relieve pain and
local anesthetic (lidocaine) may be used first to help
with diagnosis. If this shot improves the pain, then a corticosteroid injection
is given. Lidocaine is sometimes given with a corticosteroid to reduce the pain
of the injection.
A corticosteroid injection is
sometimes used to treat
tennis elbow. Corticosteroids are given to relieve the
pain of tennis elbow when other forms of treatment haven't helped.
If you don't find long-term relief after a total of three injections over
the course of a year, more injections aren't likely to help and may cause
Some doctors believe that corticosteroids should not be
given to children.
Corticosteroid treatment is not used when
infection is suspected.
Studies suggest that corticosteroid
injections may give short-term relief but don't have long-lasting benefit when
compared to other treatments.1 And a large analysis of many corticosteroid studies suggests that in the long term corticosteroids are worse than other treatments.1 For example, one study found that
although corticosteroid injection produced the most relief after 6 weeks, it
was linked to more relapse and pain after 6 weeks and after 52 weeks than
treatment with watchful waiting or rehabilitation.2
All medicines have side effects. But many people don't feel the side effects, or they are able to deal with them. Ask your pharmacist about the side effects of each medicine you take. Side effects are also listed in the information that comes with your medicine.
Here are some important things to think about:
or other emergency services right away if you have:
Call your doctor if you have:
One common side effect of this medicine is pain and swelling the first day or two after the
injection. It may help to apply ice at home for 15 to 20 minutes.
See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference
is not available in all systems.)
The standard of
practice is that steroid injections should be given only 3 or 4 times a year in
a single joint area.
Injection of any
substance into a joint or tendon has a very small risk of harm, including
damage to a tendon, ligament, or nerve; bleeding into the tissue; or infection.
Although these rarely happen, your doctor will likely mention these risks to you before you get an injection into a joint.
Nobody likes needles. But experienced physicians and surgeons can usually do the injection in under 30 seconds. It does hurt, but it's quick.
Medicine is one of the many tools your doctor has to treat a health problem. Taking medicine as your doctor suggests will improve your health and may prevent future problems. If you don't take your medicines properly, you may be putting your health (and perhaps your life) at risk.
There are many reasons why people have trouble taking their medicine. But in most cases, there is something you can do. For suggestions on how to work around common problems, see the topic Taking Medicines as Prescribed.
If you are pregnant, breast-feeding, or planning to get pregnant, do not use any medicines unless your doctor tells you to. Some medicines can harm your baby. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, herbs, and supplements. And make sure that all your doctors know that you are pregnant, breast-feeding, or planning to get pregnant.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Complete the new medication information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you understand this medication.
Coombes BK, et al. (2010). Efficacy and safety of corticosteroid injections and other injections for management of tendinopathy: A systematic review of randomised controlled trials. Lancet, 376(9754): 1751–1767.
Bisset L, et al. (2006). Mobilisation with movement
and exercise, corticosteroid injection, or wait and see for tennis elbow:
Randomised trial. BMJ, 333(7575): 939.
January 10, 2013
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
& David Bardana, MD, FRCSC - Orthopedic Surgery, Sports Medicine
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.
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