Shoulder Steroid Injection

This video is an example of a common procedure in the orthopedist’s office; a sub-acromial steroid injection of the shoulder. First, the skin is cleaned well with alcohol, and the injection is given just under the shoulder blade in the tissue known as the sub-acromial bursa. The injection is given for a common orthopedic diagnosis, known as impingement Syndrome, where the lubricating sac between the rotator cuff tendons and bone has become inflamed. The common injectant, in our office, is Depo-Medrol, a steroid, and a mixture of numbing medication. The goal of the steroid is to reduce inflammation in the sac and sub-acromial space, and to determine if weakness in the arm is associated with the pain of impingement or a more complicated problem such as a rotator cuff tendon tear. The numbing medication tells the physician that the injection, and therefore steroid, was given into the correct area. The numbing medication will also give short term pain relief. This may last for a few hours.

Side effects include pain, slight chance of infection, skin discoloration, flushing of the skin, and if you are diabetic may increase your blood sugar levels. Pain relief usually starts one to two weeks after the injection, and can last 6 weeks to 6 months depending on the severity of the inflammation arthritis and other shoulder problems present.