Knee pain can be so severe that it becomes debilitating. Fortunately, today many treatments are available that can help overcome the pain, including cortisone shots.
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The proper name for cortisone is corticosteroid, and, like the name indicates, it is a steroid. According to the Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine Department of the University of Washington, "Cortisone injections into joints have been used to relieve arthritis symptoms--including pain, swelling, and inflammation--for over 50 years."
You will likely experience pain relief immediately after the first injection because the liquid often contains a local anesthetic, which is similar to the Novocain your dentist uses. The benefit of an injection may last anywhere from a few days to more than 6 months, according to KneePainInfo.com.
In addition to the obvious benefit of pain relief, the shot is not particularly painful to get. It is also very convenient because it can be done quickly in an office setting. Cortisone shots may result in a significant delay of further, more invasive surgery, such as knee replacement.
There is a small risk of an allergic reaction to the steroid or infection from the needlestick. Your arthritis may flare up a couple of days after the shot. You may experience discolouration of the skin in the injection site.
There is conflicting data regarding the risks associated with steroid shots. According to the University of Washington, your arthritis won't deteriorate and you do not risk any damage to your organs as long as you use reasonable doses of steroids. CaringMedical.com maintains otherwise: "Cortisone and other steroid shots have adverse affects on bone, cartilage and soft tissue healing." KneePainInfo.com seconds this opinion.
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