Blood glucose levels in diabetic patients following corticosteroid injections into the subacromial space of the shoulder

Alexander W. Aleem, Usman Ali M. Syed, Thema Nicholson, Charles L. Getz, Surena Namdari, Pedro K. Beredjiklian, Joseph A. Abboud

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Background: Corticosteroid injections are used to treat a variety of orthopedic conditions with the goal of decreasing pain and inflammation. Administration of systemic or local corticosteroids risks temporarily increasing blood glucose levels, especially diabetic patients. The purpose of this study is to quantify the effects of corticosteroid injections on blood glucose levels in diabetic patients with shoulder pathology. Methods: Diabetic patients who regularly monitored their blood glucose levels and were indicated for a subacromial corticosteroid injection were included in this prospective investigation. The typical normal morning fasting glucose and most recent hemoglobin A1c level was recorded for each patient. After injection, patients were contacted daily to confirm their fasting morning glucose level for 10 days post-injection. Results: Seventeen consecutive patients were enrolled. Patients with hemoglobin A1c of ≤ 7% had an average rise in blood glucose of 38 mg/dL compared to 98 mg/dL in the poorly controlled group after injection (P < 0.001). Wellcontrolled patients' glucose levels returned to near baseline levels around post-injection day 8, while poorly controlled patients levels remained elevated. Similarly, insulin-dependent diabetic patients had an average increase in fasting glucose level of 99 mg/dL versus 50 mg/dL in non-insulin-dependent diabetic patients (P < 0.001). Conclusion: After corticosteroid injection, patients with well-controlled diabetes experience smaller elevations and faster return to baseline glucose levels than patients with poor control. Insulin dependent diabetics experienced similar findings as patients with poor control. Future studies are needed to evaluate dosing to optimize the risks of blood glucose elevation while maintaining therapeutic benefit.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)315-321
Number of pages7
JournalArchives of Bone and Joint Surgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2017


  • Corticosteroid injection
  • Diabetic response to corticosteroid injection
  • Glucose response to corticosteroid
  • Pain relief with steroid injection
  • Shoulder injection
  • Shoulder pain


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