Steroid injections are administered to joints, around tendons and bursae to reduce inflammation and can offer fast acting relief of symptoms including pain (which is an inflammatory response ). Conditions that respond well to steroid injections are De Quervain’s Syndrome , tendinopathies / tendonitis’ , degenerative changes in joints (eg basal thumb joints ) and painful ganglia as well as trigger digits. The effects can last several months and some cases eg De Quervain’s / triggers can be ‘curative’ in the sense further treatment is not required.
Steroid injections are tried after simple anti-inflammatories (eg Brufen or ibuleve gel) and splints plus modification of activity, have failed.
Side effects of steroid injections include skin depigmentation and atrophy , infection (rare ) , steroid flare (painful response to steroid ), tendon rupture (rare) and failure. The area injected is painful for a day or two after the injection and it can take a week or so to feel the benefit . Steroid injections can judiciously repeated in certain situations but would not tend to be performed more than once within a 3 month period to the same site.
Steroid injections should not affect fertility, pregnancy or breastfeeding but it would be sensible to inform your doctor of this.