(Steroid Joint Injection; Cortisone Joint Injection; Corticosteroid Joint Injection; Cortisone Shot)
Reasons for Procedure
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- Worsening pain
- Damage to skin and tissue
- Worsening of other conditions (eg, diabetes)
- Tendon rupture
- Hypopigmentation (loss of skin color)
- Joint infection (small risk)
- Flushing (may include chills, shaking, and headache)
- Chest or stomach pain
What to Expect
Prior to Procedure
- Have had no relief from previous injections
- Take blood-thinning drugs, such as warfarin (Coumadin), or anti-platelet drugs, such as clopidogrel (Plavix)
- Have uncontrolled diabetes
Description of the Procedure
How Long Will It Take?
Will It Hurt?
- Apply an adhesive bandage to the injection site.
- Put your joint through range of motion.
- Apply ice to the injection site for 15 minutes.
- Follow your doctor’s instructions for caring for the injection site.
- Ask your doctor about when it is safe to shower, bathe, or soak in water.
- Avoid strenuous activity with the injected joint for several days.
- Your doctor may recommend non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicine (NSAID) for pain. You may need it during the first few days.
- Your symptoms may get worse for 24-48 hours after the injection. You may also have a steroid flare. You can apply ice to the injected joint for 15 minutes at a time. Always wrap ice in a towel. Do not apply it directly to your skin.
- Be sure to follow your doctor’s instructions.
Call Your Doctor
- Warmth or swelling at the injection site
American College of Rheumatology http://www.rheumatology.org/
The Arthritis Foundation http://www.arthritis.org/
The Arthritis Society http://www.arthritis.ca/
Public Health Agency of Canada http://www.phac.gc.ca/
Beddoe AE, Schub T. Pain, chronic. CINAHL Nursing Guide. EBSCO Nursing Reference Center website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/biomedical-libraries/the-cinahl-database. Updated January 20, 2012. Accessed May 28, 2012.
Cardone DA, Tallia AF. Diagnostic and therapeutic injection of the hip and knee. Am Fam Physician. 2003;67(10):2147-2152.
Cardone DA, Tallia AF. Joint and soft tissue injection. Am Fam Physician. 2002;66(2):283-289.
MacMahon PJ, Eustace SJ, Kavanagh EC. Injectable corticosteroid and local anesthetic preparations: a review for radiologists. Radiology. 2009;252:647-661.
Reilly DT. Ask the doctor: should I be worried about the side effects from cortisone shots? Harv Health Lett. 2012;37(6):8.
- Reviewer: Kari Kassir, MD
- Update Date: 07/25/2012 -
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
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