Cortisone Injections

Man working at a desk, on laptop computer, holding shoulder in pain.

Cortisone is a type of steroid. It can greatly reduce swelling, redness, and irritation (inflammation) and pain. Being injected with cortisone is simple and doesn’t take long. Your doctor may ask you questions about your health. Certain health conditions, such as diabetes, can be affected by cortisone.

Why have a cortisone injection?

Injecting cortisone can relieve pain for anything from a sports injury to arthritis. Your doctor may suggest an injection if rest, splints, or oral medicine doesn’t relieve your pain. Injecting cortisone is simpler than having surgery. And cortisone may provide the lasting pain relief that can help you get out and enjoy life again.

Getting the injection

Your doctor will start by cleaning and occasionally numbing your skin at the injection site. Next you’ll be injected with local anesthetics (for short-term pain relief) and cortisone. The injection may last a few moments. A small bandage will be put over the injection site. You’ll then be ready to go home.

After your injection

After being injected, make sure you don’t injure the treated region. But stay active. Enjoy a walk or some other mild activity. Just be careful not to strain the region that gave you trouble.

The next day

Some people feel more pain after being injected. This is normal, and it will go away soon. Applying ice for 20 minutes at a time to your injury may reduce the increased pain. Rest for the first day or two. You don’t need to stay in bed. But avoid tasks that may strain the injured region.

If you have diabetes

Cortisone injections can cause blood sugar to be increased for several days after the injection. If you have diabetes, you should follow your blood  sugar closely during this time. Follow your regular plan for what to do when your blood sugar is elevated.

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© 2000-2017 The StayWell Company, LLC. 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.