Arthritis is a common cause of knee pain, swelling and restriction of movement. It is estimated to affect 1 in 5 people. Excruciating knee pain can significantly affect your quality of life. Doctors generally prescribe a variety of treatments for these conditions. One option to go for is a steroid injection for the knees. This is commonly referred to as a “Cortisone injection”.
Cortisone is an anti-inflammatory medicine that treats inflammatory and degenerative conditions, including knee arthritis. When injected directly into a joint, it usually provides quick pain relief. Your doctor can provide these shots, but nowadays, they are mainly provided at specialist clinics that do them using ultrasound guidance. Doing these injections without ultrasound guidance has an estimated accuracy of 80% (1 in 5 of these may be injected outside the knee joint if done without imaging guidance, reducing its effect). If you have difficulty finding a specialist clinic near you, take this to Google and search the phrase, ‘Cortisone injections near me.’ This will give you valuable information regarding the treatment and its availability.
There are different types of injections for joint problems. Cortisone injections are one of the common treatments used to manage Osteoarthritis knee pain. These injections are administered accurately into the knee and can provide you with rapid pain relief as you plan a long-term treatment.
What Is Cortisone Injection?
Corticosteroid is a group of hormones naturally produced by the adrenal glands. They include the hormone Cortisol, which has a very important role in regulating the body’s daily functions. Cortisol is sometimes referred to as “the stress hormone” as there is increased hormone production when the body is under stress (also referred to as a fight or flight situation).
Cortisone is a synthetic form of the hormone (cortisol). An intra-articular injection (for example a knee injection) allows the medicine to exert its anti-inflammatory effect directly on the knee, and minimise systemic side effects.
Types Of Knee Issues That Calls For Cortisone Shot
There are different knee conditions in which a “Cortisone shot” can be useful:
- Osteoarthritis (degenerative wear and tear to the joint)
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Juvenile idiopathic Arthritis
- Psoriatic Arthritis
- Sports-related injuries
- Bursitis (inflammation of small fluid-filled sacs within our body)
A steroid injection for knees usually helps slow down the inflammation in your knee, but it is not a cure for the underlying problem. Therefore, it usually forms one part of the treatment. Ask your doctor or knee specialist to understand the whole management plan.
How Long Does It Take For a Cortisone Shot to Work?
Generally, doctors recommend cortisone shots for quick pain relief. The patient may feel mild pain for a few days after the injection (usually 1-2 days but can last up to a week). A cortisone injection can start working immediately but typically takes 5-7 days. It can take up to 2 weeks to notice the maximum benefit from a cortisone knee injection.
Risks And Benefits Involved In A Cortisone Shot
Steroid injections into joints are one of the most sought-after treatments for decreasing joint pain and getting temporary relief. You should always consult a doctor before having such treatment. The procedure is usually very safe and the risks are minimal. These include:
- This is very rare, estimated at 1:10000 cases
- Temporary increase in blood sugar
- Thinning of skin and soft tissue
- Tendon weakening or rupture
- Focal skin discolouration
- Cartilage damage. This is not common but can happen with repeated injections.
The benefit of these steroid injections for knees usually last for about 3 months, but the effect can be longer in some cases.
Are Cortisone Shots Expensive?
Chronic knee problems are common and therefore the cost of management is an important factor to think of. The price of a cortisone injection generally ranges from as little as £50 to as high as £800.
If you have health insurance, this may cover all or part of the costs. Most insurance companies (like BUPA) will cover the cost of these injections but your plan may involve a premium that you will need to pay. A lot of countries have national healthcare systems that provide this treatment, but the waiting time can be variable.
Do Cortisone Shots Work Permanently?
The short answer is no! Cortisone or any steroid injection for knees is usually a temporary solution, although in some cases, it can last for a few years. Combining the injection with physiotherapy and activity modification helps prolong the effect of the medicine.
Things To Keep In Mind
A cortisone shot is usually a quick and effective treatment for knee pain related to arthritis. Many clinics are using ultrasound when delivering the injection, to ensure accuracy. It is important to understand that the injection will not cure your arthritis, but usually reduces the inflammation and provides efficient pain relief that lasts for a few months. Searching on Google would help you locate nearby clinics or hospitals that provide these services. Phrases like ‘Cortisone injections near me,’ is a good way to search for these.