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Cortisone Injections

Joint Pain

Do you suffer from persistent joint pain? Have you been diagnosed with arthritis? If your answer is affirmative, then cortisone shots can help.

Cortisone injections are the ideal treatment for people who don’t wish to or who can’t undergo surgical orthopedic treatment. Cortisone is an anti-inflammatory steroid and consequently an excellent pain reliever. At Bay Area Orthopaedic & Sports Specialists, we have extensive experience providing cortisone shot treatments to patients. Call us today for more information.

What is cortisone?

When the body injures itself, it undergoes extreme stress. To combat this stress, the adrenal gland in the body produces a hormone called cortisol. This hormone is a natural stress reliever and has the ability to bring down inflammation, regulate BP, manage your energy reserves, keep your sleep-wake cycle in balance and ensure you have the right amount of glucose in your body. Essentially, the cortisol hormone reduces the negative impact of an injury by naturally controlling the way your body responds to the shock of the injury. By doing so, the hormone brings the body back into working order, until the danger has passed.

The cortisone steroid is a synthetic version of the cortisol hormone. This steroid, when injected into the body, can act as medicine for an injured joint and relieve it of swelling. It’s important to note that cortisone isn’t an active pain reliever. It’s an anti-inflammatory steroid that will bring down the swelling and tenderness in your injured or damaged joints and by doing so, it enables pain reduction as a secondary after-effect.

For a person diagnosed with arthritis, cortisone shots make the perfect treatment. The cortisone steroid is designed to limit the activity of the immune system, which is responsible for joint inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis. By reducing the swelling, these injections can really improve the quality of life for the patients.

At Bay Area Orthopaedic & Sports Specialists, Dr. Warren Strudwick Jr. can provide cortisone injection treatments. Contact our Emeryville, CA orthopedics clinic to schedule an appointment.

How do cortisone injections help treat orthopedic conditions?

Cortisone injections help patients by:

Reducing the impact of arthritic conditions
Sometimes, patients may have arthritis in multiple joints. Inflammation, pain, and immobility can cause great discomfort. Cortisone injections provide full-body inflammation relief and reduce the impact of arthritis flare-ups.

Preventing the need for invasive surgery
Cortisone shots are minimally-invasive and very safe to administer. They offer an almost-immediate treatment and thus limit the need for invasive joint surgeries like joint restoration or joint replacement.

Increasing speed to physical therapy
Swelling in the joints takes a long time to reduce, even when medication is being used. The surgery takes even longer to heal, and it may be weeks before the patient attends physical therapy, but with cortisone injections, the inflammation goes down very quickly, allowing the patient to take up the physical therapy sessions.

Treating other bone/joint conditions as well
Apart from arthritis and swollen joints, cortisone can also reduce the swelling that occurs due to other conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome, tendinitis, and tennis elbow.

Cortisone shot:
eligibility criteria

Cortisone injections are supremely helpful in managing joint conditions. Typically, almost anyone can receive this treatment, providing their health supports the treatment.
You will not be eligible for the cortisone shots if you:

▸ Have a severe medical illness.
▸ Are on any medication that may conflict with the cortisone shot.
▸ Are on blood thinners.
▸ Experienced severe trauma and have undergone surgery for the same.
▸ Have an infection in the joints.
▸ Have had a skin infection in the area where the steroid will be injected.
▸ Are allergic to cortisone or any other steroid.

Children may be prescribed this steroid, depending on their condition. It’s best to seek Dr. Strudwick’s advice regarding this. Additionally, it’s recommended that pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers, or women planning to start a family, avoid this treatment.

The injection procedure

During the initial consultation, Dr. Strudwick will conduct a comprehensive assessment of your condition and identify the injured area. The cortisone injections are directly shot onto the inflamed area, as this provides the greatest inflammation-relief.

For the limbs, common injection areas are the base of the thumb and the big toe, the elbow, shoulder, and knee. For the hip and the spine, Dr. Strudwick will use state-of-the-art imaging technology to identify the exact location of the joint inflammation and inject the steroid there.

Just like any injection, the cortisone shot may cause slight discomfort. However, this is only momentary. Deep breathing and relaxing the muscles can prevent this discomfort. Typically, doctors mix the cortisone injection with local anesthetics to ensure a comfortable treatment experience.

Post-injection results

Once injected, the injection site will remain swollen for a few more hours. Within 1-2 days, you’ll notice a substantial reduction in inflammation and pain. For faster healing, you can ice the swollen area. Additionally, you should avoid strenuous physical activity to prevent any new injuries in the affected joints.

This treatment is a very safe way to manage arthritis and other joint-related conditions. Side effects are extremely rare, and as long as you follow the doctor’s advice, you won’t experience any problems.

Frequency of the treatment

The number of shots you need to take depends on the severity of your condition and how fast your joints heal. Ideally, cortisone shots are limited to 3-4 times in a year. For most people, a single shot can provide inflammation-relief for 3-6 months and for others, the results can last for a year or more.

For additional information or to schedule a consultation with Dr. Strudwick, contact us at Bay Area Orthopaedic & Sports Specialists.

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