Steroid injections are a good treatment choice for some patients with knee osteoarthritis or shoulder rotator cuff problems. There are different formulations of steroids available for such use.
In this study, researchers compare the results from two kinds of steroids: methylprednisolone and betamethasone. Patients with knee or shoulder pain were included. The study used a double-blind method. This means neither the surgeon nor the patients knew which type of steroid was used.
Pain was the main result measured. They looked at pain levels immediately after injection and again three days later. A final measure was taken three weeks after the injection.
The results showed all patients had immediate pain relief with the injection. There was an increase in pain several days later. This increase didn't last. At the end of three weeks, everyone in both groups reported improved pain levels.
The authors say these findings support their own experience giving steroid injections for joint pain. They suggest that patients should be told what to expect including the short-term ups and downs in pain control.
Patients with high levels of pain to begin with seemed to have the best results. All patients had significant pain relief between three days and three weeks after the first injection.
Ronit Wollstein, MD, et al. Evaluating Short-Term Pain After Steroid Injection. In The American Journal of Orthopedics. March 2007. Vol. 36. No. 3. Pp. 126-131.'