Pain levels after injection of corticosteroid to hand and elbow

Am J Orthop (Belle Mead NJ). 2003 Aug;32(8):383-5.


The goal of this study was to examine temporal pain response after injection of corticosteroid to the upper extremity (hand and elbow). Visual analog pain questionnaires were prospectively distributed to 133 consecutive patients, and pain levels were recorded for 5 days after injection. Ninety-four patients (71%) completed the questionnaire. Forty-seven (50%) of the 94 patients did not have increased pain after injection; the other 47 patients had increased pain after injection. The increased pain in 39 (83%) of the 47 patients resolved by day 5, lasting a mean of 1.2 days, and these 39 patients eventually had mean pain improvement of 71%. At day 5, 8 (17%) of the 47 patients had increased postinjection pain levels equal to or greater than their preinjection pain. The percentage of patients who transiently experienced increased pain after corticosteroid injection is quite high (50%), but most symptoms abated by day 2. We believe that these data are important for patient education.

MeSH terms

  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / administration & dosage
  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / adverse effects*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Arthritis / drug therapy
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome / drug therapy
  • Contracture / drug therapy
  • Elbow*
  • Fingers
  • Hand*
  • Humans
  • Injections
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain / chemically induced*
  • Pain Measurement
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Tennis Elbow / drug therapy
  • Tenosynovitis / drug therapy


  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones