Cortisone Injections – How Do They Work and How Long Do They Last?

Most people have heard of cortisone injections to relieve discomfort from injuries or areas of damage including shoulder and knee arthritis, tennis elbow, bursitis but might not understand how they work or if they are a candidate.

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Cortisone is a powerful anti-inflammatory.

How Do Cortisone Injections Work?

The cortisone in the injection is a type of steroid that works by reducing inflammation in the affected area. Many people think cortisone is a pain reliever, which isn’t the case. Pain relief comes as a result of the inflammation diminishing.

The medication is not injected into the blood stream, but rather directly into damaged joint or bone area. Even after injected it does not travel to the blood stream, but stays concentrated at the injection site.

How Many Injections Can I Get In a Year?

While there isn’t an exact number, and it really depends on the location that the injection is being given as well as the diagnosis.

For example, for tennis elbow, shoulder bursitis or tendonitis no more than 1 or 2 injections should be given; additional ones could cause more damage to the tendons. The injections for these conditions are expected to “fix” the problem. If the injections are not working than there could be some small tears that need to be addressed.

For knee arthritis, injections can be given 3-4 times per year but over many years can cause additional deterioration. Therefore this frequency is not recommended in younger individuals. These injections will NOT “fix” the arthritis but simply help relieve the pain and swelling.

Do Cortisone Injections Hurt?

While getting a cortisone shot isn’t any more painful than receiving a flu shot, there is some discomfort.

Having the shot administered by an orthopedic surgeon, like Dr. Goradia, can alleviate some discomfort, as they know exactly where to place the needle and have more experience.

If you are in pain most of the time and it is impacting your daily life, cortisone injections might be a good non-surgical treatment option for you. Contact our office or click to make an appointment with Dr. Goradia who can evaluate your condition and provide the best treatment options for you.