Cortisone is a commonly used steroid injection that helps to reduce inflammation and pain. It has been used for decades to treat chronic or acute inflammatory conditions within the body and joints and has been incredibly effective.
Because of its effectiveness, it has become commonly known as the “miracle drug” because of its incredible usefulness in treating numerous conditions in muscles, ligaments, joints, tendons, and other causes of pain.
What is a Cortisone Injection?
Cortisone is a steroid drug that is commonly used as an anti-inflammatory and injected into painful, stiff areas to help decrease the pain and increase mobility.
The injection has a lot of functions for different areas of the body. Specifically, it is commonly injected into stiff, inflamed, and painful joints. Cortisone injection treatment helps reduce pain and inflammation from arthritis that inhibits the joint’s mobility.
Some of the most common areas for people to get cortisone injections include the ankle, elbow, hip, knee, shoulder, and even smaller joints. Arthritis and pain are common in these small and commonly used joints (fingers and toes), so there are benefits to using cortisone injection treatment for feet and hands.
While here at Teton Foot and Ankle Center in Idaho Falls, we do cortisone injections; there are other forms of cortisone. Commonly seen in drug stores (and as a prescription) are hydrocortisone lotions used for topical (on top of the skin) infections, inflammation, and pain. It is commonly applied to rashes, eczema, allergies, bug bites, and other skin infections.
When Is Cortisone Helpful?
Cortisone injections have been used to effectively treat a lot of issues and pain within the human body. Most commonly, it is used to decrease inflammation and pain.
Rheumatoid Arthritis: This is a type of inflammatory arthritis that causes swelling, pain, and stiffness in your joints (commonly hands and feet). Interestingly, it is more common in females than males and often flares up with age. Cortisone injections are often helpful in managing rheumatoid arthritis because it helps decrease swelling, which helps reduce pain and increase function.
Osteoarthritis Arthritis: There are numerous different types of arthritis, and some are treated with cortisone injections better than others. Inflammatory arthritis typically reacts better to cortisone injection treatment than osteoarthritis, but this can still be an excellent treatment option. Osteoarthritis is a “wear and tear” arthritis where the joint starts to “break down.” Osteoarthritis can cause inflammation, making the pain and function a lot worse. Cortisone injections can help counteract this pain and swelling caused by osteoarthritis.
Tendonitis: Tendonitis is when a tendon in your body gets inflamed and incredibly painful. This inflammation can occur in any tendon in your body, and when it does, cortisone injections are one of the best ways to treat it. The injection can help bring down the swelling of the tendon resulting in less discomfort.
Foot Pain: Foot and ankle pain is one of the most common types of consistent pain that people experience. Cortisone injections can be a phenomenal treatment for foot and ankle pain, specifically in the ankle joint. Cortisone injection treatment for feet and ankles is also a great option because it is non-invasive and non-surgical. A couple of leading causes of foot and ankle pain that could be treated with a cortisone injection include:
- Ankle osteoarthritis
- Achilles tendonitis (tendinopathy)
- Tarsal Tunnel syndrome
- Posterior Tibial tendonitis
- Rheumatoid arthritis in ankle/toes
Here are some frequently asked questions and the answers to help you decide if cortisone injections are the right path to help you manage your joint and muscle pain. If you have more questions or are looking to get a cortisone injection in the Idaho Falls region, give us a call today!
How long do cortisone injections last?
Unfortunately, cortisone injections are not a permanent solution. They don’t necessarily “cure” the pain or inflammation you feel. Because they don’t cure it, you will likely need to receive cortisone injections periodically to help the results last.
Every joint, injection, body, and situation is different, so there isn’t a straightforward answer for how long your injection will last. The injection can generally last anywhere from 6 weeks to 6 months. The injection will help reduce inflammation and pain and increase mobility. As the effects of the injection wear off, you will want to consult with your doctor to see if getting another injection is the best answer for you.
For a more specific answer for you and your condition, you can contact our office and set up a consultation to determine what is best for you.
How soon after receiving a cortisone injection will I notice a difference?
The cortisone injection will likely make a positive difference soon after receiving the treatment. Within about a week, you should start noticing a positive impact. The results may start as less pain, less inflammation, and greater mobility.
Likely, within a couple of weeks, you will be experiencing the maximum benefit of the injection. Just like every person, body, and injection may require additional injections at different times; you may feel the influence of the injection at a different time from someone else.
What are the side effects of cortisone injections?
Just like anything, there are side effects to cortisone injections. There are also risks (while unlikely). It is crucial to understand both the pros and cons of receiving an injection like this.
After the injection, you may experience bruising, skin tenderness, headaches, and drowsiness. These should go away within a day or two of the injection.
If cortisone injections become a more common practice for you to help manage chronic pain, there are additional risks and side effects involved. You may experience anything from dry skin, headaches, bruising, bone damage, cartilage damage, and others. Like anything, before receiving treatment, it is important to know these risks. Our doctors would be happy to help you understand these risks and assess if it is worth it.
While there are adverse side effects and risks, the positive side effects (decreased pain, more mobility, less inflammation) shouldn’t be ignored.
What should you do before and after getting a cortisone injection?
Before coming to Teton Foot and Ankle Center to receive your cortisone injection, you must sit down with our doctors and go through your medical history. Your medical history includes going through any pre-existing conditions, medical history, prescriptions, and over-the-counter medications you’re taking, and answering the other questions honestly. Before your injection, our doctors will walk you through what to expect.
After the injection, it is best to take a couple of days to rest and not use the joint or area that the cortisone was injected in. You shouldn’t do any extreme exercise, and overall be gentle and aware. Again, before the injection, our doctors will walk you through what to expect following the cortisone injection and how to ensure you receive the best results after your cortisone injection treatment.
What is the cost of a cortisone injection?
For a consultation on receiving a cortisone injection for yourself, the best option is to give us a call and schedule an appointment with Dr. James at our Idaho Falls location.
The cost for you depends on the area, injection, and your health insurance. For a more specific quote catering to your exact situation, call us (208)528-6225 and schedule an appointment.
Are cortisone shots painful?
Like any injection, cortisone shots can cause discomfort. However, most people find the injection tolerable, and it doesn’t cause too much discomfort.
The location, type of needle, and your situation can influence if the injection is painful or not. For most cortisone injections, we use an ultrasound machine to help guide us to ensure that the injection is going in the right spot. Using this machine to guide the injection helps limit the pain and discomfort you may feel.
After the injection, you may experience discomfort, tension, or bruising for a day or two. This discomfort is to be expected and should improve.