Steroid injection into joints : Can I ask are steroid... - NRAS


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Steroid injection into joints


Can I ask are steroid injections in to the joints as painful as people say? ( truth please) and are they worth having, how long do they last for?


87 Replies


I've had 2, both in my back as I have multi joint pain you can ask for the freezing spray you'll not feel anything at all.

Go for it they do work .

Good luck xx

catcat01 in reply to reikimaster

Thank you , just a bit nervous 🤞x

reikimaster in reply to catcat01

Absolutely you are which is normal . I took my husband with me when I had mine, He had to hide my head so I couldn't see anything imagine how daft I looked.

I didnt care at the time , I am the world's worse wimp .

I went for the covid vaccine on friday and cried before they gave it me , there were 6 staff from my GP surgery who all knew me, how daft did I feel . 😖 They understand how patients feel so don't you worry about it just ask for the spray youll be fine 💖xxxxx

Pasjc in reply to catcat01

I get them into my back too not painful results lasted months. Ive also had one into my knee which was painful but that's relevant to the condition of my knee

Castroll in reply to reikimaster

Hi there

I have had 3 steroid injections in last 28 months

2 in shoulder done at hospital by the RD PHYSCIO specialist they did not hurt just like having a blood test but slightly longer, but could not work for 24 hrs or drive, or lift anything and two weeks of no heavy lifting ect.

Worked wonders for me 1st one lasted 4 months with no pain.

The mistake I made was having one at the my gp instead of hospital as I could not get a hospital appointment for 3 weeks and I needed this one in my knee as it was swollen and I was on crutches.

GP then told me after that she had not preformed this for years, so she missed and the needle hit bone which made me bleed and eventually did it I think in the wrong place as this injection only gave me relief for 1 week, so I will never go to my gp again for this procedure, but this is my gp I hear lots of good things about other gp that preform this.

My advise is if gp offer this make sure they do this on a regular bases ect ect.

So yes from my experience the injection gave a bit of my life back.

I am due to have another on 9th march at hospital can't wait as I am in so much pain in my shoulder currently.

Good luck

From my experience it depends which joint & your pain tolerance. I've had intra-articular injections into my shoulder, all fine, but into the base of my finger was eye watering even with novocaine. I have since read that there's another equally effective way of injecting in this area which is quite painless so I can only assume my Rheumy had a sadistic streak or wasn't up to speed on alternate methods! Do rest the joint afterwards to get best results. They've always resolved the issue for me for some time, can't give you an exact amount but long enough between injections for it not to be queried if it was too soon to be having another into the same joint. Quite the opposite from general ones which don't bring relief, Depo-Medrone anyhow.

I hope when it comes time you don't find your injection painful. Usually though a shot of novocaine released directly before the steroid does help.

catcat01 in reply to nomoreheels

I’m really grateful for all advice, reading this I think I should go for the shot of pure vodka for the pre shot🤣 Take care xxx

I’ve had many to my joints over the years and I’m used to them, but they are over with quickly so you won’t have time to feel much of anything. Let them freeze spray you for as long as you can tolerate it/maximum they are allowed to, before they do the steroid shot then you should not feel anything. If they are into the joint as opposed to a general one in the top of the buttock then they can last several months. I am lucky that my knee steroid shots last for 7/9 months. It is important that you immobilise yourself for 24 hours for the steroid shot to work better, then not move too much the next day in order for the steroid shot to work to full advantage. Then all as usual. It may feel a little sore where it was injected but that wears off after a couple of days. Good luck.

