This information will help you prepare for your steroid injection (shot).

A steroid injection is given to relieve pain and reduce inflammation and swelling. The injection can be given into your joint or into the area around your joint. It may take 3 to 4 days for you to feel the effects of the steroid. These effects usually last 3 to 4 weeks or longer.

The most common sites for steroid injections are the:

  • Shoulder
  • Hip
  • Finger
  • Wrist
  • Knee

Steroid injections are most commonly given to treat:

  • Arthritis
  • Injury
  • Tendonitis (inflammation in a tendon)
  • Bursitis (inflammation in the area around a joint)

Before Your Procedure

Tell your doctor the following information before your procedure:

  • If you are taking any:
    • Prescribed or over-the-counter medications
    • Herbal supplements
    • Vitamins
    • Dietary supplements
    • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), such as aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil®), and naproxen (Aleve®)
    • Medications that prevent blood clotting such as:
      • Warfarin (Coumadin®)
      • Clopidogrel bisulfate (Plavix®)
      • Tinzaparin sodium (Innohep®)
      • Dalteparin sodium (Fragmin®)
      • Heparin
      • Chemotherapy
  • If you are allergic to:
    • Any medications
    • Latex
    • Adhesive tape
    • Lidocaine
    • Antiseptic solution
  • If you have an infection anywhere in your body

You may have to stop taking some medications before your procedure.

One day before your procedure, someone will call you and tell you the time and location of your procedure.

Day of Your Procedure

  • Your doctor will go over the risks and benefits of having the steroid injection and ask you to sign a consent form.
  • You will be given a gown and asked to remove any clothing that covers the affected joint. You will be put in a position that allows your doctor to give you your injection. He or she may use an ultrasound to help find the best place for your injection. Your doctor will then clean the area and inject a mixture of the steroid and a numbing medication.
  • Most patients say that the injection is not painful. Any discomfort should go away in a few minutes as the numbing medication starts working. The numbing medication usually wears off in 6 to 8 hours. At this time, you may feel some soreness in your joint. It may last for up to 48 hours until the steroid medication starts to work.
  • Use cold packs to help decrease any discomfort. You can use them several times a day as needed on a schedule of no more than 10 minutes on and 10 minutes off. Do not use cold packs if you have:
    • Problems with blood supply such as Raynaud's Disease
    • Problems related to poor circulation
    • Nerve problems with poor sensation

After Your Procedure

  • Keep a dry and clean bandage or Band-Aid® over the injection site for 24 hours.
  • The site may be sore for a few days. Ask your doctor about taking pain medication.
  • Ask your doctor if there are any activities or movements that you should avoid.
  • Do not use hot or warm packs on the site for 24 hours after your injection.

Call Your Doctor or Nurse if You:

  • Have a temperature of 100.1° F (38.3° C) or higher
  • Have pain or swelling at the injection site that does not start to feel better after 48 hours
  • Develop:
    • Skin irritation
    • Increased redness
    • Warmth
    • Burning
    • Itching around the injection site
  • Have any new or unexplained symptoms
  • Have any questions or concerns

The information in this resource does not cover all possible side effects; others may occur. Please report any problems to your doctor.