What Is a Cortisone Shot?

What Is a Cortisone Shot?

Cortisone shots can potentially provide long-lasting relief from pain and inflammation in the joints.

Many injections can greatly reduce pain and inflammation caused by musculoskeletal injuries or chronic conditions such as arthritis, significantly shortening recovery timelines and providing lasting relief. One shot we particularly recommend to patients entails an injection of cortisone into a damaged joint. We’ll tell you what you need to know about this tried-and-true treatment for pain and inflammation in the joints.

What Is a Cortisone Shot?

A cortisone shot is an injection composed of a corticosteroid medication and a local anesthetic. Used to relieve pain and inflammation, it’s most commonly injected into a joint, often in the shoulder, hip, or knee. These shots are often one option in a comprehensive treatment plan for chronic inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, tendinitis, or rotator cuff impingements or tears.

How Long Does a Cortisone Shot Last?

A cortisone shot’s effectiveness depends on the severity of the patient’s condition. In most cases, pain and inflammation will marginally increase for about 48 hours following the injection, and will decrease precipitously thereafter. In some cases, a single injection can provide relief for as long as several months.

Generally, cortisone shots should only be given two times per joint per year. Repeated cortisone injections can damage the cartilage in the joint.

What Are the Side Effects of a Cortisone Shot?

Cortisone shots are typically safe in moderation, but since they infrequently lead to serious complications, they should be taken under a doctor’s supervision. Be sure to let your doctor know if you suffer from diabetes or other any other conditions affecting your blood sugar levels, as well as any medications that you are currently taking.

Most cortisone shots have some minor side effects, including a temporary uptick in pain and inflammation in and around the joint, and a thinning and lightening of the skin around the site of the injection. In some cases, however, they can result in a sudden spike in blood sugar if you’re diabetic and have poorly controlled blood sugar levels. .

What If the Cortisone Shot Doesn’t Work?

Cortisone shots provide a source of temporary relief from inflammation and pain. They will not solve the underlying problem, and pain may gradually return as the shot’s effectiveness subsides. As a result, cortisone shots should be administered as part of a more comprehensive treatment plan that may include physical therapy or surgery.

Fortunately, our team of orthopedic specialists at Comprehensive Orthopaedics has several years of experience in treating joint problems. Regardless of your specific condition, we’ll work with you to develop a personalized treatment plan that provides lasting relief from your symptoms.

Preventing Sports Injuries

Preventing Sports Injuries

Exercise is good for the body and with the proper precautions, sports injuries can often be prevented. The quality of protective equipment – padding, helmets, shoes, mouth guards – have helped to improve the safety in sports. But, you can still be susceptible to injury. Always contact your healthcare provider before starting any type of physical activity, especially vigorous types of exercises or sports.

Causes of sport injuries may include:

  • improper or poor training practices
  • wearing improper sporting gear
  • being in poor health condition
  • improper warm-up or stretching practices before a sporting event or exercise

Common sports injuries include:

  • Sprains and strains
  • Joint injuries (knee)
  • Muscle injuries
  • Dislocations
  • Fractures
  • Achilles tendon injuries
  • Pain along the shin bone

How can I prevent a sports injury?

The following are some basic steps to prevent a sports injury:

  • Develop a fitness plan that includes cardiovascular exercise, strength training, and flexibility.  This will help decrease your chance of injury
  • Alternate exercising different muscle groups and exercise every other day.
  • Cool down properly after exercise or sports. It should take 2 times as long as your warm ups.
  • Stay hydrated. Drink water to prevent dehydration, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke.
  • Stretching exercises can improve the ability of muscles to contract and perform, reducing the risk for injury. Each stretch should start slowly until you reach a point of muscle tension. Stretching should not be painful. Aim to hold each stretch for up to 20 seconds.
  • Use the right equipment or gear and wear shoes that provide support  and that may correct certain foot problems that can lead to injury.
  • Learn the right techniques to play your sport.
  • Rest when tired, Avoid exercise when you are tired or in pain.
  • Always take your time during strength training and go through the full range of motion with each repetition.
  • If you do sustain a sports injury, make sure you participate in adequate rehabilitation before resuming strenuous activity.

Nursemaid’s Elbow

What is nursemaid’s elbow?

Nursemaid’s elbow happens when the radius (one of the bones in the forearm) slips out of place from where it normally attaches to the elbow joint. It is a common condition in children younger than 4 years of age. It is also called pulled elbow, slipped elbow, or toddler elbow. The medical term for nursemaid’s elbow is radial head subluxation.