Thank you , I didn’t realise you needed to rest the joint afterwards. Now I know they freeze it before the shot I don’t feel as bad. Still new to all this but with the help of the lovely members on this site, learning more each day xxx

From one kitty to another I wish you all the very best 💗 and yes, each time I’ve had a steroid shot into a joint, the consultant/registrar doing it says full rest/legs up on the sofa until this time tomorrow and legs up and only move for the loo. I have always got my sandwich and snacks and a flask to take upstairs before I leave for hospital if my hubby isn’t at home, You want your steroid shot to work to it’s utmost so give it every chance, They should get you a wheelchair to be taken to reception to wait for your lift so don’t walk back to reception yourself if it’s a knee one. Driving back yourself is not recommended but if it was as the only way for you to return home then you‘would have to, That’s following the procedure to the letter. I really want my knee shots to work and so do the immobilising of my knee/leg/self as described. They’ve always worked so well for me and lasted 7-9 months.

Some more info I hope will help you. Forgot to say, you will probably feel generally a bit stiff if it’s your knee just from the fact you’ve hardly moved for 24 hours. Will mention also, they often put a rolled hand towel under the knee to keep it supported and stable and it helps relax my knee. If it was my senior rheumy/head of rheumatology she didn’t do this as her way was to get you to bend your knee up towards you to open up the knee joint for better ease of access. She was the total expert and had her own way. Physios sometimes do it this way too. Most do it with your knee extended out in front. They usually mark with a special type felt pen a cross with a little gap in the middle where the needle is to go after they’ve felt my knee to get the exact location, but my senior lady never did the pen as she was, as said, the absolute expert on knees especially! It was she who said you must always have a wheelchair back to reception as you need to let that steroid shot stay at first as close to the joint where it’s been done. Ask if they forget and they should offer it if it’s in your knee or ankle. They have to tell you you may possibly have a reaction (very, very rare people do) and to watch the area going very red and swollen over the hours after, but in all the ones I’ve had I have never have had a reaction. They just are required to mention this.

You may feel a little flushed later on that evening as it’s a steroid of course, and they can also make you feel a bit euphoric after. You may have some fluid drawn from the knee too before they administer the steroid shot, if it’s your knee joint being done and if it is very swollen with synovial fluid. I’ve had this done a couple of times and found it painless. Sometimes nothing will come as it’s the tissue that is swollen. The fluid being present tends to be when your knee is more swollen with more active RA. Apols for the length CatCat (I type very fast! ) but I want you to feel confident and assured. xx

Agree with the others - it depends which joint. Large joints are generally less painful. I’ve had my knees done about 12 times in as many years. There’s a bit of a sting but it’s really not too bad - and it’s well worth it.

I actually had both knees injected at the start of Feb. Prior to the injection, I could hardly bend them enough to get downstairs. Now they are pretty much normal. I find the relief can last a long time as well. Months for sure.

Personally I find the injections direct into the joint much more useful than the intra-muscular ones. You may find that some of the steroid works its way to other areas...even if some rheumatologists believe otherwise! So don’t be surprised if you get a bit of flushing in the face and so on.

It won’t be as bad as you think, honestly! Xx

catcat01 in reply to LoneEra

Thank you for your reassurance, just by the replies I’ve had I’m already looking forward to see the results and hopefully in much less pain xx

LoneEra in reply to catcat01

Yes! I never imagined myself looking forward to having a needle stuck in my knees...but these days it’s the height of joy 😀

catcat01 in reply to LoneEra

This is what lockdown had done to us, any interaction is worth looking forward to 😉🤣

KellyInTexas in reply to LoneEra

Now that’s funny! ( and relatable 😜)

I feel like a social butterfly at the moment ( doctor and hospital appointments and blood tests 🤣🤣

I feel so honored to be rubbing shoulders with you! Thanks for squeezing me in for the reply! 😂

I’ve had injections into both shoulders and didn’t feel a thing.

catcat01 in reply to Lolabridge

Thank you 👍

it depends where you get it! On my toes was horrible! on my knee was fine and on my hip was ok. it's worth it though! you will feel so.much better!

I’ve had ankles, knees and shoulders injected with guided ultrasound.

There is some momentary discomfort although the freeze spray helps, but the relief for months after is so worth it, to be able to get your life back. I always have complete rest for 24 hours following the injection but also take it easy the next day too. Sometimes the relief comes overnight but sometimes it has taken a few days, so don’t feel despondent if there doesn’t seem to be any improvement straight away.

