So many of us, in the long run get aches and pains in joints during workouts, and doctors offer to inject steroids into the joints
to help recovery and healing times. Are these drugs similar to anabolic steroids? Let's take a closer look and find out!
Simply put, no, they're not similar. The steroid that doctors inject into painful, inflamed joints are corticosteroids. These drugs are used for their anti-inflammatory action, and they do not possess any anabolic properties.
Three different types of steroid hormones are made naturally in the body from cholesterol:
Corticosteroids: have an anti-inflammatory effect during periods of stress (e.g. Cortisol).
Mineralo-corticoids: control salt and water balance within the body (e.g. aldosterone).
Sex hormones: control reproductive functions (testosterone in men, estrogen and progesterone in women).
Testosterone-like hormones are the only steroids with anabolic actions, such as promoting nitrogen balance, tissue repair and muscle growth. Corticosteroids are catabolic hormones, which have opposite effects producing weight loss, muscle weakness and a negative nitrogen balance.
For example, if your knee is inflamed, an intra-articular injection of a corticosteroid such as Depo-Medrol will ease the pain. The drug acts within the joint, and doesn't venture out into the rest of your body to unleash an uncontrolled catabolism. So don't worry. Your muscles won't melt away during the drive home from the doctor's office. You should also realize that your doctor is not suggesting you get all juiced up with an injection of anabolic steroid!