View Full Version : Cortisone Shot Question

03-30-2007, 01:35 PM
Hi all,

I got a cortisone shot in my knee yesterday. I'd be interested in hearing if you've had one, and how long it takes to kick in (or if it didn't work at all), and how long it lasted. My doc said a few days to a few weeks, but I'm interested in anecdotal experiences.

By the way, it hardly hurt at all. At about the same level as a flu shot for the numbing meds, and I didn't feel the cortisone injection at all (I felt it as pressure, not as pain). So if you have to have one in your knee, don't be scared :) (I was!).


03-30-2007, 01:53 PM
I had a cortisone shot in my left knee last May in attempts to help my ITBS. The shot itself did not hurt at all (I was shocked!) but about 1-2 hours later, the pain came on strong. I rested for 5 days, per ortho doc orders, and then eased back into my cycling routine. Felt minimal relief from the discomfort the IT band was causing during that resting period. Once I started becoming active again the discomfort returned to the same levels as before the shot.

03-30-2007, 02:11 PM
I don't like cortisone shots, not one bit! I realize that they are helpful in some cases, but the number of shots you can receive is limited in order to prevent further damage.

In my case, that number was <1. I herniated a tendon sheath in my palm- base of my third finger (too much rock climbing, oops!), and received a cortisone shot to reduce the swelling and lack of motion. It worked- kind of- until about a year later when the problem came back with a vengeance. I apparently did not have a good reaction to the cortisone, and my connective tissue was weakened- and this time I had to undergo surgery to repair it. It was an interesting experience- I couldn't drive a stick shift, write on an overhead while teaching, nor button my own jeans for a while. Good times!

So be careful with the cortisone, okay? It may temporarily relieve pain, but it will not address the underlying issues that are causing your problem. Hope your knee feels better!

03-30-2007, 02:42 PM
Cortisone works well if the problem is properly diagnosed and the injection technique is good. You have to diagnose the correct cause of the pain in order to know where to inject the cortisone. Even if you know the right tissue you want to treat, if you're technique sucks you won't get the cortisone to the right area. If you inject the cortisone around the area, but close to it, this gets the best result. If you inject directly into the tissue, the cortisone can weaken it and result in a rupture. That's likely what happened to Trickytiger.

Finally, even if the injection is a good one, if you don't eliminate the stress that caused the inflammation in the first place, the pain will come back and any relief you have from the cortisone will most likely be temporary.

03-30-2007, 02:50 PM
I trust that my cortisone shot was appropriate under the circumstances. What I have is basically chronic inflammation (and I had diagnostics to rule out everything else, including xray and MRI) from a very bad fall in November, and we tried all the other standard methods (anti-inflammatories, ice, rest, rehab, acupuncture, diet change, supplements) and the inflammation just won't go away, probably because my knee isn't tracking correctly (I'm working on that with my chiropractor). My ortho will only give me two shots, and we only resorted to that because I am going on a bike trip in Italy in May, so I know this isn't a solution to the underlying problem.

03-30-2007, 03:39 PM
I've had cortisone injections in both my wrist and my foot. The injection in my foot hurt like h*ll to the point I thought I was going to pass out and fall off the table. The injection site in my foot was extremely painful for about 24hours following the dreaded injection but after that my foot felt great.

The three injections I had in my wrist worked equally as well and were given without any pain. However, the relief only lasted about 6 - 8 weeks with each at which time the pain and discomfort returned and seemed to be worse than before the injection. I finally saw a chiropractor who worked on my wrist for about 8 weeks and I've been relatively pain free for over a year.

I hope your knee feels better soon.

03-31-2007, 08:37 AM
I have had a few in my feet as well. And i agree the foot shots were sooooooooo painful and I could barely walk for at least 5 days. My pain has not totally come back but last week it felt like the shots had completly warn off. But this week I am fine go figure. I am dreading the fact that i might have to surgery. I don't want it! But my feet have felt so good with no pinch nerve thingy going on. I swear my doc told me it could be a cure? Was I wrong?

03-31-2007, 12:53 PM
It probably depends exactly what your foot issue is, but in my case, I had plantar fascitis, got custom orthotics and a cortisone shot in my foot (and yeah, it HURT), and have been basically pain free for almost 20 years.

04-01-2007, 10:48 AM
Well... I think I can add to the general confusion...

I had a shot in my shoulder pro'ly about 10-15 years ago (I had toddlers, that I remember too). I couldn't lift my arm higher than my shoulder - I got very skilled at pegging up washing with hand.

After a couple of weeks of "putting up with", my partner hauled me off to the doctor - said I would pro'ly get a cortisone shot and warned me how much they could hurt (he'd had a couple in knees due to rugby injuries).

Had the shot - no pain from that... no pain errupting and after two days was regaining use of my arm without the original pain.

For me, cortisone worked, and worked painlessly...

04-01-2007, 02:31 PM
My experience:

I injured my knee running errands in the car (in-out-in-out-in-OUCH!).

I got a cortosone shot and a brace which made everything all better. The shot was all but painless, excepting for having the doc poke around looking for Just The Right Spot. Evidently, her technique is good, relief was immediate. I only needed one shot - then used the brace 'til I got tired of the thing.

I don't really want more of them, it felt just too darn good to be good for me.

04-01-2007, 04:28 PM
I've had a number of them over the years, the most recent in my right knee. I have very little cartilidge left and I couldn't walk very far. The shot took more than a week to kick in which was longer than they have taken in the past. I am now several months past the shot and it's still keeping the inflammation pretty well at bay. My left knee is titanium, so no more shots in that one!

04-01-2007, 05:47 PM
My experience:

broken humerus (two places) with 3 pins immobilizing the shoulder and arm for 4 weeks. frozen shoulder (adhesive encapsulitis) kicked in. After the pins were removed, PT 3 times a week for several months, then twice a week for awhile, after about 4 months even with the PT and my own careful exercising daily, my range of motion was not returned. I was stuck at between 10 and 11 oclock for at least a full month without any improvement. Cortisone shot. Surprisingly pain free despite the massive looking needle. :eek: I felt like the range of motion was instant, but it was probably the next day.... :D

I really take it seriously when medical professionals suggest that you really ought to have no more than 3 cortisone shots in your lifetime. I hope to never have to use the other two, and I hope, if I ever do, that they will be equally successful!

Range of motion in my shoulder, 8 years later is still good, and stable. Pain is occasional, but pretty non-existant when I keep moving. As my PT Of the time said: move it or lose it.

Good luck with your knees!

Hugs and butterflies,