I’ve never had an adverse reaction to these but often do find an injection into my ankle joint also helps my creaky knee or shoulder. It’s as though the steroid runs through your body seeking other points of inflammation ... which is always an added bonus !

Hope it goes well for you..I’m sure it will 😀

I have had steroid injections many times over the last forty years.....The worse ones were into my knuckles and the easiest into my thigh/bum.......

After each injection for certain areas

I would rest then would feel a big improvement....

Needles can be scary but weighed with a few seconds sharp pain with days or weeks of R A pain......

Look after you x

2 in hip 1 in wrist thumb & yes I must say they are uncomfortable for a few minutes.....

Thank you. Are you from Yorkshire , straight talker, no dressing it up 👍 xx

I am yorkshire born & 🍞.....🤐 thats what I need sometimes 😁

I’m Yorkshire born and bread , never ever need a 🤐 🤣 XX


I have them in my wrists knee and feet. I'm not going to lie they were painful having them in the bottom of my feet BUT they did not freeze them first ( I found out later they could have) also this was in a different hospital done by a doctor not an RA one.

The others have always been fine no problems and no pain. My knees have not had to be redone so worked really well on those but I have my wrists done every 10 months or so.

It depends on how much damage has already occured and my hands are the worst for me.

You'll worry that's normal but for me it was fine good luck.

catcat01 in reply to netball7

Ouch, bottom of your feet must have been awful

My hands like you are the worst, it’s amazing how many times you knock them, just to remind yourself xx

Take care

I’ve had one in my shoulder and it was a game changer! I’m getting one in my other shoulder next week. They numb it so it doesn’t hurt when it’s being done. I was a bit sore that night but certainly no worse Than my usual levels of discomfort. I wish I had one years ago!

catcat01 in reply to FGrant13

Hope it goes well for you. Thank you xx

Hi I had a steroid injection with with ultrasound and I did not really feel a thing.

catcat01 in reply to Tillie20

Thank you xx

Hi catcat01, I had a steroid injection in October. It wasn't painful at all. I had it at the top of my bum. The effect lasted for about 8 weeks and it was great to have a longish break from the pain and flare up. I hope all goes well for you. Take care

catcat01 in reply to Greencat96

I did have 1 in my bum before but that didn’t work at all unfortunately, from what I’m reading the one’s in joints are great xx

It very much depends on what you consider painful........on the whole I always found injections into smaller joints ...fingers/wrists did sting more than into say the hip....but when they work I am sure most people will say they are well worth having.

There are a lot of myths about steroid injections....I would say 90% of people here have had them...& we have all survived ......all you can do is try it & see....the relief they can give is well worth it.....just think about the pain you are trying to control.

catcat01 in reply to AgedCrone

I’m having the first 1 in my wrist, like every one has said we are already in pain so it can’t be any worse. Thank you xx

I second everything the others say. You’ll be fine. The resting bit is very important. You get the most out of it by following instructions.

catcat01 in reply to Esmereld

Another day of work then😊 xx

I dont know if u r in the UK but here they always have lignocaine (painkiller) that goes in first then the steroid. I wont say its not uncomfy briefly but so worth it for the relief u get. Over the years I have had lots. X

catcat01 in reply to Evie3

Thankyou xx

I've had them in my PIP finger joints, and in my wrist. They didn't use a freezing spray, but it really wasn't so bad - I guess that the joints they will be injecting you in are already quite painful? I found that the pain of the injection was nothing compared to the pain already in the joint.

