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Cortisone injections

What is Cortisone?
Cortisone is a powerful anti-inflammatory steroid that works by reducing inflammation around tissue and can reduce soft tissue swelling. This reduces pain, and sometimes the effects can be very dramatic if the injections are carried out effectively.

How are cortisone injections done?

The secret to success with cortisone injections is to administer them as accurately as possible to the site of injury or inflammation. This is where the diagnostic skills of the Orthopaedic Physician come into their own. Once the diagnosis has been made, a low dose of cortisone, usually combined with local anaesthetic is introduced. Sometimes, a local anaesthetic injection is given first for maximum patient comfort.

Dr Allfree is an Orthopaedic Physician, and he has had extensive experience in the administration of cortisone injections for mechanical musculoskeletal problems.

Is there a limit to the number of injections that you can have?

In any particular place in the body, there is a natural limit of three injections in a six week period. Further injections are allowed in other places and at other times, especially if they are effective.

What complications may occur?

  • Hot flushes - for 1-2 days.
  • Allergic reaction - to any injection may occur in about 1 in 7,000 cases. This may just be a rash or very rarely a severe anaphylactic reaction, which needs immediate treatment. Such reactions are treated and cause no permanent harm.
  • Bleeding - It is extremely rare for this to cause any major harm.
  • Infection - This can occur very rarely, and is accompanied by the usual signs of fever, redness, swelling and increasing pain. This can be treated with antibiotics.

What conditions can cortisone injections be used for?

  • Tendinitis e.g. tennis elbow, golfer’s elbow, rotator cuff injury
  • Bursitis
  • Joint arthritis
  • Ligament injuries e.g. sprained ankles, knee ligament sprains
  • Sciatica and trapped nerve pain