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What is a Joint injection?

Cortisone (steroid) is a powerful anti-inflammatory drug. When injected into an inflamed/painful joint or area of soft tissue, it can quickly reduce inflammation and as a result in reduced pain and stiffness. It is usually injected along with some local anaesthetic.

Does it always work?
A joint injection is not always helpful. And if it does reduce the pain and stiffness we cannot predict how long it will work for. But it is often very beneficial and those benefits can last for many months in some people.

What happens?
You will be sitting or lying in a comfortable position. The site to be injected will be cleaned and may be sprayed with a freezing spray. The site is then injected.

Is it Painful?
No injection is painless. The amount of discomfort can depend on the site injected. But most people who need to have a joint injection are often pleasantly surprised and find it was much better than they expected it to be.

What about after the injection?
You may have some discomfort in the injected area for 24 – 48 hours. During this period it is advisable to rest the area injected as much as possible. We appreciate that some people with find it difficult to follow this advice. Nevertheless it is the best advice.

Are there any side effects?
All treatments and procedures have the potential for unwanted effects. However there are very few problems associated with joint or soft tissue injections. We will have discussed these with you already. However the most commonly occurring side effects are:

· Pain for a day or two at the site of the injection
· Slight thinning of the skin or a small patient of scarring over the injection site
· Alteration on blood sugar levels. If you have diabetes you will need to monitor your blood sugar more regularly for up to 48 hours after the injection. And if you are on insulin you may need to adjust your dose accordingly
· Facial flushing

Far rarer side effects include:
· Joint infection
· Joint damage
· Adverse reaction to either the steroid or local anaesthetic used

If you have concerns prior to your injection please discuss them with the clinician concerned.

If you have any concerns following the injection please contact the clinic where the injection took place during normal working hours (The contact number is at the top of this leaflet). If the joint injected becomes more hot, red or is extremely painful 72 hours after the injection was administered please contact the clinic or out of hours your GP and or Accident and Emergency Department.

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