Cortisone Shots for Joint Pain: Knee, Hip, Ankle, Spine, Wrist

Cortisone shots are taken for getting relief from acute body pain and also inflammation in different parts of the body. Normally, they are injected in the joints, be it the larger joints of elbow, knees, spine, ankle, hip, shoulder and wrist or the smaller joints of the fingers and the feet, cortisone shot benefits them all.

Cortisone Shots for Joint Pain

Cortisone Shots for Joint Pain

Cortisone Shot for The Knees

Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis that attacks the knee joints. In this condition, the cartilage which protects the knee bone from any damage, itself breaks down. As the bones slowly get corroded and damaged, they start paining and become stiff. Under these circumstances, Cortisone shots are taken to relieve the knee bone from the pain. It spreads throughout the covering of the knee and the joint and also reduces inflammation of any sort. The Cortisone shot is even helpful in reducing the extra fluid in the knees which might have led to the swelling around the joints. The benefit from these Cortisone injections is said to be very rapid and they start functioning within 1 to 2 days of being injected. However, it must also be remembered that the effect of a Cortisone shot does not long for more than 8 to 12 weeks and backup medications should be properly arranged by that time. One side effect of the Cortisone shots for the knee is that it destroys the cells that produce cartilage and hence, the use of Cortisone shot should be very limited.

Cortisone Shot for The Shoulders

In the shoulders, Cortisone shots help in healing the degenerated joints, tendons and also in certain musculoskeletal situations. They are also beneficial in controlling the swells of the tissues. For the shoulders, Cortisone shots are given only after a thorough diagnosis of the tissues and bones and certain reports like that of the X-ray and MRI scan or an ultrasound scan must be produced before getting any Cortisone shot. They help in treating and managing the diseases like osteoarthritis, osteolysis and partial tears in the tissues, degenerative tendonitis, adhesive capsulitis and subacromial bursitis. Even though Cortisone shots are very much effective in the treatment of these diseases attacking the shoulders, they should be the final resort for any individual. According to the specialists, once a person has done proper tests exercised and have taken all the subscribed medicines and nothing has given any fruitful result, then he can be given the Cortisone shots, that too under proper observations.

Cortisone Shot for The Elbow

Cortisone shot is very commonly used in the elbows for treating the tennis elbow. It is injected along with a local anesthetic, generally, lidocaine is used and they together act upon the affected area and help in reduction of pain and inflammation. It must be remembered that Cortisone shot is not given immediately after the diagnosis of a problem. Different medicinal alternatives should be tried and in the case of failure of them all, Cortisone shot is chosen. However, there should be a limited number of times a person takes the Cortisone shot under expert surveillance, because if a disease is not being treated by an approximate dosage of three, then the Cortisone shot is not going to be effective for the very individual, at all. It can backfire and cause various side effects instead of treating. Hence, one must be very careful while taking a Cortisone shot in both quantity and frequency. Also, some medical practitioners believe that Cortisone shot should never be given to the children as their body is not strong enough to combat the harms that follow it.

Cortisone Shot for The Hip

In cases of acute pain in the hip joints, the Cortisone shot is directly injected into the joint. These injections help in relieving the discomfort and also as a numbing medicine. The Cortisone shot reduces the inflammation in the hip joints and by reduction of this inflammation; a long-term relief from the pain is assured. However, the process of injecting Cortisone is a little complex in the case of hip joints. A live X-ray is used for the correct placing of the needle, thus avoiding any kind of injury. There might also be complaints of swollen tissues around the injected place and stiffness in the hip joint, but all the pain shall subside. For some days, there can also be an increase in the pain but slowly the Cortisone starts taking effect and helps in reduction of this pain to a great extent and for a considerably long time. Normally, Cortisone shot takes about 3 to 7 days to start functioning fully.

Cortisone Shot for The Wrist

Injecting Cortisone in the wrist area is comparatively easy for the doctors but it is said to be more painful for the patient. Some medical practitioners even avoid injecting anesthetic along with the Cortisone shot as it might cause double the pain. Usually, any X-ray or ultrasound is not needed for the wrist as all the nerves can easily be felt underneath the skin. The Cortisone shots are given for both diagnostic and also therapeutic purposes. They relieve the joint pain one can be having as well as detects if the origin of the pain is in that area. Since Cortisone shots are known for their pain-reducing powers, there might be cases where the pain is not directed from the wrist. Under those conditions, Cortisone shot also help in identifying the correct source of pain and thus in further treatment of it.

Cortisone Shot for The Ankle

After the failure of pain relievers like anesthetic and anti-inflammatory agents like a steroid, doctors prescribe Cortisone shots for the treatment of chronic pain in the ankle or for regeneration of extremely damaged tissues. There can be conditions of extreme tenderness in the ankle, swelling of the muscles, difficulty in walking due to acute pain and also the production of cracking and popping sounds while walking. In all of these, Cortisone shot has proved very beneficial by giving extreme relief for months. It is also given to avoid surgery in these cases as there are much higher chances of bone weakening and tissue damage due to surgery. Doctors use the Cortisone shots such that the affected nerves start sending out signals and these shots immediately spread over the affected tissues, hence assuring a complete relief from the roots. It has been approved by the doctors that after two Cortisone shots, the pain in the ankle is reduced a lot, tending to a very long-term relief. But again, since there are chances of Osteoporosis or thinning of bones, one should avoid taking more than two Cortisone shots in a very small time gap. Also, the people suffering from diabetes or other infections and allergies should refrain from taking Cortisone shots without medical supervision.

Cortisone Shot for The Spine

In the spinal cord, several issues of tissue dissolving and incapability to stabilize the body defenses have been registered. Cortisone shots help in treating these disorders along with suppressing the inflammation in the joints. It is also very beneficial in removing the cyst from the spinal cord easily. It also acts as a positive catalyst in certain cases when a patient is already on the medication, but the healing process is too slow. In such conditions, Cortisone shots accelerate the healing process without harming the body much and give a long lasting relief. However, if the Cortisone shot is injected directly into the joint, it softens the cartilage which is the base fluid in the spine. The softening of cartilage is the weakening of the whole bone structure, but this is not a very fast process. Cortisone shots can also affect the tendons if they are directly injected into them, hence careful measures must be taken before going for any Cortisone shot.

How Often Can One Get A Cortisone Shot?

As the Cortisone shots have a lot of side effects like nausea, dizziness, insomnia, stomach pain, thinning of the skin, frequent mood swings, headache, drying of the skin, discoloration of the skin and also acne on the face, they are not very highly advocated medicinal resort. Hence, it is not at all recommended by the doctors to take a Cortisone shot very frequently because of such high number of side effects. But at the same time, it also must be remembered that these side effects become very evident when the shots are taken in high dosage. A small amount of Cortisone shot can prove to be a boon to people suffering from acute pain and complaints of inflammation. Therefore, the number of these shots should be limited to maximum three times in a year, according to the specialists for the smooth functioning of the other body parts. In some cases, the number can exceed four, but generally, improvement is observed much before any patient reaches the limit of getting injected.

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:April 23, 2019

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