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What are Knee Steroid Injections?

Knee steroid injections involve administration of medicine through a needle into your hip to relieve pain and inflammation. Cortisol is a hormone that is naturally produced in the human body and functions to reduce stress and inflammation. Steroids are synthetic drugs that resemble cortisol and are used in treating joint pain. Steroid injections are often combined with other treatment options such as physical therapy, other medications, and occupational therapy.


Steroid injections are recommended by your doctor if you suffer from painful knee conditions including:

  • Knee osteoarthritis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Gout
  • Knee Bursitis


Talk to your doctor about the medicines you are taking, especially blood-thinners. Inform your doctor if you are allergic to any medicines or anesthesia. A small amount of joint fluid may be extracted and sent for diagnosis prior to the procedure.


A joint injection usually involves the following steps:

  • Your doctor may draw a few lines on the skin to mark the injection site. 
  • Your skin at the injection site is cleaned with an antiseptic solution.
  • The needle is injected into the soft tissue and advanced towards the joint and the drug is injected into the joint. Imaging guidance such as ultrasound or fluoroscopy may be used to accurately inject the drugs into the joint.
  • The steroids may be injected into a vein, muscle, soft tissue, bursa or tendon.
  • After the injection, the pressure is applied to the injection site and a bandage applied.

After the Procedure

You will need to spend some time in the recovery room under observation. At home:

  • You may be asked to ice the injection site.
  • Avoid heat exposure and any work that may stress your affected leg for a few days.
  • Take medications as prescribed.

Frequency of Injections

Joint injections may be effective for a few weeks to 6 months or longer. Treatment may involve one or more injections spread over a few weeks. Your doctor may schedule repeated treatments if necessary.


Complications are rare, but can involve:

  • Allergic reactions
  • Discoloration of skin
  • Infection
  • Bleeding
  • Tendon Rupture


Knee steroid injections have numerous advantages including:

  • Helps restore the structure and function of the hip
  • Reduces inflammation and pain
  • May make oral medications unnecessary
  • Avoids high doses of medicines which could cause side-effects


Knee steroid injections are not recommended if you:

  • Are allergic to steroids
  • Have diabetes or any hormone disorder
  • Have a knee infection or any other infection in the body
  • Have bleeding problem