We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Corticosteroids reduce inflammation inside the joint. Steroid injections can be useful for both rheumatoid arthritis RA — an autoimmune disease that causes joint inflammation — and osteoarthritis OA — a degenerative form of arthritis. For knee and hip arthritis, steroid injections should never be the sole treatment.
You will typically see a specially trained radiologist for a hip corticosteroid injection. Before injecting the steroid, your doctor will clean the skin and inject or spray your skin with an anesthetic to prevent you from feeling the needle stick. A numbing drug like lidocaine may also be mixed into the injection. Some soreness is common in the first few days after the shot.
Apply ice to the area to relieve pain. Other possible side effects include infection, nerve damage, skin discoloration and weakening of nearby bones osteoporosis. But these are rare. Within one to four days after you get the injection, the steroid should kick in and start providing relief. The duration of pain relief varies based on the severity of the arthritis. The effects of the injection can last for three months or more in someone with mild-to-moderate arthritis, but those with more severe arthritis could have a return of symptoms within a few weeks.
You can repeat the injections once every three or four months, but no more than four times a year. But at what price? The answer to that question is addressed in another commentary published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. Beth I. Wallace at Michigan Medicine and Dr.
Akbar K. Waljee of the V. Ann Arbor Healthcare System listed three serious risks that can follow as few as three days of treatment with corticosteroids taken orally even by relatively young, otherwise healthy patients: gastrointestinal bleeding, sepsis and heart failure. A Danish study found an elevated risk of diabetes and osteoporosis among patients who had received one or more steroid shots a year for three or more years to treat allergic rhinitis, another use of steroids lacking evidence of benefit.
Evan L. Dvorin, internist at the Ochsner Health System and Dr. Mark H. Ebell of the University of Georgia, writing in the journal American Family Physician, added several other frightening side effects linked to the brief use of steroids: elevated blood sugar, elevated blood pressure, mood and sleep disturbances, fracture and blood clots.
In an interview, Dr. McCoul said. However, even short courses of systemic corticosteroids are associated with many possible adverse effects. Furthermore, there is no credible evidence to justify such risks when treating a condition like a cold or sinus infection, the Michigan doctors noted. However, Drs. In Louisiana, where Dr. McCoul practices, steroid shots for upper respiratory infections are shockingly common, he said. McCoul added. However, when patients do go to the doctor, they expect something to happen, and doctors are often happy to oblige.
They are reimbursed by insurance if they administer an injection but not if they hand patients a prescription for oral steroids.