I think the steroid injection in the bum hurts much more! (but maybe that's just the indignity of it all!) 😅

They're definitely worth having, and last for at least a few weeks :)

catcat01 in reply to Sarah_89

Thank you, this is all reassuring xx

I have them, has worked out on average twice a year in the last 3 to 4 years, either in my fingers or knees (not both, once a year fingers, once a year knees). Knees I find not sore, fingers are but it only lasts a minute and the long term effects for me are so so worth it. They only do one joint per appointment. Now that they have upped my methotrexate I now need the steroid injections less. Yes I am told to rest the joint for 48 hours afterwards. As i say the injection lasts a minute or 2.

catcat01 in reply to HamHammy

Thank you xx

Hi catcat01 I've had 4 in my elbow joint, 2 in my shoulder & 1 in my hamstring all since February last year, all areas were treated with a freeze spray before hand, I was a bit reluctant to say this but thought better you're forewarned so you're forearmed, the first one I had in my elbow joint was fine until the spray wore off, by the time I got home I was in agony, this lasted for around 24 hours, make sure you've got some strong painkillers in just in case, however, I was pain free in my elbow for at least 4 months at the time, the injections in my shoulder (twice) hamstring once (didn't work) and subsequent ones in my elbow twice were all fine at having the injection and the relief after with very little discomfort, I'm finding that they work for at least 3 months but are so worth it. good luck with yours I'm sure from reading the above I was the exception in my first one and not the rule x

catcat01 in reply to Garnacha

Thank you xx

Hi. I have had many in many different joints over the years. Some hurt more than others but a few seconds of pain is better than months of pain. On the whole these injections have worked well for me. Everyone is different so I can't say they will work as well for you but I will say don't be afraid of them. I would never hesitate. They are over quickly and you could be free of pain for a long time. Surely that makes them worth trying.

catcat01 in reply to Sheila_G

Thank you xx

Many years ago my knees were painful and swollen, so the fluid was syringed out and steroid injected, there and then in the hospital outpatients so I didn't have time to think about it 😁 otherwise I would have been dreading it if I had had to go back at a later date.

Anyway it was OK, the relief was almost instant, I walked out of the hospital without pain. I've since had them in my shoulder, but again that was years ago now, I would say don't worry, it was great for me. I think they last about 6 to 8 weeks but I started new meds after that so I haven't needed any since, I hope it helps, best wishes Sarah

catcat01 in reply to Plumcrumble

Thank you xx

No, is the simple answer. The method of injecting is a combination of painkiller and steroid. I've had several over recent years and it is very quick and painless - the last one was in the right knee. I can remember the times - the "olden days" - when this was not necessarily the case. Once (in the 1960s) , the doctor asked me if I minded doing without the local painkiller as he would "have to go upstairs for it". Well, I could see he was in a hurry by the golf bag and clubs propped up in the corner.

Those were the days, eh!

Good Luck. Bienassis

catcat01 in reply to bienassis

🤣 As long as he had a good game of golf x

Hi, I’ve had them in my shoulders and knees, didn’t hurt at all 😊

Personally I have found them painful but it depends on many things. I have joint damage and the doctor said I had floating bits of bone that made it harder. Plus I'm a massive wimp. Lol.

How long it lasts is also dependent. Years ago they lasted for a good few months. Now I'm lucky if I get a couple of weeks.

My tip is to practice the name 4 things to take your mind of it. Look for 4 red things for example.

I’ve had quite a few in different parts of my body. The trick is to relax!

Hi catcat01, I have had several in both of my knees and I found them quite painless. I found them to worth having and they did give me relief from the pain but I'm afraid I cant honestly say for how long exactly but it was for a few months. After the injection my knee felt it was twice its size but not at all painful and it soon wore off.

Go do it you wont regret it.

Take care .

Had ones in my knees and hands, latter do sting but results are worth it.

Re my knees RA consultant did it was fine, next time was by GP was agony.

Now GPs in my area aren't allowed to do them.

They provide hugh relief when they work and break the cycle of flare and pain.

Hope all goes well for you. :)

I have had steroid injections in my knees, didn't hurt, no worse than a blood test...go for it, the relief from the joint pain after is 100% worth it....only downside for me was the pain relief only lasted around 6 weeks...but it was 6 weeks of absolute bliss being able to walk normally.

Good luck !

