Cortisone Injection (cont.)
Catherine Burt Driver, MD
Catherine Burt Driver, MD, is board certified in internal medicine and rheumatology by the American Board of Internal Medicine. Dr. Driver is a member of the American College of Rheumatology. She currently is in active practice in the field of rheumatology in Mission Viejo, Calif., where she is a partner in Mission Internal Medical Group.
William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
In this Article
- Corticosteroid (cortisone) injection of joints and soft tissue facts
- What are corticosteroids?
- Is a cortisone injection merely a pain reliever or temporary remedy?
- For what conditions are cortisone injections used?
- What are the advantages of cortisone injections?
- What are the disadvantages and side effects of cortisone injections?
- Are there special advantages in using cortisone injections for joint inflammation (arthritis)?
- Are there special side effects that can occur with cortisone joint injections?
- How are cortisone injections of soft tissues given?
- How are cortisone injections of a joint given?
- "I've always heard that cortisone injections are painful? Are they?"
How are cortisone injections of a joint given?
The method of administering a cortisone injection to a joint is similar to that of soft-tissue injections. Betadine, however, is more commonly used for sterilization of the skin over the joint. This is an important precaution to prevent introducing infection into the joint. Furthermore, if there is an excessive amount of fluid within the joint, it often is removed first with a separate syringe and needle prior to injection of the cortisone. Removal of this joint fluid allows the doctor to examine the fluid and submit a sample to the laboratory for diagnosis. Removal also rapidly relieves pain by reducing the pressure of the fluid within the joint. Finally, removal of fluid may allow the joint to heal more quickly. Resting the joint after the injection is important to allow the inflammation to decrease. Formal exercise involving the injected joint should be avoided for several days after the injection.
"I've always heard that cortisone injections are painful? Are they?"
In an expert's hands, the opposite is more often the case. That is, minimal pain from the procedure is noted while relief from the pain of the inflammation occurs rapidly. Occasionally, cortisone injections of joints that have degenerated (become damaged) or that are particularly small (such as finger joints) can be associated with temporary, minor pain at the time of the injection. This is not generally expected. Less frequently, nerves can be irritated, either directly by the needle during the injection or by the corticosteroid medication. Again, pain after the injection is not common or anticipated.
McNabb, J.W. A Practical Guide to Joint & Soft Tissue Injection & Aspiration. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2005.
Ruddy, S., Harris, E.D., Sledge, C.B., Kelley, W.N., eds. Kelley's Textbook of Rheumatology. 7th ed. Philadelphia: WB Saunders, 2005.
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