What causes nursemaid’s elbow?

A sudden pulling or traction on the hand or forearm causes nursemaid’s elbow. This can happen when a parent reaches out and grabs a child about to fall or to walk into the street. This causes the radius to slip out of the ligament holding it into the elbow. It can happen when an infant rolls himself or herself over, from a fall, or from pulling or swinging a young child by the hand.

What are the symptoms of nursemaid’s elbow?

The following are the most common symptoms of nursemaid’s elbow. However, each child may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:

  • Immediate pain in the injured arm
  • Refusal or inability to move the injured arm
  • Anxiety

The symptoms of nursemaid’s elbow may resemble other conditions or medical problems. Always talk with your child’s healthcare provider for a diagnosis.

How is nursemaid’s elbow diagnosed?

The diagnosis of nursemaid’s elbow is made with a physical exam and often an X-ray by your child’s healthcare provider.

It is important to call your child’s healthcare provider immediately, or promptly take your child to the emergency department, if you suspect an injury.

Treatment for nursemaid’s elbow

Specific treatment for nursemaid’s elbow will be discussed with you by your child’s healthcare provider based on the following:

  • Your child’s age, overall health, and medical history
  • The extent of the condition
  • Your child’s tolerance for specific medicines, procedures, or therapies
  • Expectations for the course of the condition
  • Your opinion or preference

Treatment may include:

  • Acetaminophen (for pain), as directed by your child’s healthcare provider
  • Prompt medical treatment while providing reassurance for your child

The injury can usually be reduced (fixed) by your child’s healthcare provider often with ease and occasionally without the need for X-rays (unless other type of injury or fracture is suspected).

Once the elbow has sustained this type of injury, it is more likely to happen again. If it does, call your child’s healthcare provider or return to the emergency department for further evaluation and treatment. Most children outgrow the tendency for nursemaid’s elbow by the age of 5.

Prevention of nursemaid’s elbow

Here are tips for preventing nursemaid’s elbow:

  • Avoid pulling or swinging your child by the arms or hands.
  • Avoid lifting your child up by his or her arms or hands.

Talk with your child’s healthcare provider for more information.


What is bursitis?

Bursitis is inflammation of a bursa. A bursa is a closed, fluid-filled sac that works as a cushion and gliding surface to reduce friction between tissues of the body. The major bursae (this is the plural of bursa) are located next to the tendons near the large joints, such as in the shoulders, elbows, hips, and knees.

Shoulder Bursitis

Bursitis is usually a temporary condition. It may limit motion, but generally does not cause deformity.

Bursitis can happen in any bursa in the body, but there are some common types of bursitis, including:

  • Retromalleolar tendon bursitis. This type of bursitis is also called Albert disease. It’s caused by things like injury, disease, or shoes with rigid back support. These put extra strain on the lower part of the Achilles tendon. This attaches the calf muscle to the back of the heel. This can lead to inflammation of the bursa located where the tendon attaches to the heel.
  • Posterior Achilles tendon bursitis. This type of bursitis, also called Haglund deformity, is in the bursa located between the skin of the heel and the Achilles tendon. This attaches the calf muscles to the heel. It is aggravated by a type of walking that presses the soft heel tissue into the hard back support of a shoe.
  • Hip bursitis. Also called trochanteric bursitis, hip bursitis is often the result of injury, overuse, spinal abnormalities, arthritis, or surgery. This type of bursitis is more common in women and middle-aged and older people.
  • Elbow bursitis. Elbow bursitis is caused by the inflammation of the bursa located between the skin and bones of the elbow (the olecranon bursa). Elbow bursitis can be caused by injury or constant pressure on the elbow (for example, when leaning on a hard surface).
  • Knee bursitis. Bursitis in the knee is also called goosefoot bursitis or Pes Anserine bursitis. The Pes Anserine bursa is located between the shin bone and the three tendons of the hamstring muscles, on the inside of the knee. This type of bursitis may be caused by lack of stretching before exercise, tight hamstring muscles, being overweight, arthritis, or out-turning of the knee or lower leg.
  • Kneecap bursitis. Also called prepatellar bursitis, this type of bursitis is common in people who are on their knees a lot, such as carpet layers and plumbers.

What causes bursitis?

The most common causes of bursitis are injury or overuse. Infection may also cause it.

Bursitis is also associated with other problems. These include arthritis, gout, tendonitis, diabetes, and thyroid disease.

