldershot, call us on 0208 685 6930.