Corticosteroid joint injections for JIA

If you have JIA that doesn’t get better with other drugs, and if only a few joints are affected, your doctor may suggest that you have corticosteroid joint injections. The corticosteroid is injected directly into the joints that are inflamed. This is also called an intra-articular injection.

Why are corticosteroid joint injections used?

Joint injections are helpful because the corticosteroid can be placed right into the inflamed joint. Because the medicine is put right where it needs to be, it does not travel through the rest of the body. Therefore, we do not see the same side effects that are seen with corticosteroids taken by mouth or IV.

The benefits of joint injections are:

• They have a low risk of side effects

• They work quickly to control active inflammation in a joint

• The initial improvement in your symptoms is often dramatic. It occurs within days to a week following the joint injection

• Injected joints may stay better for one to three months or even longer.

How are joint injections done?

Your rheumatologist will carefully inject the corticosteroid medication into your joint. This procedure can be done in a variety of ways, depending on your needs and what the doctor thinks.

Sometimes the joint injection may be done in the clinic or in a special procedure room. Sometimes it is done in an X-ray or ultrasound room. The X-ray or ultrasound is used to make sure the joint is injected correctly.

Your doctor may use a pain medication, called a local anaesthetic, to numb your skin before the injection. You might need a medicine called a sedative to help you relax for the joint injection procedure. If many joints need to be injected at one time, this may be done while you are asleep under general anaesthesia.


Generic name Most common brand name How it is given How the medication comes Side effects
Triamcinolone hexacetonide Lederlon Joint injection 1-3 times per year, as needed Injection Possible side effects

  • Risk of infection in joint (unusual if proper cleaning of skin and sterile techniques utilised)
  • Thinning of skin over joint injection site
  • Steroids injected into joints can sometimes be seen as deposits on X-rays (does not cause symptoms of pain or affect function of joint).
Triamcinolone acetonide Kenalog Joint injection 1-3 times per year, as needed Injection
Methyl-prednisolone Depo-Medrol Joint injection 1-3 times per year, as needed Injection


Important safety point about corticosteroid joint injection(s)

If, within 24 to 48 hours following a joint injection, you develop fever, redness, or increasing pain over the joint injection site, see your doctor immediately to ensure there is no infection in your joint.


Welcome to the Taking Charge: Managing JIA Online Program! In this section you will learn what to expect in the program, how to get started and how to set goals to better manage JIA.

JIA stands for juvenile idiopathic arthritis. Find out what causes JIA, the different types of JIA and how it will affect you now and in the future.

Diagnosing JIA may be difficult as joint pain and swelling may be a part of many different illnesses. Diagnosis of JIA typically includes a physical exam, blood tests and imaging studies.

Pain, stiffness, and tiredness or fatigue, are common symptoms of JIA. These symptoms can lead to difficulties with participating in school and sports activities, and enjoying time with your friends. Learn about pain, fatigue, and stiffness, how to manage symptoms and how these symptoms can cause stress.

There are several strategies you can use to help you cope with pain, stress, and sleep problems. These include relaxation, distraction, and managing your thoughts. In this section, learn more about how each of these strategies work.

When you know about your medications, you can talk to your doctor about them and make good choices for yourself. Find out about the different types of JIA medications, how they work, common side effects, and the importance of talking to your doctor about your medication plan.

Did you know that there are many other therapies that you can use to manage JIA symptoms? They can help to prevent complications so that you can do all the things you want to do. In this section, learn more about physical, occupational, and psychological therapies; maintaining healthy nutrition; surgical options for JIA, and more.

Your role in making decisions about your treatment plan is very important. Your health-care team and other members of your support system are available to help you make these decisions. In turn, they can help you to manage your JIA.

Whether you have JIA or not, you need to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Find out how to stay healthy and active, learn about puberty and relationships, healthy body image, and making healthy lifestyle choices.

Sometime between the ages of 18 to 22, you most likely will transition from your pediatric rheumatologist to the adult health care setting. At that time, there are a number of things you, your family, and your health-care team can do to help make this change go smoothly.