One of the first signs of osteoarthritis is aches and pains in the joints. This is a common issue with people over the age of 40 and can cause mild discomfort to considerable pain.

    Osteoarthritis occurs when the cartilage breaks down in the knee, eventually leading to bone and joint damage. Lifestyle changes and over-the-counter treatment can serve as remedies for milder symptoms, but these may become ineffective over time. If you have arthritis, your doctor may prescribe stronger medications, such as cortisone injections. Injections of steroids like cortisone aren’t a cure, but they can help relieve pain and decrease inflammation and help you become pain-free.

    Read on to learn how cortisone injections work.

    What are cortisone injections, and how do they work?

    Hydrocortisone is a type of medicine also referred to as a steroid (or corticosteroid). Doctors administer hydrocortisone injections to treat swollen or painful joints. They inject the hydrocortisone directly into the joint, which occurs most often in the knee, hip, shoulder, elbow, hand, and wrist.

    Hydrocortisone injections can also treat sore tendons and bursitis, which occurs when a small bag of fluid cushioning a joint becomes inflamed.

    What kind of results can I expect from cortisone injections? 

    Cortisone injections usually help relieve pain and swelling, making everyday movement easier. Patients may feel the benefits of this treatment for several months or even as long as a year before needing a repeat injection. Depending on which of your joints are being treated, your doctor may be able to give you injections in the same place up to four times each year.

    If you have arthritis, cortisone injections are only prescribed when a few joints are affected. Doctors rarely inject more than three joints at one time.

    What else should I know about cortisone injections? 

    Hydrocortisone injections can help you live a much better quality of life, but like all steroids, there are some possible side effects. Your doctor will discuss these with you before you move forward with the treatment. One effect is that they can affect your immune system and make it more likely that you’ll get infections.

    Most people don’t experience any side effects. The most common side effect is swelling, pain and bruising in the joint where the injection was given, but this will usually alleviate itself within a day or two. If you have just had cortisone injections, it’s good to rest the joint and avoid exercising for 24 hours after the injection.

    While serious side effects are rare, you should call your doctor if you:

    • begin experiencing mental health problems like depression, anxiety, and mood swings
    • have a high temperature, chills, a very sore throat, ear or sinus pain or a cough
    • feel extremely thirsty or hungry, urinate more often than usual, begin breathing quickly or feeling breathless
    • notice any changes in your eyesight
    • have swelling or throbbing in your arms or legs or have chest pain

    Hydrocortisone injections are a wise choice for many suffering with chronic pain. The results vary from person to person, but they are well worth talking to your doctor about if you are suffering.

    At Apurva Advanced Medical Care in Prescott, Arizona, we take the time to listen, explain your treatment options, and be there for all your medical needs. No matter what you’re experiencing, we’re here 24/7. To book an appointment with us, please click here.