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Readers Respond: Did You Know About Possible Side-Effects of Cortisone?

Responses: 351


Updated January 13, 2010

Cortisone in many joints

I've had cortisone shots in both shoulders and knees. I have joint issues in all my joints. I first had cortisone shots because I had a frozen shoulder and I was told of the side effects. The shot hurt, but my shoulder hurt more. The shot was MORE than WORTH IT. The side effects were minimal and the shot took away a lot of the pain for 2 months of more. I had about 5 shots in that frozen shoulder. Then, I blew out my left knee. Had one cortisone shot in it. Painful, but worked great. Then, my right shoulder froze. Same deal. I've had 3 cortisone shots in it. Some side effects and painful shot, but more than worth it. Could not have dealt with the pain and kept my job and my LIFE without the shots. What you need is a GOOD orthopedic surgeon administering the shots. I'm going to have to have shots in my right knee and both hips in the near future. My orthopedic surgeon is great. We're trying to put off surgery because I'm diabetic. I think I'm going to be able to avoid shoulder surgery.

Was Informed

Had a shot in my left knee. I was given a sheet with potential side effects. Having a history of being anaphylactic to common meds, I was scared ... not of shot but of reaction. Experienced high blood sugar, headache, flushing, nausea. Scheduled for one in hip.
—Guest match31990

Side effects

Never told of side effects and now have no fat in knee and extremely thin skin. Would never get one again.
—Guest Lauz

Had shot previously so didn't research

I had a cortisone shot three years ago by the physicians assistant, and it didn't hurt, nor did I have a side effect. It also helped the pain from a torn menicus. Fast forward three years later, yesterday took another shot. This time the doctor gave it to me, and immediately I felt the needle and pain. I limped off the table, he joked...now you'll need surgery. What troubled me was the headache I had that evening. Usually I take two Excedrin and it disappears, this time it didn't. Felt like a migrane which I never get. I got frightened because I started to get anxious and my BP went up (I am hypertensive). The kicker is, I don't feel relief from the shot. I know the doctor will say "guess time for surgery", but not ready for it since tear is subtle. No, I didn't know the side effects which is very stupid since I research everything....I didn't research because I took the shot before. I don't feel I will take the shot again unless I am in agony.
—Guest Laura

helpful shot

I have had numerous cortisone shots in my knee. It has provided temporary relief from both pain and swelling. I tried synvisc for the first time and it has lasted about 5 months so far, but I am ready for another set of shots. I am not ready for knee replacement surgery and these treatments help me to postpone it. All these negative remarks seem to blame the doctor for there poor results. If you ask for relief from pain and the doc suggests something, you should be the one to ask about side effects. Due diligence is YOUR responsibility. I am grateful I got help for my pain. So far no unpleasant side effects. Just (temporary) relief.
—Guest rovin

help? yeah, right.!

I had my first and LAST cortisone injection 3 weeks ago. Doctor told me it's like magic. Really? My elbow still hurts, little less, but pain is still there, awfully itchy at night, heart palpitations. Looking for different options to treat this pain. I am sure the best way would be strengthening muscles around my forearm. Good luck to me.lol.
—Guest Biviana


I would never have had the Cortisone/Steroid injection if I had know about the tissue loss. There was no mention of this, the only side effect I was made aware of was the loss of pigmentation to the skin. The large discolouration appeared within the first two weeks, however, little did I know that over about four months I would have a whole or cavity on top of my elblow. I have lost extensive tissue and my muscle looks like it has been tugges and pulled around my arm. No fake tan will cover the pigmentation but that doesn't bother me as much as the whole in the arm. I saw the Consultant's registrar last week and he has taken photos and said it was the case he has ever seen. I am also worried because it is very sensitve now to any knock as the bone is very exposed and there is nothing to protect it. I have now been referred to the main Consultant who I should have seen anyway to if there is anything they can do.
—Guest Alyson Atkins

it worked for me!

