Blood glucose levels in diabetic patients following corticosteroid injections into the hand and wrist

Jeffrey G. Stepan, Daniel A. London, Martin I. Boyer, Ryan P. Calfee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Purpose To quantify diabetic patients' change in blood glucose levels after corticosteroid injection for common hand diseases and to assess which patient-level risk factors may predict an increase in blood glucose levels. Methods Patients were recruited for this case-crossover study in the clinic of fellowship-trained hand surgeons at a tertiary care center. Patients with diabetes mellitus type 1 or 2, who received a corticosteroid injection, recorded the morning fasting blood glucose levels for 14 days after the injection. Fasting glucose levels on days 1 to 7 after injection qualified as case data; levels on days 10 to 14 provided control data. A mixed model with a priori contrasts was used to compare postinjection blood glucose levels with baseline levels. We used a linear regression model to determine patient predictors of a postinjection rise in blood glucose levels. Results Of 67 patients recruited for the study returned, 40 (60%) completed blood glucose logs. There was a significant increase in fasting blood glucose levels after injection limited to postinjection days 1 and 2. Among patient risk factors in the linear regression model, type 1 diabetes and use of insulin each predicted a postinjection increase in blood glucose levels from baseline, whereas higher glycated hemoglobin levels did not predict increases. Conclusions Corticosteroid injections in the hand transiently increase blood glucose levels in diabetic patients. Patients with type 1 diabetes and insulin-dependent diabetics are more likely to experience this transient rise in blood glucose levels. Type of study/level of evidence Therapeutic III.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)706-712
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Hand Surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2014


  • Blood glucose
  • corticosteroid
  • diabetes
  • methylprednisolone


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