Steriod injection - what effects should I expect?

MickeyJoints Member Posts: 11
edited 24. Nov 2014, 23:46 in Living with Arthritis archive
Hi Team,

I have had RA symptoms for nearly 2 years now and have started down the care road. I figure at 57 I need to get on with management now, rather than later. I do not have joint swelling but some small nodules around 3 finger joints, but the pain! Especially in the morning, when I need to spend 10 minutes exercising to get my fingers moving. Constant stabbing pains in the joints and between the joints throughout the day. And crucially, don't put strain across the finger joints (? transversely), as against in the plane of finger movement.

Went to the consultant yesterday as I've recently had bloods and an ultrasound done. My ESR is slightly up but an otherwise the ultra sound didn't show anything of note (well, Morton's neuroma in the left foot.)

He gave me a steriod injection to see what happens... Apart from a sore injection site - (L) buttock - I've not had a reduction in pain. I was hopeful. :-(

I do have reactivated back injuries though! It's as if the steriod has reducing the swelling around the injuries and the increased movement has caused a resurgence in the injury. Ouch. Pain radiating out to the front of the chest along rib lines, just like the original injury.

Anyway, what I was wanting to ask you all was what sort of response can be expected? How long should the steriod take to work? It was a white emulsion-looking (not paint!) and around 4mls in volume. I have seen general notes that it takes around 24-48 hours. Is this what others have found?

If it doesn't work in pain reduction, what will be the conclusion? What are typical options after that?

Many thanks for reading.


  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 26,325
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hello again, Mickey. I thought it was OA you had. Have you been re-diagnosed?

    Steroid jabs of any kind work quickly for some, more slowly for others and not at all for the unlucky ones. With the 'bum' ones, I personally usually notice a difference within couple of days. How long they last tends to depend on many factors. About 6-8 weeks usually.

    If it doesn't work I'd guess the conclusion is that steroid jabs in the bum don't work for you – no more, no less. If you have OA then your GP will continue to deal with your arthritis by means of anti-inflammatories and pain relief. If you have RA – or another auto-immune form of arthritis – you will be under the care of a rheumatologist and they will presumably give you a Disease Modifying Anti-Rheumatic Drug (DMARD). Who was your consultant who ordered the steroid jab – a rheumatologist or an orthopaedic surgeon?
    If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving definitely isn't for you.
    Steven Wright
  • dreamdaisy
    dreamdaisy Member Posts: 31,557
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I found steroid injections (either into my bottom or into the joint) a waste of time. The only one which had any noticeable effect was into my right ankle, which to my surprise became less painful for around three months. (I have PsA plus OA.) After twelve years of taking various drugs for my PsA I have learned to expect nothing because that way I cannot be disappointed. DD
    Have you got the despatches? No, I always walk like this. Eddie Braben
  • Tia1723
    Tia1723 Bots Posts: 43
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I would say, at-least give them a week and don’t expect too much. Short-acting soluble steroids can give relief within hours and should last for at least a week. The longer-acting, less soluble steroids may take around a week to become effective but can ease your symptoms for two months or longer. After the injection it is normal to feel a transient increase in discomfort in the joint which should resolve within 24 hours. I think they cause more pain before they get better. You can apply ice pack at injection site to get some relief.

    Steroids are often used as interim measures in inflammatory types of arthritis, such as RA and lupus, to get control of inflammation while waiting for the slower-acting DMARDs to take effect. Patients who have gained no symptom relief or functional benefit from two injections should probably not continue with repeat injections as the likelihood of improvement is small.
    Hope it helps.