There are so many mysteries around the use of steroids, and far too many negative rumors; many patients panic when they hear that they need injections to treat a condition. If you are a patient of a qualified hand surgeon, you may have been told that your condition can benefit from steroid injections, and you will definitely want to follow this advice.
Why? Steroids are a very common treatment for many “inflammatory” conditions in the hand and wrist area. The term inflammation (when used in a medical setting) means that the bodys immune system is trying to protect and heal the body (MedicalNewsToday, 2015), but when inflammation goes unchecked, it can often cause more inflammation in surrounding tissue, and this can lead to many problematic issues.
When tissue of the hand is irritated and then chronically inflamed, it can cause a host of problems. Many of them can be treated with steroid injections. This is because steroids contain anti-inflammatory compounds that begin to reduce inflammation immediately.
What Are Steroids?
Steroids should not be used as a generic term, since they are found in different strengths and formats. When they are given to patients with specific hand or wrist conditions, they are most often the “cortisone” steroids, which may vary in their duration and their strength.
Usually, they are blended with a bit of local anesthetic to reduce any discomfort during the treatment, and the most common conditions treated with steroids include:
- De Quervains Tendonitis
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Trigger Fingers
Naturally, there are other conditions that benefit from such injection, but where hands are concerned these are the most common.
How Will Steroids Help My Hand Condition?
In all instances, the steroid injection is going to be given at the point where the inflammation is most severe, or at the source of the problem. The physician will make sure that the injection produces the least amount of discomfort possible, and usually the steroids begin to work within one to two days. There is no universal time line for when the steroids begin to reduce inflammation to a noticeable level, nor is it a guarantee that the injection will last as long as the physician hopes.
Fortunately, the general result of a steroid injection for a hand condition is long lasting, and capable of reducing or fully eliminating the inflammation that is causing pain or loss of function in the hand or digits. However, injections may be given in conjunction with other treatment – such as with trigger finger. This condition may respond favorably to the injection and release the tendon allowing it to glide freely, but it may eventually require surgical release, as well.
When you have any inflammatory condition of the hand or wrist, it is best to work directly with a hand surgeon to have it both diagnosed and treated. In many instances, steroid injections can be used as a long-term solution, but only when administered by an expert who monitors the condition and the results.