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Joints inflamed from arthritis can cause you persistent pain and stiffness. Corticosteroid (also known as steroid) injections are one treatment option for this discomfort. Injections are a good option if you are not getting relief from oral anti-inflammatory meds, don’t want to have joint replacement surgery, or are not a good candidate for surgery.

The knee and hip joints are areas of the body that are commonly treated with steroid injections to minimize pain and swelling. But it’s important you know what to expect before deciding to have such a treatment.

Knee Steroid Injections

Steroid injections in the knee offer some immediate and long-term relief thanks to their two main compounds: a numbing medication and corticosteroid. The mixture is injected directly into the part of your knee experiencing pain. The medications will provide some immediate relief, and the steroid’s effects may take a few days to about a week to feel the full effect. Knee joint injections can provide relief for a few days to more than six months depending on the severity of your arthritis. Keep in mind that although these injections are a great alternative to oral medications and knee replacements, repeated injections can potentially break down cartilage in your knee. So generally, injections are spaced out, usually every three months. Also, there is some evidence that knee injections should not be performed close to the time of knee replacement surgery. There is strong research about the efficacy of steroid injections in the knee for osteoarthritis pain relief and most insurances cover the treatment.

Hip Steroid Injections

Hip joint injections also include a corticosteroid to reduce inflammation and a numbing medicine for immediate pain relief. These injections are more challenging to perform and an x-ray or ultrasound is used to identify the best injection spot to target the pain and inflammation. It may take a few days to a week or so to feel relief. Again, how long the relief lasts vary between patients and can last anywhere from a few days to months.

If you believe you may be a good candidate for knee or hip injections, talk to your orthopaedic doctor about the pain you are experiencing and your interest in steroid injections.

Weekly Health Tips are brought to you by UCF Health, the College of Medicine’s physician practice. Offering primary and specialty care under one roof, UCF Health treats patients age 16 and up in primary care and age 18 and up for specialty care. Most major insurance plans are accepted. Two locations are now open: the original in East Orlando at Quadrangle and University boulevards just blocks from the main UCF campus, and the newest one in Medical City at Narcoossee Road and Tavistock Lakes Boulevard. Information for both facilities can be found at, or call (407) 266-DOCS to schedule an appointment.

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