I have had 2 epidurals for a herniated disc and they have worked for me although I hate the water retention and my period has completely stopped! I have had the heart palpitations too. Overall, though, it has really helped. My doctor warned me of all the side effects.
—Guest Ellie

More pain in ankle than in heal

I was told of the side effects years ago when I had shot in heal but had not a problem. Was asked this time if I wanted to hear them again and I said no because I had no problems before but OMG!! the cold spray hurt worse then the shot itself but when I went to drive my ankle was killing me and now 12 hours later it feels worse then before shot. My heal felt instantly better but not ankle. I have been soaking it in Epsom salt like tole and moving it around, hope tomorrow it is alot better. If it does feel better tomorrow then it was well worth it as I am a waitress and work 10 hour days.
—Guest Amy Kay

If I Had Know...NO!

Cortisone is not worth the possible side effects. In the course of 25 yrs I have had 4 injections in my right elbow. The last one 8 months ago. It was about 6 weeks later I noticed a brown rough patch on my elbow that would not wash off.Then a month later the spot was gone but the pigmentation was also gone and the start of a divot was happening.In the past three months it has progressed and is traveling up the backside of my arm. My doctor said she has never seen anything like that happen and took a picture to show her colleges and a pain management specialist. Never have they seen that kind of reaction and she is now trying to make sure all her T's are crossed and I's dotted....I am worried that it will continue to progress and lose the ability to use my arm.
—Guest Terry

side effects

don't know if i'll do it again, or not... i've had 2 epidurals with flouroscopy between my C2-C3 - did wonders, but really messed with my blood sugars for the next 3-4 days. they say no more epidurals for 3 more months, but the positive effects have already worn off. epidurals were worth it! i've also had cortisone shots (both shoulders) for rotator cuff tears & frozen shoulder: had more crazy blood sugars and hot flashes, but the last set of shots did nothing for the pain. probably won't bother with these again. if you possibly can, DO YOUR RESEARCH "Before The Needle"! read up to see if cortisone is a likely treatment for your problem _before_ you let anyone stick syringes in you.
—Guest jan w

there are other options

I didn't read through all of the comments but I am wondering how many people tried other options such as massage or physio before going for something that provides short term results. If you seek out a skilled and educated massage therapist even you might be able to resolve the pain quite rapidly. Also, Osteopaths (a profession that is well known in Europe and Australia and on the rise in Canada) are a great option!
—Guest RMT Wilson

Diabetes side effects

I clearly check diabetes on my medical history forms. I was told the injection site would be sore the next morning, but nothing else. I did have hot flashes but nothing unbearable. HOWEVER, it shot my blood sugar #s up. I knew I wasn't feeling good but couldn't put my finger on what was wrong until I took my reading. I'm not saying I wouldn't get the shot because of this, but it would have been nice if the doctor would have warned me so I could adjust my eating and keep a closer watch on my numbers.
—Guest Terri

Shoulder Shots

I received two shots in the right shoulder yesterday. The Shots did not hurt to receive. I was warned of general side effects like soreness and the possibility of infection and signed a acknowledgement of such. However, I now have a frozen shoulder that will not move, I have no appetite, a headache that will not go away, and generally fell a bit not right none of which I was warned. Initially the only reaction I had was a heaviness to the joint and a bit of facial flushing. I am not too happy with the shoulder not moving and being incredibly sore ( a flare I believe) so will wait another day before returning to Doc. If pain does not go away, I will NEVER have cortisone again. So far it is not good for me.
—Guest karen

Epidural for Back Pain

I had an epidural procedure on Feb 7th due to injuries stemming from a car accident. My doctor did discuss possible side effects and I also did additional research via Google. So far so good and I feel about 75% better...almost immediately even after the numbness wore off. I am curious though as to whether or not anyone has experienced severe charley horses (major cramping) in legs, back and hands? I have a call in to check on this but that is the only thing I have noticed since the procedure in addition to sleeplessness in the night. Good luck everyone!
—Guest Carole

Would You Have Had a Shot

Did You Know About Possible Side-Effects of Cortisone?

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  1. About.com
  2. Health
  3. Orthopedics
  4. Arthritis
  5. Arthritis Treatment
  6. Injections
  7. Side-Effects of Cortisone Shots - Your Experience With a Cortisone Shot

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