CORTICOSTEROID (INTRARTHICULAR) JOINT INJECTION
Intra-articular corticosteroids or steroids are medicines injected directly into the joint space of a painful, inflamed arthritic joint. Steroids taken by mouth (orally) are not used for osteoarthritis.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
Steroids are similar to natural substances produced by the body (hormones) that help reduce inflammation. If inflammation is not a symptom of your osteoarthritis, steroids are less likely to be helpful.
Steroids may be used to reduce inflammation in tendons and ligaments in osteoarthritic joints.
Corticosteroids may relieve pain caused by osteoarthritis for a short amount of time (weeks to months),
If corticosteroid injections are helpful, symptoms may improve for weeks to months. Some people get long-term relief of 6 months or more with a single cortisone shot. If you have a moderate amount of fluid in the joint, your chances of responding are probably better.
The standard of practice is that steroid injections should be given only 3 or 4 times a year in a single joint area.
A common side effect of arthritis shots is pain and swelling the first day or two after the shot. It may help to apply ice at home for 15 to 20 minutes.
Injecting anything into a joint or tendon has a very small risk of harm, including:
Because of these risks, most doctors limit their patients to just a few steroid shots in a year.