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Steroids....Tablet form and Injections in joints.....What's the Difference?? Confuddled!

Hi everyone...... I see that many of you are on Steroids........I know they help us greatly, but my question is this, sorry to seem ignorant on this, I could Google it, but NOT the same as reading it from those of us that have it long term etc......I know Steroids work well for us, But I know long term use is NOT good......... Now I use to have Steroid Injections for my Hips and Shoulders ( and tablets during flare ups) I was told by Shoulder/Elbow consultant! that because of the Steroid Injections I had in my Shoulders have now made My Tendons in Shoulders, weak and Thinning, meaning Detioriating( soz can't spell that word)..........But was NEVER told at the time of having injections that they could do that to me...?? Apparently, he told me that my shoulders are the age of an 80 year old.......he tried to make me feel better by explaining that it happens to us all as we age.....BUT I'm NOT 80, I was in my late Forties when he told me that! So, after having steroid injections in my rotten HIPs, due to severe pain and at the time Bursitis( since had the Bursa removed from Hip). I had to go back In And have Hip resurfacing! Is that a coincidence. Or the Steroids rotting my Bones away??

I now won't take Steroids at all........anyway that is my experience..... I feel LET down!!!!

13 Replies

How awful. I had no idea steroids could do that.

The trouble is, steroids can really help us through a bad patch. Every medication has its drawbacks. But RA has worse ones.

Perhaps if you don't use them for ages your body can recover a little?

It does help me understand why I am not allowed steroid jabs as often as I would have liked. And I am now wondering if that is why my tendons in my fingers are so weak.


Steroids cause osteoporosis, reducing bone density. While you are on them you are supposed to have calcium supplements to counteract the loss - at least that's what my GP says and others here will agree


Hi Jill

I get Steroid infusions every 3-4 months, not had into my joints, as it would be kind of like a card dealer saying " pick a card, any card" so I cannot really help you wit your question.

What I do want to ask you about is your hip bursa?

I have quite suddenly developed incredible pain over my right hip, the pain almost makes me sick, when I weightbear from sitting, or try and go upstairs, goodness even the pavement kerb can be too high

(New paragraph- for pb52- lol)

My rheum. Nurse thinks it is a RA flare isolated to my hip, consultant in A and E thinks it may be bursitis ...any advice based on your experience would be brilliant



Hi Poppylady

Well bursitis is can grow quite big! apparently mine was large! that's why I had so much pain....we have bursa's in hip, shoulders, Infact we have three Bursa's around the hip area, I was told. It's a very painful condition and the GP or Rheumy will give you an injection to help with the pain, also it's like a deep painful kind of ache, when it's inflamed, you won't be able to press the side of your Hip.

My friend has had it for a year, but no referral, although bad. Mine was removed in 2009....the scar is long and the area around it is very numb, size of an orange,however I still have hip pain and every other joint is affected by RA. You must be referred if it affects your daily life, ask your GP to refer you to Orthopaedic Hip Surgeon....hope this helps x


I have had loads in steroids from steroid drips, which were designed to put the steroid all around the body as my inflammation was seriously high and caused me heart problems.

Then I get separate injections straight into joints which just help that joint.

Every month or so I get a systemic one, to cover inflammation into the body.

Side effects, yeah, but the way I see it is that without them I would have many more Side effects as my internal organs don't like having high inflammation around them and for my own body it reacts well to them.

My brother reacts very badly to steroids though causing him severe depression so I do tend to watch my mood when I have one but so far so good.

I think even Panadol if taken wrong causes side effects but I would have no life without my drugs for RA, asthma, diabetes so I do balance the cost to my health of drugs against the disease effects.

Hope you are well today and not too pained xx


I agree, you have to weigh it all up Allanah, what is best for you at the time! and I've been In that position where I'm begging for the steroid......but just wanted you to be aware, and all have some caution.....awww Allanah, I miss our long conversations lol xx


Lol. , I know I ramble on !

Reply too....

Can't help hands hurt so bad, I'm surprised I can type lol....but typos, well it's lazy I guess but people can work out my mistakes, as I do there's lol x


Also A, I could write a book about this rotten RA, so many health issues r linked to RA, and I seem to have the lot......I've had over 9 corrective surgeries due to RA and I'm very experienced in coping with ongoing illnesses plus RA all at same time, it's bliddddddddy miserable x


Yes, it is now becoming well known that steroid injections directly into tendons can make them brittle and prone to rupture, but that is fairly recent research knowledge. The horrible thing is that at the time they probably felt like they were doing a lot of good, which is why so many folk had them done and doctors were happy to give them. Its only now that they are realising the long term damage that can happen.

Steroid injections right into joints are still OK though - and can give wonderful relief from synovitis. Steroid injections into muscle give a much longer antiinflammatory effect than taking tablets, so are often used to help tide folk over while other medications take time to kick in.

Any steroids will affect your body, and the more you take, the more likely you are to have some of the more serious effects (like osteoporosis or your adrenal glands failing), but again, that has to be balanced against the fact that they can be incredibly effective. The ideal is probably to use them as little as possible (in any form) and make every effort to control the disease with much safer meds.

1 like

Hi Earthwitch, the serious side effects of steroids. Are these common? I only ask because it was mentioned to me today that there is now a concern over the amount of steroids I haver actually had



Thanks for your comment earthwitch.....your comment is valid :)


could anybody tell me please how long a steroid injection in to the muscle lasts thank you


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