What are the symptoms of bursitis?

The following are the most common symptoms of bursitis. However, each person may experience symptoms differently.

  • Pain
  • Localized tenderness
  • Limited motion
  • Swelling and redness if the inflamed bursa is close to the surface of the skin

Chronic bursitis may involve repeated attacks of pain, swelling, and tenderness. These may lead to the deterioration of muscles and a limited range of motion in the affected joint.

The symptoms of bursitis may resemble other medical conditions or problems. Always see a healthcare provider for a diagnosis.

How is bursitis diagnosed?

In addition to a complete medical history and physical exam, diagnostic tests for bursitis may include:

  • X-ray. A diagnostic test that uses invisible electromagnetic energy beams to make pictures of internal tissues, bones, and organs on film.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). An imaging test that uses a combination of large magnets, radiofrequencies, and a computer to make detailed pictures of organs and structures within the body.

MRI Scan

  • Ultrasound. An imaging test that uses high-frequency sound waves to look at the internal organs and tissues.
  • Aspiration. A procedure that involves using a thin needle to remove fluid from the swollen bursa to check for infection or gout as causes of bursitis.
  • Blood tests. Lab tests may be done to confirm or rule out other conditions.

How is bursitis treated?

The treatment of any bursitis depends on whether or not it involves infection.

  • Aseptic bursitis. This inflammation results from local soft-tissue trauma or strain injury. The bursa is not infected. Treatment may include:
  • R.I.C.E. This stands for rest, ice, compression, and elevation
  • Anti-inflammatory and pain medicines, such as ibuprofen or aspirin
  • Injection of a steroid into the affected area to help decrease pain and swelling
  • Splints or braces to limit movement of the affected joint


  • Septic bursitis. The bursa becomes infected with bacteria. This causes pain and swelling. Treatment may include:
  • Antibiotics
  • Repeated aspiration of the infected fluid (a needle is used to take out the fluid)
  • Surgical drainage and removal of the infected bursa. This is called a bursectomy.

What can I do to prevent bursitis?

Try the following measures to prevent bursitis:

  • Warm up before exercising or before sports or other repetitive movements.
  • Start new exercises or sports slowly. Gradually increase the demands you put on your body.
  • Take breaks often when doing repetitive tasks.
  • Cushion “at risk” joints by using elbow or knee pads.
  • Stop activities that cause pain.
  • Practice good posture. Position your body properly when doing daily activities.

When should I call my healthcare provider?

Call your healthcare provider if you have any of the following:

  • Pain or trouble moving affects your regular daily activities
  • Pain doesn’t get better or gets worse with treatment
  • A bulge or lump develops at the affected joint
  • Redness or swelling develops at the affected joint
  • You have fever, chills, or night sweats

Key points about bursitis

  • Bursitis is inflammation of a bursa, a closed, fluid-filled sac that works as a cushion and gliding surface to reduce friction between tissues of the body.
  • The most common causes of bursitis are injury or overuse, but it can also be caused by infection.
  • Pain, swelling, and tenderness near a joint are the most common signs of bursitis.
  • Bursitis can be treated with rest and medicines to help with the inflammation. Antibiotics are used if infection is found. If needed, surgery can be done to remove the bursa.
  • You can help prevent bursitis by doing things like warming up before exercise or sports, increasing activity slowly, padding joints, taking rest breaks often, and stopping activities that cause pain.

Next steps

Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your healthcare provider:

  • Know the reason for your visit and what you want to happen.
  • Before your visit, write down questions you want answered.
  • Bring someone with you to help you ask questions and remember what your provider tells you.
  • At the visit, write down the name of a new diagnosis, and any new medicines, treatments, or tests. Also write down any new instructions your provider gives you.
  • Know why a new medicine or treatment is prescribed, and how it will help you. Also know what the side effects are.
  • Ask if your condition can be treated in other ways.
  • Know why a test or procedure is recommended and what the results could mean.
  • Know what to expect if you do not take the medicine or have the test or procedure.
  • If you have a follow-up appointment, write down the date, time, and purpose for that visit.
  • Know how you can contact your provider if you have questions.

Anatomy of the Elbow

The elbow is a hinge joint between the lower end of the humerus bone in the upper arm and the upper end of the radius and ulnar bones in the lower arm. The arm is bent and rotated at the elbow by the biceps muscles in the upper arm. Ligaments located at the front, back, and sides of the elbow help stabilize the joint.