knee replacement Hampton RoadsIf you are experiencing joint pain but are not quite ready for surgery, cortisone injections may be a good option for you. Injection therapy is usually used for two reasons, to treat a condition or to help address the correct diagnosis. For most patients, cortisone injections are part of a larger treatment plan. For example, cortisone injections are common for arthritis in the knee.

Why cortisone?

Cortisone injections initially work to reduce swelling and pain in the affected joints. This temporary pain relief allows for the patient to participate in physical therapy to improve the joint’s mobility, give the joint rest, and postpone surgery for those not ready for joint replacement. Cortisone injections only take a few minutes and can be administered by your orthopaedic specialist.  

How long do cortisone injections provide relief?

Most patients experience pain relief  for up to six weeks to six months, and even sometimes a year. After the first injection if no relief is given, a specialist may recommend a second injection depending on the patient. The injections must be spaced apart in order to prevent damage to the muscles, tendons, and cartilage around the injection site. If the pain persists after the first two injections, then a third injection is typically not recommended and a different plan of treatment will be discussed.

Will patients benefit from cortisone injections?

While cortisone injections do not provide relief  for all patients, the ones that do experience relief, it works great. The cortisone injection decreases inflammation in the joint and in return reduces pain. Almost immediately after the cortisone injection, pain should subside and continue to do so in the days following the injection. While cortisone injections provide temporary pain relief, injections do not heal the joint itself. Cortisone shots can cause cartilage deterioration in the joint and thinning of soft tissue and skin around the injection site, which is why doctors do not recommend more than three to four injections per year. If you still have joint pain after cortisone injections, it is important to talk to your orthopaedic specialist for a different treatment plan.

For more information about cortisone injections contact Hampton Roads Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine by calling 757-873-1554 or request an appointment online.