Experience with steroid shots for arthritic joints?

Anybody had this done? What sort of relief or success did you have? I’m considering asking the doc to do this, as I have several finger joints that cause me a lot of pain. Since I like woodworking and am taking up the guitar, this significantly limits me. During my last week-long woodworking class, I was taking Aleve every day, but continued use of NSAIDS is not a good solution, and it only provides partial relief from the pain/inflammation. At this point, the basal joints of my thumbs ache and the end joint on my right hand ring finger is so painful and swollen that it hurts to even type. Comments welcome.

I’m not a doctor, but I’m a frequent patient. :slight_smile:

I haven’t done it for arthritic joints, but I have had a handful of steroid shots. I had some bad tendinitis in my foot, and the shots were like little miracles. I had radial tunnel syndrome in my right arm, and had a steroid shot for that. It didn’t help as much, but I was warned in advance that it might not.

The shot itself didn’t hurt at all. If it’s something the doctor does often, he should be good at it. My podiatrist actually used an ultrasound to help him place the needle.
I did discuss the NSAID issue with my GP. He was perfectly happy to give me Mobic, as long as I was having certain blood work done every three months to make sure I was tolerating it well. Since I see him every 3-6 months to check my blood sugar, it was easy for me. Six months ago, he suggested I start taking Prilosec with the Mobic to help protect against ulcers.

I’d expect the shot to provide temporary relief, but not to solve resolve arthritis. It’s great at breaking a cycle of rubbing/inflammation/pain.

I had a cortisone shot in my shoulder a couple of years ago which was a huge help for what I did to it. Then again, I had one in my foot for plantar’s, which hurt like a bitch and did nothing. I know that it won’t give permanent relief, but even a few months would be a relief.

My husband just had his second set for the osteoarthritis in his spine. We have friends for whom the shots didn’t work and friends for whom the shots were miracles. My husband is in between. He has some relief but is not pain free. He can walk and stand a little better, so we are happy.

The shots themselves were painless.

I have them regularly for rheumatoid arthritis and they do help a bit. I’ve heard good stories from other sufferers too, especially when it’s for a specific area of the body (mine isn’t). Injected steroids seem to have fewer side-effects than oral, so bear that in mind when considering the downsides.

Had one for my knee. Did nothing. Now I’m getting a series of shots supposed to cushion the joint with some lube or something; I’ve had two of the three and so far, nothing. On the plus side, none of the shots hurt.

My dad had no relief in his hand, but a shot in the elbow (for “tennis elbow” (not from tennis)) completely cured it, years ago.

Rule of thumb:

Steroids help in a joint (and elsewhere) if the problem causing the pain is inflammatory in nature, like rheumatoid arthritis, tendonitis, bursitis, etc.

Steroids won’t help in a joint if the problem causing the pain is degenerative in nature, like osteoarthritis.

Lotsa exceptions to that rule, with particular diseases and situations.

Out of curiousity, since the OP feels that Aleve is helping, would that make it likely that the steroid would provide release too? Or is there another mechanism that Aleve could be helping with outside of inflammation?

Aleve (naproxen) and steroids both inhibit prostaglandins (among other actions). This inhibition is what is felt to reduce pain, independently of both drugs’ anti-inflammatory activities.

Is it Supartz or one of the other synovial fluid supplements? I went through two series of them in my right knee and one series in my left. It helped me for six months or so, but not enough for the expense and hassle of getting a weekly shot for five weeks, especially considering the limited benefit and short duration of the relief.

And one of the shots did hurt, it hurt a lot. I don’t know what happened on that one.

Better information than I got from my own doctor. I’m pretty sure this is osteo, as that is what was diagnosed with my other hand problems. It seems like this particular knuckle is inflamed, however, and is swollen, which I don’t get with the other joints. Aleve sorta helps, but only in reducing the pain a bit, and only after a few days. Long term, this is not good stuff to keep pumping into one’s stomach. It’s been several weeks since I saw him, and it’s as painful as it was back then, his assurances of subsidence notwithstanding.

I only have to get three weekly shots and am ready for #3 on Thursday. I think it’s called Synvisc. A couple of other people have mentioned that it lasted about 6 months, and that’s what the doctor said; but he also said I can get another series in six months. If it helps I would do it but so far no signs of helping. Expense would probably keep me from it but so far insurance is paying.

I’ve been getting spinal shots from time to time over the past few years. I am always pleased with the results. For my procedure, the actual procedure is very painful, even though they dope me up good. But I don’t care. It brings my daily pain down to a tolerable dull roar.

My procedure is different from yours so of course ymmv.

There are unpleasant side effects. I have annoying hot flashes in my sleep. I smell slightly different (not bad, just different) and I get mood swings about a week afterward.

Oh yeah. Sometimes acne, too.

When I’m spelling out the side effects here, they sound awful, put the pain reduction is worth it all.

You should, however, google a disease called “arachnoiditis.”'That is a rare but serious condition you can get from cortisone injections. You should ask your doctor about the risk of getting this condition from the type of treatment they are giving you. Despite knowing the risk, for me and my treatment and my disease, the benefits clearly outweigh the risks and my quality of life has been improved immeasurably!

Thank you, sir. Always interested in learning a little more, especially when it deals with joint pain.

I’ve done the Synvisc thing for my knees. Seemed to work well for me, but the treatment also involved taking about a month off from running. I did feel good for many months afterwards.

I had shots in my thumb joints, helped a lot for six months,not so much now.
Had one in my left knee a year ago,reduced swelling and pain in a few days.Still working.