Corticosteroids are a class of steroid hormones that are produced in the adrenal cortex. These corticosteroids have a wide range of physiological processes including stress response, immune response, regulating inflammation, carbohydrate metabolism, protein catabolism, blood electrolyte levels, and behaviour. Cortisone is a type of ‘corticosteroid’ and functions as an anti-inflammatory. Corticosteroid injections use corticosteroids to reduce inflammation associated with pain, swelling, and loss of function. Treatment can be on joints, tendons, muscles, and fascia. Conditions that can be treated with corticosteroid injections include arthritis, synovitis, tendonitis, bursitis and fasciitis. Corticosteroid injections are generally used as an adjunct to a multifactorial treatment plan.
What can I expect at my Corticosteroid Injection treatment?
The skin is prepared with an antiseptic and numbing spray. Sometimes the injection is performed using ultrasound guidance to enhance accuracy and improve outcomes. Strict aseptic technique will be implemented for increased patient safety, especially if the injection is into a joint. The pain experienced during the injection is minimal, and in most cases, the patient can leave the clinic post treatment.
What are the benefits of Corticosteroid Injections?
The corticosteroid injection can have both diagnostic and therapeutic benefits. If symptoms are reduced by the effect of the local anesthetic, this provides clinical evidence that the structure injected is a partial source of the pain, hence being ‘diagnostic’. Depending on the current balance between mechanical and inflammatory components, the injection may provide a ‘therapeutic’ effect by reducing inflammation. The success of this depends on many factors, including: duration of pain, severity of the problem, associated mechanical components, and biological factors. For a small number of patients, there is no therapeutic benefit. When administered, corticosteroid injections can greatly assist in definitively treating many conditions, as well as assisting with rehabilitation of an active lifestyle.