If you suffer from knee, back, shoulder or wrist pain, you may be wondering if steroid injections can help. Corticosteroid injections, which are not like the anabolic steroids used by bodybuilders, are used as a part of a whole treatment for arthritis and inflammation, but within narrow parameters. At Quinby Orthopedics, we analyze patients to determine if they are good candidates for steroid shots.

What do corticosteroid injections do?

Corticosteroids are a strong anti-inflammatory agent that helps reduce pain by reducing inflammation. Paired with cortisone, they can provide a numbing effect for a painful joint. This potential pain relief can last anywhere from a few days to a few months, depending on the patient. Some patients do not notice any pain relief.

“It is important to know that corticosteroid injections do not cure arthritis or the underlying cause of the joint pain,” said Quinby Orthopedics’ Medical Director, Dr. J. Scott Quinby. “They can help mask the pain but the cause is still an issue.”

What kinds of pain do steroid injections treat?

These injections are used to treat joint pain such as:

  • Carpal tunnel
  • Knee pain
  • Arthritis
  • Back pain
  • Hip pain
  • Gout
  • Bursitis
  • Tendinitis

Am I a good candidate for steroid shots?

A careful medical examination will reveal whether or not you are a good candidate for corticosteroid injections. If your blood pressure is elevated or your blood sugar is not under control, those issues could cause a delay in receiving an injection. Patients with diabetes may not be good candidates for a shot since these injections can raise blood sugar levels for a few days.

Patients suffering from an infection may need to wait to receive a corticosteroid shot. Certain blood diseases, such as hemophilia, and those who take blood thinners may also be eliminated from this kind of treatment since it could cause bleeding into the joint.

What are the risks?

Corticosteroid injections do come with risks, which is why the frequency and number of shots given is kept to just three or four a year. Recent studies suggest that repeated steroid injections damage the cartilage and possibly the surrounding bone and tendons1.

Risks include:

  • Deterioration of cartilage in joint
  • Increased pain and inflammation in joint after the shot, which usually decreases after two days
  • Thinning of the skin and changes in skin color around the injection site
  • Infection in the joint
  • Damage to tendons in joint
  • Nerve pain
  • Thinning of bones in joint
  • Increase in blood sugar for a few days
  • Temporary flushing of the face

Get an appointment with our orthopaedic specialist today!

If you have had chronic pain and are wondering about treatment possibilities, call us at Quinby Orthopedics today @ 469-929-0615 for an exam and discussion about the use of steroid injections to treat your joint pain.

Visit us at one of our two convenient locations:

  • Rockwall – Rockwall Medical Center, 810 E. Ralph Hall Pkwy, Suite 140
  • Plano – Plano Medical Office Building III, 4001 W 15th St., Suite 180



1 https://medicalxpress.com/news/2019-10-evidence-steroid-hip-knee-joints.html