Have you heard anything about people with diabetes avoiding steroid injections? I have an ongoing problem with trigger finger(s) and was told to avoid steroid injections. Is this really true?
There is some evidence that some patients with diabetes and trigger fingers have more trouble keeping tight control on their blood glucose (sugar) when injected with steroids. And since hand problems like trigger finger are common with diabetes, this information is important to pay attention to. The effect of steroid injections is to reduce inflammation, which would also reduce (and possibly eliminate) pain and the nodules that form around the tendons. A recent study was done in Malaysia to compare treatment of trigger finger with injectable steroids versus injectable nonsteroidal antiinflammatory medication. Two groups of patients were compared: those with diabetes and those without diabetes. They did find that although the early results (after three weeks) were better with the steroid injections, the later results (after three months) were the same between the two groups. These two types of injections have different ways in which they work but they do both provide the same pain relief and decrease in inflammation. Patients with diabetes who develop trigger fingers can be treated effectively with injections that don't affect glucose (blood sugar) levels. They get the same benefit as with steroid injections (that do affect blood sugars) -- just at a slightly slower rate. In other words, steroids work faster but changes with NSAIDs catch up by the end of 90 days.