Cortisone is often thought of as a miracle cure but remembers 

“if it seems to good to be true, it probably is” 






What is a cortisone injection and how does it help? 

  • Cortisone is a type of steroidal anti-inflammatory drug 
  • It is commonly injected under ultrasound to target the areas of inflammation such as tendons and joint spaces. 
  • Cortisone works to reduce inflammation 
  • It works more quickly than other medications or strategies to manage inflammation 


That sounds great, right?  But it doesn’t always work. 

  • Cortisone does not treat the cause of the problem – because of this the problem can come back. 
  • Long-term effects vary and can depend on the reason for the injection. E.g. Acute trauma or chronic overuse? 
  • There are studies that show cortisone can lead to tissue damage, weakened tendons and softened cartilage in joints and sometimes it can actually cause a flare in inflammation. 


Things to know before getting a Cortisone Injection 

  • Cortisone does not work for everyone. 
  • Anaesthetic is injected with cortisone so patients typically feel better for 2 days after the injection, then return to the same pain or worse after the anaesthetic wears off. 
  • Cortisone can take up to 2 weeks to start working. In this time you need to avoid the painful activities and strengthening exercise. 
  • Cortisone is typically not the first point of call for treatment because of the potential for adverse reactions. 
  • Cortisone should be used in conjunction with physiotherapy, not as an alternative  


Cortisone can be very helpful if conservative treatment hasn’t worked alone. Pain can slow or prevent progress so cortisone can be used to settle symptoms to allow a pain free window where the initial cause of the problem can be addressed. 



Disclaimer: Syndey Physio Group provides this information as an educational service and is not intended to serve as medical advice.