Why have I been offered a joint or soft tissue injection?

Injections to joints and soft tissue can be very effective in reducing inflammation and giving pain relief.

What types of injection are there?

There are three types of injections:

  • Steroid and local anaesthetic
  • Steroid alone
  • Local anaesthetic alone

Steroid is used to reduce pain and inflammation and local anaesthetic will numb the area temporarily.

How quickly will the injection take to work?

If a local anaesthetic is used there will be a temporary numbness lasting up to a few hours. The effect of the steroid is usually seen within a few days, but there may be a gradual improvement over a few weeks.

How long will the beneficial effects last?

This can vary depending on the condition. The effects may last a few weeks to several months, or may resolve the problem permanently.

Are there any side-effects?

Side-effects are rare, but important to be aware of. Potential side-effects are:

  • Post injection flare up of pain: this may last up to 48 hours. You may take your usual pain relief
  • Infection: is rare, but if 2 or more days after your injection you develop any of the following symptoms: swelling, redness, warmth around the injection site, or you feel generally unwell, please contact your GP (or out of hours service)
  • Anaphylactic shock: is an extreme, but rare, allergic reaction. When it occurs, it usually happens quickly, soon after the injection has been given. Therefore, we suggest you wait in the clinic area for 30 minutes after the injection has been given
  • Facial flushing: may be present for 24 hours after the injection
  • Menstrual irregularity: can occur and there may be breakthrough menstrual bleeding
  • You may develop a dimple or an area of depigmentation (discolouration) around the injection site
  • If you suffer with diabetes, a steroid injection can cause a moderate increase in your blood sugar levels for up to a week

Will I have a follow up appointment?

A clinic appointment will be arranged with your consultant. This will be sent to you in the post.

You will also have an open appointment. This is an appointment that will stay open for up to 12 months from the date you are seen and is for the present problem only.

To activate the open appointment you need to contact the appointment desk on 01935 384319, who will give you the next available appointment.

You are not able to turn up at the Hospital expecting an appointment on that day and can only be seen if you pre-book in advance.

If the next available appointment is not soon enough the Appointment Desk will refer you to the Secretary, or if you feel your problems are urgent go to your GP or Accident and Emergency.

Should I be taking things easy after the injection?

To gain the most benefit from the injection it is important to follow the advice given. The area injected should have 48 hours relative rest, this means normal, gentle, activities of daily living can be followed, provided they are not too painful. Gradually increase your activity over the first week following your injection. Avoid any exercise or activity which has previously worsened your symptoms

Can the injection be repeated?

This depends on the condition and also the response to the first injection. A maximum of three injections can be given over a 12 month period.

Answers to frequently asked questions

  • A shoulder injection is often less painful than a blood test
  • The injection does not go into bone
  • Not all injections work, but the majority achieve significant benefit

Additional information

If you want to keep a log of your injection details you can download, fill in and print this form.

Contact details

Day Theatres: 01935 384339
Main reception: 01935 475122

Leaflet no: 04-18-101
Review: 04/20