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Steroid Injections

Steroid injections are a mainstay of orthopedic management.

They can be used to treat pain from arthritis, tendonitis, bursitis, and many other problems.  Your surgeon may recommend a steroid injection as the intitial treatment for many of these conditions.

Aren’t steroid injections just a temporary “band-aid”?

While steroid injections may provide temporary relief for some problems, they may allow for a cure in other situations.  Steroids are a strong anti-inflammatory medication.  And many orthopedic problems come from inflammation that has outlived its original purpose.  So sometimes we have to break that cycle of inflammation by chemical means, such as a steroid injection.

Other times, temporary relief from steroids can allow for the time needed for other treatments to work their magic.  This is why steroid injections can often improve the results from physical therapy.  By providing temporary relief of inflammation, we allow the therapy to progress without any thing holding it back.

How often can I get a steroid injection?

Steroid injections can lead to problems if used to often.  In general, it is safe to provide asteroid injection once every three months.

Are steroids bad for my joints?

Steroids can harm cartilage and tendons if injections are performed at high doses or if given too frequently.  But given as a single dose they rarely cause any problems.

What are the alternatives to steroid injections?

Steroids are the most commonly used injections.  But there are alternatives.  Toradol is a strong NSAID that can be given via injection.  Platelet-rich plasma is another injectable treatment derived from your own blood that can help your body heal itself.  And viscosupplementation is a way restoring the natural lubrication for arthritic joints.

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