Arthritis: Shots for Knee Pain

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Topic Overview

Arthritis hurts. And it can make it harder to move your joints. When you don't move your joints as much, your ligaments, tendons, and muscles can shorten and get weaker.

But knee shots, or injections, can help you cope with the pain and be more active.

Which shots are used for knee arthritis?

The most common shot for arthritis knee pain is a steroid shot. It's also called a cortisone or corticosteroid shot. Arthritis pain is caused by inflamed tissue, and the steroid shot can help to reduce the inflammation.

Steroid shots can give quick pain relief. For some people, the relief lasts only a few weeks. Others get relief for 6 months or longer. And for some people, these shots don't help at all.

Another kind of shot for osteoarthritis is a hyaluronic acid injection. But most experts don't recommend getting this shot. Many studies show that it doesn't help.

What are the side effects of shots for arthritis knee pain?

A common side effect of arthritis shots is pain and swelling the first day or two after the shot. It may help to apply ice at home for 15 to 20 minutes.

Injecting anything into a joint or tendon has a very small risk of harm, including:

  • Damage to a tendon, ligament, or nerve.
  • Bleeding into the tissue.
  • Infection.

Because of these risks, most doctors limit their patients to just a few steroid shots in a year.

Although these problems rarely happen, your doctor may mention them to you before you get a shot into a joint.

Nobody likes needles. The shot does hurt, but it's quick.

Credits

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerKathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerJeffrey N. Katz, MD, MPH - Rheumatology

Current as ofOctober 31, 2016