WHAT TO EXPECT
Injuries or disease such as arthritis, bursitis or tendonitis result in inflammation. In turn, inflammation can cause swelling and pain. Benefits of corticosteroid injection (commonly called a steroid) include decreased inflammation and pain. This can improve your ability to participate in physical therapy to correct underlying problem, speed return to activities, and enhance your ability with other modalities to maintain level of function. As with any injection, you may feel pain. After injection the pain should improve for a few hours with local anesthetic (“numbing medicine”). Once this wears off pain intensity may return as it was prior to the injection or even worse. This does not mean that the injection is not working. Corticosteroid injections can take 3-10 days to begin working and improve your pain. Pain relief varies on severity and type of condition. Symptom relief may last weeks to months. Injections often can be repeated every 4 months depending on injection site and condition being treated.
POSSIBLE SIDE EFFECTS
Corticosteroids are safe and effective with minimal potential adverse reactions. There is a very small risk of infection as there is with any injection. Rarely some people have allergic reaction to local anesthetic. Some patients may experience sensation of flushing for several days, thinning of the skin or loss of skin color at the injection site. Multiple frequent injections in the same area can cause tissue atrophy, degeneration of tendon, cartilage or possible tendon rupture.
IF YOU HAVE DIABETES
You may have increased blood sugar level requiring more insulin for a brief period of time. This may necessitate careful blood sugar maintenance and contacting your primary care provider to adjust your diabetes medications.