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Steroid injections effective treatment for arthritis

Steroid injections can provide an effective means of treating patients with arthritis in their hip, according to the largest study of its kind ever conducted.

The Keele University research looked at the use of corticosteroid injections for treating hip osteoarthritis (OA), and found that these treatments had a rapid and sustained impact for patients, giving them better movement and greater pain reduction over a six-month period than those without.

The researchers recruited adults with OA being treated within Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust hospitals. All participants received advice and support. Participants were randomly split into three groups to receive no injection, a corticosteroid and local anaesthetic injection, or a local anaesthetic only injection.

The participants were asked to report their progress at intervals of two weeks, two months, four months, and six months, providing a rating of their pain from 0-10 at each interval, as well as reporting how well they could function.

The researchers found that those receiving the steroid injection had significantly reduced pain levels as well as improved ability to function over 6 months.

Publishing their findings in the British Medical Journal, the researchers Dr Zoe Paskins, Professor Edward Roddy and Professor Christian Mallen from Keele University’s School of Medicine say these findings highlight the potential of this treatment for treating moderate to severe OA in the hip, and provide more treatment choices for patients for whom treatment options are often limited.

Lead author Dr Paskins said: “So often people with hip arthritis tell us they feel their treatment options are really limited. Currently some people can access steroid injections, but it is subject to local variation and a ‘postcode lottery’. We hope these results will mean that national and international organisations will recommend steroid injections as a treatment option, and to enable more people with hip osteoarthritis to be offered the choice of steroid injections.”

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