Cortisone Shots are an older term for steroid injections. An injectable steroid is like a high potency anti-inflammatory medication. These are used to reduce pain and inflammation in joints, tendons, muscle, and other areas of the body. Most commonly steroid injections are used in the treatment of arthritis and tendonitis. All of our injections at Wake Sports Medicine in Raleigh, NC are performed under ultrasound guidance. Click to learn more about Ultrasound Guided Injections.
What makes cortisone shots special?
They are incredibly powerful anti-inflammatories and provide incredibly quick relief relative to other treatments. The injections are very safe, and complications are rare. They are also only mildly uncomfortable/painful, and usually don’t take very long to administer. In review, cortisone shots are:
- Low pain
- Minimal drawbacks
How do they work?
Contrary to popular belief, a cortisone shot isn’t a pain medication. Cortisone is actually a natural steroid produced by the adrenal gland in our bodies. Natural cortisone is released into the bloodstream, but is relatively short-lived. Injectable cortisone is synthetically produced and is a close relative to your body’s own product. However, synthetic cortisone is not injected into the bloodstream. Synthetic cortisone also lasts longer and is more potent, and thus more effective. Cortisone shots usually contain a corticosteroid and a local anesthetic. It helps to treat pain by decreasing swelling, and allowing the joint, muscle or tendon to return to normal function if possible. Where pain medications work by numbing, steroids work by treating symptoms of a condition.
Side Effect Considerations
A temporary flare of pain and inflammation in the joint after the injection can occur, but usually subsides shortly after. Some residual pain and/or soreness after the injection is possible for a few hours. This can be treated by icing the treated area. Whitening around the skin where the injection occurred is also possible, although it is not harmful, it could be lasting. Other side effects are rare, but include infection, which is serious and could be harmful. Talk to your doctor about your concerns.
Wake Sports Medicine
At Wake Sports Medicine, we specialize in minimally intrusive and non-surgical orthopedic treatments. With this mindset, we are able to treat a majority of sports injuries with our expertise, incredible technology, and dedication to our patients’ long-term health. Cortisone shots are only one such of our treatment options. To learn more, check out the services listed on our homepage, or give us a call at our Raleigh, NC office (919)719-2270!