The potency of the shot depends of the severity of the ailment that you are suffering from. Here are the likely side effects of cortisone shot in the knee:. If you have been prescribed blood thinners, have broken or brittle bones or are pregnant, it is generally advised for you to avoid the cortisone injection. Medical professionals also do not recommend administering the cortisone shot to individuals who are already suffering from some sort of infection, which includes skin infection or suffer from septic arthritis.
For chronic conditions, individuals may be administered more than one shot over time. However, it is recommended that the number of shots administered to a particular individual at a particular location be limited to 3 or 4 cortisone shots a year. In conclusion, cortisone injections are used to reduce the inflammation or swelling, heat and redness of an area of the body.
While the shot is relatively painless, the location where the shot has been administered is quite important when determining the pain that would be felt by the patient. Additionally, it is also important to note that whether or not the shot is being administered along with local anesthesia is also important when it comes to determining the level of pain to be experienced by the individual.
The shot is generally quite safe to be administered. However it is important to check whether the individual to whom this shot is being administered to be allergic to the drug that is being used in the product. Additionally, medical professionals usually do not recommend that this injection be administered to individuals who have been prescribed blood thinning medication.
If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, it is important that you inform your doctor before you undergo this procedure. The cortisone shot is not without its side effects. This will cause the discomfort or pain of the knee the location where the shot has been administered to increase for some time before the cortisone starts to work. The pain and swelling of the knee may increase due to the crystallization of the steroid which is present in one dose of the cortisone shot.
In some cases it has been observed that the area where the shot has been administered may become discolored or it may start to lose fat and become thinner. This may result in permanent pimples appearing on the knee. The soft tissues around the knee joint may also be affected due to this. The bones located near the knee joint have a possibility of getting thinned out due to the administration of this drug and in some cases it may even die.
Many treatments for OA target inflammation to reduce pain. Direct injection of corticosteroids into the joint is a standard treatment for knee OA. However, the treatment is somewhat controversial with regard to the benefit of both single and repeated injections; evidence that they are beneficial comes from small studies that showed only modest improvements.
McAlindon, M. The patients, whose average age was 58 years, were divided into two groups and injected with a corticosteroid called triamcinolone or saline every three months. During quarterly visits, researchers evaluated participants for overall knee pain, stiffness and the impact these symptoms had on their daily activities. They underwent magnetic resonance imaging MRI scans each year so investigators could monitor their knee cartilage.
The study was a double-blind trial, meaning that neither the investigators nor the patients knew who was in the steroid or saline group. The results revealed no differences between the two groups in terms of knee pain, function or stiffness at any of the 3-month visits.
Because of the timing for participant visits, these results cannot be compared with studies reporting short-term benefits between one and four weeks following injection. MRI measurements revealed thinning of knee cartilage in both groups by the end of the study. But loss of cartilage in the steroid group was significantly greater than in controls, with the average change in cartilage thickness being This more rapid thinning may be due to the known effects of corticosteroids on tissue breakdown.
Osteoarthritis is the primary reason that more than a million joints mostly hips and knees are replaced each year in the US. Surgery is usually the last resort, reserved for people who have declining function, unrelenting pain, or both despite trying other treatments such as pain relieving, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs NSAIDs such as ibuprofen Advil, others or naproxen Aleve, others , or injections of steroids or hyaluronic acid a type of lubricant. Nonmedication approaches can also help, such as loss of excess weight, physical therapy, or use of a cane or brace.
Steroid injections can quickly relieve inflammation in the joints, and the effects may last from several weeks to several months. These included:. Other side effects include a temporary increase in blood sugar, bleeding into the joint, and, quite rarely, infection. And, of course, the injection itself can be painful, although numbing medication is usually provided.
The authors suggest that doctors order x-rays before each injection and not perform injections if there is evidence of any of these complications or unexplained pain. The findings of this report regarding injections of steroids for knee and hip osteoarthritis are disappointing, especially for those who have not improved with other treatments.
Though temporary, some people do report significant improvement with steroid injections. And, from my own experience, the rates of complications seem high to me. That said, a study did find that people getting steroid injections had more thinning of joint cartilage than those getting placebo injections. If it is not terribly helpful, I would not encourage repeated injections. On the other hand, if it works well, a limited number of injections up to three or four per year is a common limit may reduce pain and improve function and quality of life.
Restricting the injections to those who improve the most and limiting the number of injections each year may be a better strategy than eliminating steroid injections altogether, especially since the most serious side effects are quite rare. As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.
Thanks for visiting. Don't miss your FREE gift. Sign up to get tips for living a healthy lifestyle, with ways to fight inflammation and improve cognitive health , plus the latest advances in preventative medicine, diet and exercise , pain relief, blood pressure and cholesterol management, and more. For knee and hip arthritis, steroid injections should never be the sole treatment. You will typically see a specially trained radiologist for a hip corticosteroid injection.
Before injecting the steroid, your doctor will clean the skin and inject or spray your skin with an anesthetic to prevent you from feeling the needle stick. A numbing drug like lidocaine may also be mixed into the injection. Some soreness is common in the first few days after the shot.
Apply ice to the area to relieve pain. Other possible side effects include infection, nerve damage, skin discoloration and weakening of nearby bones osteoporosis. But these are rare. Within one to four days after you get the injection, the steroid should kick in and start providing relief.
The duration of pain relief varies based on the severity of the arthritis. The effects of the injection can last for three months or more in someone with mild-to-moderate arthritis, but those with more severe arthritis could have a return of symptoms within a few weeks. You can repeat the injections once every three or four months, but no more than four times a year. Overdoing it on steroids could actually hasten joint damage, Golnick says.
Corticosteroid shots can be one part of a comprehensive arthritis treatment strategy. Our expert explains what you need to know.
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