Cortisone is the name given to a group of medications commonly known as corticosteroids. Corticosteroids are powerful anti-inflammatory agents that can be given via the oral and intravenous (IV) route or injected locally. They are used to treat a wide variety of musculoskeletal and non-musculoskeletal inflammatory conditions.
When given orally or IV, corticosteroids are absorbed into the bloodstream and act non-specifically throughout the entire body, causing numerous unwanted side effects.
Local injection of corticosteroid allows delivery of the medication in a high concentration directly to the desired location. Injected cortisone is generally well tolerated and causes minimal side effects.
Cortisone injection can be used to treat a wide variety of conditions, including:
Whilst cortisone can rapidly reduce pain and restore function, it only hangs around in the affected area for about 6 weeks (depending on the type or cortisone used).
If the factors predisposing to injury have not yet been removed, pain may return. Whilst there is no definitively proven limit to the number of cortisone injection that can be performed, it is known that repeated cortisone can soften joint cartilage and weaken tendons.
It is therefore important to weigh up the risks of injection versus pain relief. Furthermore, if pain persists despite repeated injections, it is always a good idea to reassess whether the diagnosis is correct or whether different treatment is needed.
It is preferable to avoid any exercise using the injected area/limb for 48 hours post injection. This includes rehabilitation/strengthening exercises prescribed to treat the condition.
After 48 hours gentle strengthening may resume. Return to full training/play is dependant on the condition being treated. Ask Dr. Lewis for guidance.