Cortisone Injections

Cortisone injections may be employed to relieve pain and inflammation in a specific area of your body. Injections can be delivered into joints, bursas, or tendon sheaths — hip, knee, ankle, foot, shoulder, elbow, wrist, hand and the spine and pelvis.

Natural corticosteroid hormone is released by the adrenal gland in response to stress. Among its actions is a potent anti-inflammatory effect. Synthetic preparations of cortisone are injected directly into the affected joint (for a more localized and potent effect) to relieve pain and reduce inflammation. The effects may last for days, weeks, months, or permanently relieve a reversible inflammation. Irreversible arthritis is not cured with cortisone, but symptoms can be temporarily improved. Used with discretion, cortisone injections are an important useful tool, and may help delay or sometimes prevent the need for surgery. One of many such conditions is ‘frozen shoulder’ also known as adhesive capsulitis. Bursitis of the shoulder, elbow, or hip often is permanently relieved with help from a cortisone injection.

Cortisone injections usually (not always) provide relief from pain & inflammation. There are, however, potential adverse side effects (skin blanching and thinning, local fat resorption, muscle and tendon weakness, local infection). Prudent dosage and frequency minimizes these risks. A transient elevation in blood sugar is common, so patients with diabetes may need to adjust medications briefly. Cortisone injection is in general a very common, safe and effective modality.