Other Names: Cortisone, Hormones, Catabolic Steroids, Corticosteroids.
What are they? Steroids are hormones normally produced by your body, and are essential for survival. They are also potent agents
against inflammation. These are not the same “steroids” used by some athletes to artificially promote muscle bulk!
Are they dangerous? Of course! Just like water, in small quantity it can quench you, and in large quantity it can drown you! In high doses,
as used by some athletes or in patients with a serious disease, steroids can affect many systems in your body. This is, however,
specifically related to type of steroid, dose, duration of treatment and other diseases, such as diabetes.
How are they given? Steroids can be given by mouth, by injection or intravenously. We usually use them in the form of a local injection
(triamcinolone or betamethasone) or triamcinolone cream. Ultrasound or low voltage electricity may be used to drive the steroid across
skin and scar.
What are the side-effects? A local steroid injection is usually given along with a numbing medicine. Numbness can therefore be expected
for a few hours. A “flare-up” with discomfort is occasionally experienced for a couple of days. Full benefit and relief of symptoms may not
be experienced for up to a month after a treatment. Other possible side-effects, which are usually temporary, are a discoloration or
thinning of the skin in the area of treatment. A local rash may develop from the use of the cream. Infection and tendon rupture are also
rare but potential problems.
Why then are steroids used? Steroids are excellent medications which have proven effective in the treatment of inflammatory disorders,
such as tendonitis. When used appropriately, their side-effects are minimal and transient. As such, their advantages outweigh any