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What if I need further information or advice?
You can contact:
Rheumatology Helpline
Elaine Parsons/Eunice Kendall/Emma Inness
Clinical Nurse Specialists
01865 737656 answer machine
Jo Sheehan
Physiotherapy 01865 738087
(08 30 am – 4.00 pm Monday to Friday)
Hannah Trendall
01865 738049
(9.00 am – 5.00 pm Monday – Friday)
All About Joint Injections
An information leaflet for
Parents / Carers
Children Day Ward at Children’s Hospital (John Radcliffe)
01865 234148 / 234149
(08.00am – 6.00pm Monday to Friday)
© Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre NHS Trust
Paediatric Rheumatology/ patient information/ version 1
Date Produced: Dec 2006 by P Barnes
Updated: March 2011 by E. Kendall/E Parsons
Review Date: March 2013
Children's Services
Are there any complications?
This leaflet aims to answer questions and help parents/ carers
to understand why their child needs a joint injection. It also
explains the effectiveness and possible side effects of
What is it?
A joint injection involves an injection of a steroid medicine into
the joint space of an inflamed joint. This may be done under
local or general anaesthetic depending on the age and ability
of the child to tolerate the procedure.
1. Subcutaneous fat atrophy (loss of fat under the skin) at
the site of injection is an uncommon complication. This
usually presents as a small dimple at the injection site and
may resolve over time. Sometimes the skin at the same site
loses its normal pigmentation (skin colour) as well.
2. Infection of the injected joint is very rare. If after the
injection your child develops a very painful, swollen, hot
and red joint, then you should contact the Paediatric
Rheumatology helpline or the ward where your child stayed
when they had the procedure or your GP urgently, i.e., the
same day.
When is this treatment used?
This treatment is used in arthritis that has not settled
adequately with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
Following their joint injection your child should continue to
take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications as directed
by your doctor.
How effective is this treatment?
Most children respond very well to joint injections with relief of
swelling and pain in a short period of time. Children with
oligoarticular Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (affecting four or
less joints) and those in whom arthritis has been present for
only a short period, generally respond very well, with the
arthritis going away completely for 3-12 months, occasionally
much longer. Approximately 50% of children who receive
joint injections remain free of disease for at least 6 months.
Only a very small number of children do not respond to this
treatment at all.
What if my child has to have a general anaesthetic?
Children under eight or those who are having multiple joint
injections usually have these done under a general
anaesthetic. Arrangements will be made for your child to be
admitted to the Children’s Day Ward at the Children’s Hospital
(John Radcliffe). You will receive instructions from the hospital
about one week before and this will include advice on missing
food/drink before the procedure.
Your child does not have to stay overnight in the hospital. Your
physiotherapist and doctor will make arrangements for when
and where to have follow up physiotherapy and discuss
exercises with you.
Are there any precautions we should take after a joint
Your child should rest for the first 24 hours following the joint
injection. Following this, regular activities should be resumed,
this includes going to school, taking part in PE.