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What can it do?

Welcome to the beta Arthritis Virtual Assistant. At the moment it can give you general information about your condition and medication, and provide you with useful exercises to help manage your arthritis.

Why do we need your help?

The Arthritis Virtual Assistant has been built to learn and improve with every use. That way, whenever you use it, you’re indirectly helping another person get the answers that they need for their arthritis.

What can you ask?

You'll get the best response if your question relates to a single type of arthritis, and is expressed as clearly and simply as possible. For example, "What are the best exercises for osteoarthritis?" or "What are the side effects of methotrexate?"


Are you sure you want to close your conversation?

Your conversation will not be visible the next time you visit the Arthritis Virtual Assistant. If you want to keep a copy of the advice you've been given, you can print it using the button at the top of the chat window.

How would you rate your experience so far?


Arthritis Virtual Assistant

The Arthritis Virtual Assistant is being developed into a brand new type of tool which will help you to get the answers you need for your type of arthritis.

This automated chat service is designed to provide general information about your condition and ways you can manage it. It’s been developed from over 80 years of our research work and also learns from the experiences of its users. It’s a ‘beta’ version which means it’s still learning from you, and others. It uses artificial intelligence to decide which are the best responses to give you and it will improve each time it’s used. The better the information we can provide then the more people we can help to manage their condition too.

The advice in this service isn’t a substitute for professional medical advice so we’d always recommend speaking to your doctor about your treatment. When you use the Arthritis Virtual Assistant, you’ll be asked for your first name and the type of arthritis you have, there’s no need to tell us anything more personal than that.

By using the Arthritis Virtual Assistant you confirm that you understand and accept the terms of use and consent to how we will use the information you provide.

Helpline 0800 5200 520 More information

Call us for free information, help and advice on your type of arthritis.

All calls are recorded for training and quality purposes.
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> > > > How do I have steroid injections and how long do they take to work?

How do I have steroid injections and how long do they take to work?

A GP, rheumatologist, orthopaedic surgeonrheumatology nurse or physiotherapist will choose the most appropriate steroid mixture and dose for your condition and symptoms. They may want to check your blood pressure and blood sugar before your first injection as steroid injections can cause these to rise.

They might delay the injection if either is raised. Depending on where the pain and inflammation is, steroids can be injected:

  • directly into an inflamed joint (intra-articular injection)
  • into the soft tissues close to the joint (peri-articular injection)
  • into a muscle (intra-muscular injection).

Most injections are quick and easy to perform. An ultrasound scan, however, may be used to find exactly where the inflammation is so the steroid can be injected into a precise spot. However, many injections can be given without the need for ultrasound.

Sometimes you'll be given a local anaesthetic with the steroid to reduce the discomfort of the injection. If you do have a local anaesthetic, your pain should be relieved within minutes but it'll usually wear off within half an hour unless the anaesthetic selected is long acting. You may have some numbness from the anaesthetic which may last up to 24 hours.

You may want to arrange transport home after the injection, especially if you've had a local anaesthetic, because numbness from the anaesthetic can make it difficult to drive.

If you have an injection into a joint, you should rest it, or at least avoid strenuous exercise, for the first 1–2 days. It's also important, however, not to rest for too long. If you're having a course of physiotherapy, the physiotherapist may be keen to give more intensive mobilisation treatment after the injection, while your joint is less painful.

If the injection is very helpful, and other treatments are either unsuitable or less effective for you, it may be repeated if necessary. However, injections are often most useful in buying time while you and your doctor are finding the right medications to control your arthritis in the long term. Once your arthritis is well controlled the need for injections should be reduced.

How long do local steroid injections take to work?

A number of different steroids are available for injection. Short-acting soluble steroids can give relief within hours and should last for at least a week. The longer-acting, less soluble steroids may take around a week to become effective but can ease your symptoms for two months or longer.


0800 5200 520

Our new helpline: Call us for free information, help and advice on your type of arthritis. Open Mon–Fri 9am–8pm.

All calls are recorded for training and quality purposes

Virtual Assistant

Our new Arthritis Virtual Assistant uses artificial intelligence to answer your arthritis related questions 24/7.

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Arthritis Research UK fund research into the cause, treatment and cure of arthritis. You can support Arthritis Research UK by volunteering, donating or visiting our shops.