Arthritis (Osteoarthritis) is a chronic disease of joints characterized by disruption and gradual loss of joint cushions (cartilage), plus other changes in the joints such as overgrowth of bones causing joint deformity and rough edges rubbing on each other. Symptoms include pain triggered or aggravated by physical activity, stiffness that lasts more than 30 minutes on awakening and after prolonged rest, and occasional joint swelling. Osteoarthritis is diagnosed by X-rays.
Osteoarthritis is the most common cause of knee and shoulder pain and almost everybody has some degree of Osteoarthritis by age 80. Under the age 40 most of the Osteoarthritis cases occur in men and they’re mostly due to trauma and hard work.
One of the most effective treatments available is injection of steroids (cortisone) into the affected joint by a well trained physician.
Q: What role do Steroid injections play in an overall treatment program?
A: Steroid injections are added to a treatment plan already consisting of
anti-inflammatory medications and physical therapy.
Q: How does injection of Steroids work?
A: Steroids work in a very short period of time by delivering a high dose of medication directly into the problem area that rapidly and strongly decreases inflammation, hence decreasing pain and swelling in the joint. Local steroid injections are generally well tolerated and are less likely to cause any serious side effects.
Q: What conditions other than Osteoarthritis may be treated with Steroid injections?
A: Steroids are frequently injected into joints to treat conditions such as Gout, Rheumatoid Arthritis, or other inflammatory diseases. Steroids can also be injected around tendons near the shoulder, elbow, hip, knee, hand or wrist.