Steroid injections can be a helpful way of controlling persistent orthopaedic pain without
surgery. Your orthopaedic doctor may recommend injections to delay the
need for surgery, or he or she may use injections in hopes of preventing
the need for surgery completely. Could you be a candidate for steroid
injections? Here is what you need to know.
What are steroid injections?
Steroid injections involve the use of a needle to inject steroid medications
into an area that is causing pain. They help to calm inflammation in affected
joints and the tendons that surround them. The injection may be placed
directly into a joint or in an area around a joint that has become inflamed.
Why do doctors use injections instead of oral steroids?
Orthopaedic doctors may also use oral steroids to ease inflammation in
some cases, but injections have some advantages. Because they can be placed
directly in the affected area, the site of the pain receives a larger
dose of medication than when steroids are taken orally. Patients are usually
able to tolerate larger doses of steroids when they take them in the form
of injections than they are with oral steroids. There are possible side
effects to injections, however, including local bleeding, skin discoloration,
and infections. Your orthopaedic doctor will determine if the risks outweigh
the benefits for you. Injections are usually limited to no more than once
every three to four months.
What should I expect with steroid injection treatment?
Steroid injections typically take effect within 48 hours of treatment,
though some patients experience almost immediate relief if a local anesthetic
is given with the shot. For most people, steroid injections are part of
a broader treatment plan. For instance, if you are experiencing back pain,
your orthopaedic doctor may recommend a steroid injection to alleviate
the pain enough to allow you to exercise to reduce the pain from recurring.
In other cases, steroid injections may only delay the eventual need for surgery.
Steroid injections are part of the nonsurgical treatment options we provide
at MK Orthopaedics. To find out if injections could ease your
sports injury or other pain, make an appointment with an orthopaedic doctor in Joliet
by calling (815) 741-6900.