I had 2 into my elbow joint in November as I was in pain and have had no pain since,I’m used to jags now as I do them every week but everyone’s different,they usually give you 1 first to freeze the joint xxx

It seems from the comments on this post that I am the unlucky one! I've had them in both of my knees and a couple of general ones. The only advice I can give is if a medical student is being offered up, politely decline. My first one was so painful I almost passed out. However, on the flip side, when it was done by someone who does it regularly I didn't even feel it!

That being said, despite resting for over 24 hours after having them, I can honestly say that they did nothing for me. I was pain-free for only a couple of days before the twinges started to return and progressively got back to "normal".

I’ve had into my shoulders and wasn’t to bad at all ! Having one in spine not sure what that will be like ?

catcat01 in reply to Adnil53

Good luck and thank you for taking the time to answer xx

Not at all. Get the hips done a few times a year. You’ll be fine 😉

catcat01 in reply to Kimzee

Thank you xx

Hi, I had two, one in each shoulder in December and I did not feel a thing, honestly and I have had quite a few over the years xx

catcat01 in reply to Poshcards

Thank you cx

It depends who gives it to you. I have had several and my Rheumatologist is an expert at giving them. I had one bad experience when a physician’s assistant gave me one in my hip that was very painful. Make sure you choose the right health care professional.

catcat01 in reply to liveinwoods

👍thank you x

Hey catcat01 I was terrified to have mine in my shoulder. My RHeumy did it. Absolutely no pain whatsoever. I was pleasantly surprised. So I will be going back in a few days to get another one in the same shoulder. I don’t hesitate. Mine lasted close to a year. Hope this helps.


catcat01 in reply to precious123

Thank you xx

I had steroids injection between my toes years ago was a little uncomfortable but not painful and it really helped me well worth having it done

catcat01 in reply to Ohuela

Thank you xx

Hi there, I've had 2 in my knee and 3 in elbow over the years, didn't hurt and very successful😊good luck 🍀

catcat01 in reply to Flor1rence

🤞 and thank you xx

Hi I've had steroid in j into my shoulder and knee didn't find them any worse than a normal in j ,they did help me but only for a couple weeks but everyone is different ,worth trying 👍

catcat01 in reply to Zephre

Thank you xx

Sadly joint ones didn't work very long for me and were painful, I have one dose 180mg in my bottom now. This covers me from 6weeks to 3 months. I can't do without them between new treatments. Hope this helps

catcat01 in reply to lucymead

Sorry to hear that it didn’t work for you, Take care xx

I’ve had an injection in my wrist and the result was almost instant. The injection wasn’t painful and the relief from the steroid was great. Good luck.

Thank you xx

They can be painful. I've had 2 in each elbow and 2 in tendon in feet and 1 in a neuroma. The elbows ones I hardly ft but the feet are excruciating painful. To me they have been worth it as I've had 8 weeks complete pain relief and when your pain is so intense, even a week of no pain makes it worth it. However, they only mask the problems and pain returns with a vengeance. So, you have to weigh it up. Depends on how much pain you are in.

catcat01 in reply to Cheylann

Thank you for your reply, even a couple of weeks pain free would be amazing and maybe even have a full nights sleep 🤞

Take care xx

For me they did not not work, i had the knuckles on both hands injected, wow did i know about it for nearly a week, and it took ages for them to settle down. So i would not recommend them, sorry, but you have to use your own judgment. Good luck.

catcat01 in reply to Grayling

Thank you, I’m not sure exactly where they are doing, I believe it’s my wrists , I didn’t realise they may do more than 1 at a time, I need to speak to them before my appointment . I’m lucky , they are a good team, I do think I’ll give it a go as I’m in pain all the time.


I've had them in my knees, hip and heel. I didn't feel the one in my knee and hip really but the one into my heel was terribly painful that I'm sure I would never have one there again x

No, honestly, they are nothing compared to the pain you are used to! The last one I had into my knee, I could feel the pain going away even as I got into the car after it was done, it was well worth it. 8 months down the line I still have no pain at all in that knee

👍Thank you xx

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