Steroid injections given into the affected joint can be a rapid and effective treatment for joint pain and inflammation. They are often used alongside other treatments, such as medication and physiotherapy.

Intra-articular steroid injections

Before the steroid injection is given, the area around the affected joint will be numbed with a local anaesthetic injection. The numbness will last about 1 to 2 hours.

Improvement is often seen within 1 to 2 days, but it may take up to 2 weeks to become noticeable.

The length of time the joint injection lasts can vary.

In rare cases a steroid joint injection can have minimal or no effect so further treatment may be required.

Following the joint injection 

  • The injected joint may be uncomfortable for a few hours after the injection. Your child may also have a temporary increase in pain.
  • Often the smaller joints cause more discomfort.
  • Your child should continue to take regular pain relief for up to 48 hours after the procedure. The pain relief medication should be gradually reduced over a few days then stopped when your child no longer needs it.
  • Your child will need to rest the injected joint for 24 hours; this usually requires a day off school. After that they can begin to move as normal but should avoid vigorous exercise such as PE or sports for a further 24 hours.
  • For the full benefit of the steroid injection to be gained it is recommended that your child is seen by your local physiotherapist as it may take a while for them to regain full strength and range of movement.

Contact information

If you notice any swelling, redness, heat or your child has worsening pain around the injection site, please contact the Paediatric Rheumatology Nurse Specialist on 07580 931 230 or the Paediatric Day Unit on 0300 422 8452/8453 for advice.

Out of normal working hours please contact NHS 111.

Printable version of this page

Advice following your child’s joint injection GHPI1674_10_21 Department: Paediatrics Review due: October 2024 PDF, 497.4 KB, 2 pages
Reference number GHPI1674_10_21
Department Paediatrics
Review due October 2024