Alternative Steroid Injections For Knee Pain

If you have arthritis, you may have considered a cortisone shot as part of your treatment plan to lower inflammation and lessen knee joint pain! People across the St. Louis area turn to KneeCare Clinics every day to treat their knee arthritis, joint friction, and chronic pain without the use of surgery. 

Our team offers advanced diagnosis and pain management options. After assessing your situation, we can recommend a knee pain injection treatment plan that helps with chronic pain, but may be covered by most insurances. 

If you’ve tried other nonsurgical treatment methods but your pain continues to limit your daily activities, contact us to schedule an appointment for steroid injections for knee pain.

 

What Are Steroid Injections?

Also called “corticosteroid,” “steroid shot,” and a human-made version of the hormone cortisol, these injections are a class of medications that are related to cortisone. 

Cortisone is a type of man-made steroid that mimics the effect of cortisol, a hormone naturally occurring in the body that serves as an anti-inflammatory and pain remedy during stressful situations such as injuries. Therefore, these types of steroids are not the same as anabolic steroids used by bodybuilders to mimic testosterone and increase muscle size, rather they can be used to decrease inflammation caused by a variety of diseases. 

They are often recommended for people with rheumatoid arthritis and other types of inflammatory arthritis because it can help reduce inflammation, in turn, reducing pain. They may also be recommended for osteoarthritis if your joints are particularly painful or if you need extra pain relief. 

Again, cortisone is not a pain-relieving medication itself, but it treats the inflammation which can lead to reduced pain. Furthermore, steroid injections can’t treat the underlying cause of your condition because there is no cure for arthritis, but they can provide symptomatic relief and potentially delay the need for surgery.

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How Steroid Injections Work

Steroid injections are relatively quick procedures performed during normal office visits. Here is how a normal procedure works:

A trained physician may use fluoroscopy or ultrasound to find the right injection site for maximum relief. They will then clean the skin and use an anesthetic to prevent you from feeling the needle stick. The steroid is then inserted into the affected area via injection.

You should be able to return home shortly after your procedure, but ask your healthcare provider if it’s appropriate for you to drive. Some soreness is common in the first few days after the shot, but can be treated by applying ice to the area to relieve pain.

The steroid should start providing relief within one to four days after the injection. The duration of pain relief varies based on the severity of the arthritis. For instance, the effects can last for three months in someone with mild-to-moderate arthritis, but those with more severe arthritis could have a return of symptoms within a few weeks.

Conditions We Treat

Bone on Bone

“Bone on bone” is a more commonly-used term for the condition known as “knee osteoarthritis,” which happens when the cartilage between the bones wears away with time. The painful “bone on bone” sensation that results can be reduced with steroid injections.

Arthritis

Steroid injections have been shown to also benefit patients suffering from one of the other types of arthritis, such as psoriatic arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and post-traumatic arthritis. Many of these conditions produce painful inflammation inside the knee joint, in which a knee injection can create a barrier to inflammation.

Bursitis

If you perform repeated actions of the knee over time—such as constant kneeling— you may be more susceptible to bursitis. This happens when the bursa in the knee fills with blood causing the lining to become inflamed. A knee injection may help reduce bursitis inflammation.

When to Consider Steroid Injections

Patients consider cortisone shots when suffering from considerable knee joint pain caused by arthritis. Rarely does a doctor select a steroid injection as the initial treatment. In many cases, the doctor will first recommend less invasive and more traditional steps such as weight loss management, physical therapy, and exercise. However, when these treatment options have been exhausted, steroid injections become a viable next step for those wishing to reduce their chronic pain without the use of surgery!

Your healthcare team at the KneeCare Clinics will perform a physical examination, review your medical history, and discuss all other treatment options before considering steroid injections or another type of knee injection. Schedule your appointment now to see if you qualify!

Frequently Asked Questions

Question:

Are there any side effects with knee injections?

Answer:

There may be a little soreness at the injection site. Most patients report that soreness to be gone within 24-48 hours after the procedure.

Question:

How long does it take before I notice an improvement?

Answer:

Vast majority of our patients say they start to notice significant changes after their 2nd knee treatment.

Question:

What if I hate needles?

Answer:

Our physicians use 3 different agents to numb the joint before performing the injection. Most patients don’t even feel the procedure.

Question:

Answer:

As in all of medicine, there are no guarantees that our therapies will work 100% of the time for 100% of our patients. If these conservative treatments are not effective then it may be time for a knee replacement or more aggressive procedures like a genicular nerve block or ablation.

Question:

What can I expect on the day of an injection?

Answer:

How long will it take? Will it hurt? Most patients tolerate knee injections with minimal discomfort as we use 3 different agents to numb the knee. The full procedure takes about 8-12 minutes. After a knee injection, plan to avoid high impact activities. It is safe to drive and continue with most daily activities. The knee may be sore after the injection for 24-48 hours, which ice can relieve. Most patients don’t notice any negative side effects after 1-2 days, if they experience any at all.

  • Are there any side effects with knee injections?

    There may be a little soreness at the injection site. Most patients report that soreness to be gone within 24-48 hours after the procedure.

  • How long does it take before I notice an improvement?

    Vast majority of our patients say they start to notice significant changes after their 2nd knee treatment.

  • What if I hate needles?

    Our physicians use 3 different agents to numb the joint before performing the injection. Most patients don’t even feel the procedure.

  • As in all of medicine, there are no guarantees that our therapies will work 100% of the time for 100% of our patients. If these conservative treatments are not effective then it may be time for a knee replacement or more aggressive procedures like a genicular nerve block or ablation.

  • What can I expect on the day of an injection?

    How long will it take? Will it hurt? Most patients tolerate knee injections with minimal discomfort as we use 3 different agents to numb the knee. The full procedure takes about 8-12 minutes. After a knee injection, plan to avoid high impact activities. It is safe to drive and continue with most daily activities. The knee may be sore after the injection for 24-48 hours, which ice can relieve. Most patients don’t notice any negative side effects after 1-2 days, if they experience any at all.

Steroid Injections for a Better Quality of Life!

Reduce arthritis pain and restore your quality of life! You can find a deeper level of enjoyment in your personal relationships, careers, hobbies and more with the help of KneeCare Clinics! Contact us now or speak to our patient advocate.

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