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The horror of trusting a steroid shot to cure your joint pain.

Spooky Long Term Issues and Further Damage from Cortisone Injections

Cue the spooky music, it’s fall! Haunted house tours are in full bloom and Trick-or-treaters are not far behind. This is the time of year where families all over the country share ghost stories around the campfire with their loved ones. One story you don’t want to be sharing this fall are the horrors of trusting a steroid shot to cure your joint pain.

The Horror Story: Cortisone Shots Destroy Rather than Heal

The use of cortisone injections in the muscles and joints to alleviate pain and inflammation is all too popular. But what many don’t know, are the long term issues, and even further damage that Cortisone may cause. Cortisone is one of many corticosteroid drugs that work as anti-inflammatories and short-term pain relievers. When cortisone is injected into a joint, it can clump into crystals or leak into other parts of the body. This can actually cause pain rather than relieve it, and have hormone-like effects that make conditions like diabetes harder to control. There’s also the slight risk of the shots leading to an infection of the joint and repeated shots eventually damaging skin or other tissues [1].

You don’t have to look very hard to find real-life people with nothing but cortisone horror stories to share. The internet is riddled with blogs like this “little shot of horrors” blog from 80 MPH Mom. Or, this message forum from City-Data.com’s health and wellness section, where some of the forum’s nearly two million members cite cortisone shots with skin discoloration, elevated blood sugar, cartilage loss, allergic reaction, or even adverse sex-related side effects [2].

Side effects aside, many claim the shot doesn’t actually do what it is supposed to do at all, leaving them with pain and swelling and a heap of new issues to deal with.

Osteoarthritis Progression after Cortisone Injection

A study published in the journal Radiology and reported on CNN, researchers observed that Cortisone shots accelerate patients’ osteoarthritis progression, subchondral insufficiency fracture, osteonecrosis, and rapid joint destruction with bone loss [3].

Another study analyzed 41 previously published reports detailing various Cortisone treatments on 2,700 patients with tendon injuries. These included tennis elbow, rotator cuff, and Achilles injuries — all injuries in which tendons become painful or torn, often from overuse. Analysis of the reports suggested you can expect “short-term gain but long-term pain” when it comes to cortisone shots, because injections have a high chance of success within three to six weeks, but after that time frame, patients had a 62% higher risk of relapse than those who initially did nothing [4].

Based on this data, there is great evidence that Cortisone shots, in the end, can cause much more harm than good.

Regenexx Procedures are Backed By Data you can Trust

Before you accept a corticosteroid injection for the first, or even second or third time, please consider an alternative non-surgical Regenerative interventional orthopedic solution to repair muscle injuries and alleviate joint pain for the long term. Regenexx Pittsburgh offers the most advanced procedures using PRP, or bone marrow concentrate containing the patient’s own live stem cells.

If you’re wondering if our procedures work, Regenexx openly publishes patient outcomes data. For example, more than 2,440 shoulder Regenexx-SD patients are being tracked in the Regenexx Patient Registry right now. This means you can see exactly how patients report the impact a procedure has had on their joint function, joint pain, and overall joint improvement. To view the registry and see real data tap here (will take you to a new window).

To learn more and find out if a Regenexx procedure is what you need for your osteoarthritis pain, click “Talk to an Expert” below.



[1] https://www.health.harvard.edu/pain/should-i-be-worried-about-the-side-effects-from-cortisone-shots

[2] https://www.arthritis-health.com/treatment/injections/cortisone-injection-risks-and-side-effects

[3] https://www.cnn.com/2019/10/17/health/steroid-injections-study-trnd/index.html

[4] https://www.aarp.org/health/drugs-supplements/info-11-2010/cortisone_shots.html