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What are corticosteroids?

Corticosteroids are anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive medications that can help reduce pain and inflammation when injected into a joint. 

Intra-articular steroid injections can be used to help reduce inflammation and pain in a variety of different orthopaedic and sports medicine injuries. There are four corticosteroids that are FDA approved for injection into joints and your provider may recommend a short or long acting formulation depending on your injury. 

drawing up a steroid injection
What conditions can corticosteroid injections treat?

Corticosteroids can be injected into a variety of different joints throughout the body to treat acute or chronic inflammatory processes. For example, your provider may recommend a steroid injection for tendonitis, meniscus repairs, labral repairs, adhesive capsulitis, bursitis or other acute or chronic inflammatory conditions. 

Risks and Benefits of Corticosteroid Injections 

Corticosteroids has been proven to help many patients with pain relating to inflammatory conditions as listed above. Although many patients experience some degree of pain relief following injection, there is no guarantee for expected relief and duration of relief varies from person to person. ​

Corticosteroid injections are generally well tolerated by most:

  • No more than 3 injections per year in weight bearing joints to prevent risk of long term cartilage deterioration 

  • No steroid injection within 3 months of surgery due to its immunosuppressive effects

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