Cortisone Knee Injections for Knee Pain-What You Need To Know…

By · September 27, 2011 · Filed in Knee Injections

Cortisone Knee Injections for Knee Pain-What You Need To Know…  

Cortisone knee injections are commonly prescribed by orthopedic doctors as a means of providing temporary relief to knee pain sufferers.  In this blog, I’m going to discuss cortisone injections for knee pain: when to get them, when and why you should avoid them, and why it’s important to consider other knee treatment alternatives. 

Cortisone Knee Injections

Cortisone is considered a steroid that is naturally produced by our bodies (our adrenal glands) in times of stress. However, the cortisone that is injected into the knee joint is not natural it is man made. It is synthetically produced by pharmaceutical companies to help temporarily relieve inflammation and swelling.  For example, Kenalog, and Celestone are all name brands of synthetic cortisone injections.

Cortisone Is NOT A Pain Reliever

A common misconception is that cortisone relieves knee pain.  It is NOT a pain reliever it simply reduces inflammation and swelling in the knee joint. As a result of there being less fluid in the joint, the pressure is alleviated around the sensitive nerve endings and a patient will experience knee pain relief.

When You Should Consider Getting A Cortisone Knee Injection:

Individuals in acute knee pain (those who’ve had a recent sports injury, a car accident, a fall) should consider getting a cortisone injection since it does help temporarily relieve swelling and inflammation in the knee.  The effects of the knee injection can help you get through those first few days or weeks until you can find a REAL SOLUTION to your problem.

Why You Should Avoid Cortisone Knee Injections: 

  • Some patients mistakenly think that they are ‘cured’ after getting an injection, and it gives them a false sense of security since they usually experience pain relief.  Since the relief is just temporary patients should be even more cautious with their knee so as to not injure it further.
  • Long term and repeated use of cortisone will cause bone loss, weakening of tendons, and cartilage loss in the knee joint.  This is why doctors only allow a maximum of three injections per year.
  • Cortisone injections WILL NOT help you if you don’t have swelling or inflammation in the knee joint.
  • Infections are also possible since the needle is injected into the joint.
  • Diabetics have to be monitored when getting cortisone injections since it can spike blood sugar levels.
  • Injections can be painful.
  • Finally, cortisone is not a long term solution to relieving chronic knee pain since it is not repairing or healing the tissue in the joint causing the pain.

Acute Knee Pain VS.  Chronic Knee Pain

In my opinion, if you’ve recently injured your knee and you have swelling, inflammation and pain then a cortisone injection may help you.  However, don’t be fooled into thinking that the effects from the injection will last forever. During that time you should be searching for a REAL solution to your problem.

On the other hand, if you suffer from chronic knee pain for example from bone on bone, arthritis, tendonitis, bursitis, a baker’s cyst, a degenerative meniscus tear, than cortisone should NOT be considered as an option.  After all, cortisone causes cartilage and bone loss, and weakening of the tendons.   The last thing you want to do is to trade one chronic knee problem for another.  I can recall a case where a patient came to see me with a torn patellar tendon.  It tore because it weakened due to the multiple cortisone injections he had over a period of  two years (he had a total of six injections- three injections a year) to relieve tendonitis in his knee.  The injections helped relieve some of his knee pain but what he didn’t realize was that the steroid was damaging and weakening the tendon, and it eventually tore. By the time he came to see me it was too late… he was a surgical case. 

If  he only knew about cold laser therapy for tendonitis knee pain he probably could have avoided the cortisone injections…

Which Knee Treatment is a Better Alternative…

In my clinical experience, (and I’ve treated hundreds of patients with chronic knee pain) cold laser therapy is typically more effective and safer than a cortisone injection. It is a painless, non-invasive treatment tool that allows physicians to eliminate swelling and pain in the knee, but more importantly it is used to help stimulate and accelerate the healing process to repair damaged tissue. 

Cold laser therapy is a better, safer alternative then cortisone because you will experience all of the upsides but none of the side-effects that you would experience with cortisone injections.  In addition, since cold laser therapy works on a cellular level to heal injured, irritated and damaged tissue the results are typically NOT temporary.  On the other hand cortisone does nothing to help tissue repair so even after the injection the problem is still there. Again cortisone only temporarily relieves knee pain by reducing swelling it does nothing to treat the cause of the problem.

If you’re looking for a better alternative to knee injections then Dr. Schnee’s Cold Laser Knee Program™ is a non-invasive, painless treatment option for patients who want to experience knee pain relief, and improved function-without any of the side effects. If you are experiencing knee pain and live in the Dallas-Fort Worth or surrounding areas call the Atlas Medical Center at 214-596-1051. Visit to order a free report. 

If you would like to find out how cold laser therapy can help relieve shoulder pain, low back pain, or neck pain click on the link above.

Dr. Alexandra K. Schnee, B.S.,D.C.,-Your Cold Laser Doctor for the Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas Area-“Helping People with Knee Pain in the Dallas, Fort Worth and surrounding areas since 2001.”

Cortisone Knee Injections for Knee Pain-What You Need To Know…

Find out when to get cortisone knee injections for knee pain and when to avoid them. Also find out about a safer more effective knee treatment alternative.

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