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August 2019
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Posts Tagged ‘corticosteroid’


More on cortisone injections for knee osteoarthritis….

Though there isn’t a hard and fast rule, it is generally agreed upon within the medical community that injections of cortisone should not be given more than three times per year.  Long-term use can lead to:

  • Cartilage weakness
  • Weakening of ligaments and tendons
  • Thinning of the skin
  • Avascular necrosis  – death of the bone

Cortisone injections are a temporary treatment and when used correctly rarely produce side effects. Though uncommon those side effects can include:

  • “Steroid Flare” increased inflammation
  • Pain
  • Skin Discoloration
  • Thinning of the skin at the injection site
  • Infection

Cortisone should not be taken by people with:

  • Infections
  • Diabetes
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Congestive Heart Failure
  • Peptic Ulcers
  • Osteoporosis



Cortisone is a powerful type of synthetic medication (corticosteroid) that reduces inflammation. It resembles a naturally produced hormone within the body called cortisol, and works by slowing down the immune system.

Cortisone has been used for over 50 years to temporarily treat symptoms related to knee osteoarthritis. Though cortisone injections are used as a treatment for pain, it is not a pain reliever. When the injections reduce pain it is because the synthetic medication has decreased inflammation within the knee. Cortisone is not a cure for osteoarthritis, nor does it alter the course of the disease.

People react differently to Cortisone. Some experience pain relief for days others for months. There really isn’t a method to predict how the powerful drugs will react for any given individual. However, it is clear that if the first couple of shots have little or no effect, that repeated injections will seldom offer relief.  Also, the injections will decrease in effectiveness over time.

Hip Pain

Hip Pain

This is part of a series of blog posts about the side effects of corticosteroids.  Steroids are used as a treatment option for osteoarthritis of the knee.

High doses of steroids can cause damage to your bones called “aseptic necrosis”.  This can happen in any bone but the hips are most common.

Your hip joint is actually in your groin, so this is where the pain will occur.  Hip pain, especially if you don’t have hip arthritis can be a sign of this condition.  Report it to your doctor immediately.

Heart Healthy Diet

Corticosteroids are often prescribed for knee osteoarthritis.  This article is one in a series about the common side effects of this medication.

Steroids can increase the rate at which your arteries harden (atherosclerosis).  This could increase your risk of heart disease.  This risk is probably more likely if you are taking corticosteroids for more than twelve months or if you are taking a large dose.

Make sure your blood pressure and cholesterol are checked regularly.  Follow a heart healthy lifestyle.

Have Your Eyes Checked

Have Your Eyes Checked

Corticosteroids used to treat knee osteoarthritis can have side effects.  This post is one in a series about managing those side effects.

Using corticosteroids can cause glaucoma or cataracts.  If these conditions are present when usage begins they could get worse.

If you develop eye problems see your eye doctor immediately.  If  you have a history of cataracts or glaucoma tell your ophthalmologist because a new schedule of eye exams may be required.  Let your eye doctor decide if any symptoms are serious.

Blood Pressure Can Be Elevated

Blood Pressure Can Be Elevated

This post is part of a series about the side effects of corticosteroids when used to manage osteoarthritis of the knee.

Cortisone regulates how the body balances water, sodium, and electrolytes.  Corticosteroids can cause the body to retain water which could elevate blood pressure.  Swollen ankles are a symptom that the body is retaining fluid.

Have your blood pressure checked regularly and institute a low sodium diet.  Water pills may be prescribed by your doctor if you are retaining fluids.

Beware of Insomnia

Beware of Insomnia

This post is part of a series of articles about the side effects of corticosteroids used as a treatment option for osteoarthritis.

Taking steroids in the evening may prevent you from easily falling asleep.

Ask your doctor if you can take your entire dose in the morning.  Also try to establish a regular hour fr falling asleep and make sure your room is dark, quiet, and comfortable.

Mood changes can occur

This is one section in a series of posts about managing the side effects of corticosteroids when they are used to treat knee osteoarthritis.

Corticosteroids in doses over 30mg per day can affect moods.  Some patients can feel either really “up” or really “down”.  Some report feeling depressed.

Knowing there can be a problem can make it less of a problem.  Tell your family and friends that you may be moody while on the medication so they know what is going on if you react in an unexpected manner.  Decreasing the dosage is an option, and sometimes medication can be added to help with changes in mood.

Beware of Gaining Weight

Beware of Gaining Weight

This article is part of a series about managing the side effects of corticosteroids for treating knee osteoarthritis.

Steroids affect how your body deposits fat and your metabolism.  Bad news.  This can result in an increase in appetite and extra fat deposits around your mid-section.

So watch your calories and exercise regularly.

Walking is Good Exercise

Walking is Good Exercise

This article is part of a series about corticosteroid side effects.  When treating osteoarthritis of the knee with steroids these tips can help.

Steroid treatments can result in the thinning of bones with an increased risk of fractures.  Many doctors require their patients have a bone density test before beginning steroid therapy.

To help prevent osteoporosis patients should consider:

  1. Taking calcium supplements
  2. Taking multivitamins
  3. Quitting smoking and drinking
  4. Exercising
  5. Taking bone preserving medications
  6. Assessing your risks of falling