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Patient Information

Local Anaesthetic/Steroid Injections

What is a local anaesthetic/steroid injection?

These kinds of injections are given into joints to relieve pain. The common locations for the injections are the hip, knee, shoulder, ankle or foot. Sometimes an image intensifier (X-ray machine) is used when giving these injections. This is to help guide the doctor giving the injection.

How effective is it?

For many people these injections produce noticeable improvements in symptoms, but they don’t work for everybody. Unfortunately this cannot be predicted. The effects can last for weeks, months or even years. Injections can be repeated if symptoms return.

Risks and side effects

Possible side effects include:

  • Numbness or tingling in the area injected.
  • Increase in discomfort for a few days until the drugs start to work.

These side effects are temporary.

You must inform the Outpatient Injection Suite Department immediately if you:

  • are diabetic, 
  • have a cold or persistent cough,
  • have been prescribed or are taking a course of antibiotics,
  • have any drug allergies,
  • are taking Asprin or Warfarin or any other anticoagulants on a daily basis, as this may affect your procedure.

Failure to do so may result in your procedure being cancelled on the day.

What are the alternatives?

The alternatives to treatment would be for symptoms to be controlled by anti-inflammatory drugs or analgesia medication or for a course of physiotherapy.

What is injected?

There are three alternatives:

Steroid only

The steroid injection takes time to work. This means that it is usually a week before the benefit is felt.

Steroid plus local anaesthetic

The local anaesthetic is responsible for any immediate improvement but when this wears off symptoms may return. This does not mean the treatment has failed as the steroid drug takes time to work. It is usually at least a week before any benefit is felt from this.

Local anaesthetic only

The local anaesthetic is responsible for any immediate improvement but when this wears off symptoms may return.

Your doctor in Outpatients will decide the combination of drugs.

On the day of your procedure

You will be admitted to the Outpatients Department (OPD) and assessed by a named nurse. This is to make sure you are fit and ready for the injection. This is your chance to ask any questions. The doctor will also see you before carrying out the injection.

You can eat and drink as normal

You will be asked to rest in bed/chair for about 30 minutes after the injection during which time the nurse will, check the injection site and check for side effects

Information for females

The date of your last menstrual period must be known and not guessed. The procedure may be cancelled without confirmation of this. If there is any uncertainty regarding the possibility of being pregnant, please contact the scheduled care coordinator for advice and information before admission, as this may affect the procedure due to be undertaken.

After the injection

When advised by nursing staff you will be able to make arrangements for going home. You must not drive yourself home or use public transport. You may wish to have a companion (responsible adult) to stay with you overnight but this is not essential for treatment to be carried out.

For your own well-being we advise that you are collected by a relative or friend. Hospital transport can only be booked if there is a medical need and you meet the set criteria and should be arranged before your admission.

Back at home

You can remove the dressing or band-aid over the injection site after 24hrs. If you have any questions, we will be happy to advise you. Please follow any advice given to you on discharge. This is very important.

More information

If for any reason you cannot make your appointment you must let the Scheduled Care Coordinator know as soon as possible. You can contact the department on 0121 827 3835 Mon-Fri 8.30am to 4. 00pm. Your appointment will not be automatically re-booked unless you call to tell us you are not coming.

Useful contacts

Main Switchboard - 0121 685 4000
PALS - 0121 685 4128
Scheduled Care Coordinator - 0121 827 3835
Outpatients Department - 0121 685 4000 extension 55814

The Royal Orthopaedic Hospital | T: 0121 685 4000 |