A cortisone shot is a corticosteroid injection that may help relieve joint or tendon inflammation and pain that may be caused by an injury, overuse, or even arthritis. The injection is typically composed a corticosteroid medicine combined with a local anesthetic.
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This type of shot is most commonly injected into joints such as the knee, shoulder, elbow, spine, or wrist.
Corticosteroid injections can suppress inflammation and lessen pain caused by:
- Arthritis (including rheumatoid arthritis)
- Other inflammatory conditions such as gout
Cortisone Shots and Comprehensive Treatment Plans
Cortisone shots allow doctors to deliver treatment directly to areas affected by inflammation and pain, and are often part of a comprehensive treatment plan. Depending on the condition, many patients seeking long-term relief also participate in physical therapy.
When you get a cortisone shot at your doctor’s office, they may apply a local anesthetic or use a cold spray to numb the skin at the injection site. You may feel pain during the injection and for a few days after the injection. A cortisone shot can provide relief for up to several months.
After a cortisone shot, apply a covered ice pack to the injection site for about 20 minutes to reduce redness, swelling, and discomfort. Also, avoid any strenuous activity that would put stress on the inflamed joint. For example, rest for a day if you received a shot in your knee, or avoid heavy lifting if you received a shot in your shoulder.
For most people, a cortisone shot will reduce inflammation and pain. If the pain is not relieved, your doctor may recommend a second or another type of injection.
If you experience chronic pain from inflammation, you may be a candidate for a cortisone shot.