CMC joint steroid injection

Archive, Arthritis

So today is the day, I get my steroid injection in my left (worse hand) with a view to getting the right hand done within 3 months. Opted for this instead of both together, as right hand is slightly better, so I’m waiting for it to get worse.

So what are steroid injections and where do you get them?

Steroid injections can be used to treat some problems in the arm and hand. These can include trigger fingers, tendonitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, arthritis, tennis elbow and rotator cuff tendonitis. These injections usually contain cortisone and a numbing medicine.

Mine is the CMC joint as seen below.

Cortisone is the steroid normally produced by your body, and it is a powerful anti-inflammatory. Corticosteroids tend to shrink, thin and slow things down. These steroids are different from anabolic steroids, which have been abused by athletes to build muscle and enhance performance.

I get mine in my CMC joint, which is the base of the thumb. And usually done under ultrasound for precision at MiCats. However some GP surgeries also carry them out without the ultrasound.

What happens afterwards?

The injection should take effect within a few days, and the benefits can last for many weeks or months; however, results are not the same for everyone or every problem. For some conditions, one injection solves the problem. For others, several injections may be required. There is no set rule as to how many injections a person can get. Your doctor might limit the number of injections because repeated cortisone can damage tendons and/or cartilage.

Side effects?

The most common side effect of steroid injections is known as a “flare.” This pain is felt for one or two days after the injection. It can be treated with ice and by resting the area injected.

Other side effects might include:

  • A rise in blood sugar level for diabetic patients for about five days
  • Thinning of the skin
  • “Lightening” of the skin at injection site (more common in patients with dark skin)
  • Weakening of tendons, making them more likely to rupture
  • Allergic reactions (rare)

One of the rare but more serious problems is an infection, especially if the injection was given into a joint. If you notice redness, extreme pain or heat at the injection site, or if you have a fever greater than 101° after an injection, you should call your doctor.

Hoping to get similar results as last year, I know it will increase pain for up to a week, so I’m well prepared. So fingers crossed it all goes well.

OMG that was actually horrendous, way way way more painful to previous ones, the sharpness of the needle I expected. But the joint space was really tight, and small. Having the steroid (kenalog) put in, I went hot, faint and sick all at once. I even nearly cried. So unlike me.

And the pressure was worse than just the crushing. It felt like it was going to explode!! Wow that was awful. I had to lie down for a minute or two. Thankfully it passes pretty quickly though.

Home resting with splint on, and little pillow to help rest it.

Steroid injection day

Archive, Arthritis, Health, Hips, Hypermobility

Well the day is finally here, after the disappointing Friday. Where I had an appointment but sadly no ultrasound machine to carry out the said procedure.

So, what am I having done, it’s an intra- articular injection which simply means injection directly into the inflamed joint.

The injection itself is usually quick and easy for them to perform, I say quick but to me it feels ages!! And when guided by an ultrasound machine, they can easily guide the needle directly to the inflamed area.

This time however I had the injection site through the thumb pad, not like the picture above, but like the photo below. Thicker tougher skin, I definitely felt it more this time, and the wiggling needle, seriously ouchie. And let’s not forget the joint feeling like it’s about to burst when the steroid kenalog is filling the joint space.

I came prepared with a mango coke, as last time I felt dizzy, sick and almost fainted. And this time was no different. Instantly sick feeling as needle comes out, woozy and dizzy, the sugary drink helped level me out. You have to sit around afterwards to ensure you don’t have an allergic reaction. But once my head cleared and I felt normal again, we left to go home and rest.

As you have a local anaesthetic as well the area is numbed a bit to help ease the pain of the steroid, but I will admit you still feel it a fair bit. And certainly after it wears off about an hour or two, the area will be achy and sore for a good 24-36 hours afterwards.

So no exercise or strenuous exercise on the joint while it’s sore and stiff. You may even need to brace it, juts to protect the area for a few days. Certainly what I did last time. As it’s my dominant hand, I feel it’s going to be harder to rest.