Ultrasound-guided injections

Steriod injections into the joints

A corticosteroid injection, guided by ultrasound, can be an effective way to treat joint pain caused by a sports injury

What are steroid injections for?

Corticosteroid injections are most often used to treat joint inflammation (synovitis), which may occur in the shoulder, knee and hip. This is often triggered by a sports injury. They may also be used to treat inflammation around tendons and ligaments.

The injection is usually a combination of anti-inflammatory steroid and local anaesthetic, with the needle being carefully guided by ultrasound. Sometimes the injection is used as a diagnostic tool, as well as a treatment.

Need to know

  • What happens during a steroid injection? icon plus

    At the time of the injection, you'll have a scan to determine the exact point of injection – this will be marked on your skin. The skin will also be cleaned with antiseptic, to avoid infection. 

    If your joint is very swollen, the radiologist will remove excess fluid with a needle. Next, the radiologist will inject corticosteroid and local anaesthetic into your joint (or the soft tissue surrounding the joint or tendon) under the guidance of the ultrasound. The procedure will typically take around 10-15 minutes.
  • How to prepare icon plus

    Your consultant will go through the procedure with you and answer any questions you might have. As this is a routine procedure, little preparation is needed.
  • After a steroid injection icon plus

    As the local anaesthetic wears off, your joint may feel sore again. This can last for a few days after the injection, but you'll start to feel the benefits from around five days.

    It may take up to a week or two to take full effect. Sometimes the injection may produced a 'steroid flare' which temporary may irritate the joint lining. In very rare cases, severe pain may indicate an infection. Your consultant will discuss any issues with you.

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From complex sports injuries to investigative tests and procedures, we provide exceptional muscle management across our network of hospitals, outpatient centres and specialist clinics.

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This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.
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