Post Operative Instructions

Cortisone Injections

As part of your treatment you have received an injection of cortisone. Cortisone is a naturally occurring anti-inflammatory hormone which exists in the body at all times.

Injections are used to reduce inflammation in tendons, ligaments, and joints. For arthritic conditions it can be helpful for short-term pain relief (weeks to months). For inflammatory conditions, injections can result in long term or permanent relief from a single shot.

The type of cortisone used for musculoskeletal injections works locally, and is less likely to have some of the generalized side effects of oral cortisone.

The common side effect of local cortisone injections is temporarily increased pain in the area following the injection.

There are very rare side effects of occasional flushing in the face for several hours to a day following the injections, possible de-pigmentation of the skin in the area of the injection, thinning of the skin, or infection.

After the Injection

  1. The area may initially be numb as a result of the Lidocaine, which is a local anesthetic used in conjunction with the cortisone to provide temporary relief in the injected area. Numbness will normally only last for 1 hour.
  2. Most patients tolerate cortisone injections well, however there is a common side effect called a "cortisone flare." This reaction may cause the patient a brief period of pain worse than before the injection. It typically only lasts for 1-2 days and is best treated with rest and application of ice packs to the injected area. Do not apply ice directly to the skin – it should be enclosed in a plastic bag and wrapped in a cloth/towel. Ice should be applied for 10-20 periods of time in an on/off cycle.
  3. Persons with Diabetes may notice an increase in their blood sugar and should closely monitor for 2-3 days after the injection.

Cortisone injections generally begin working within 2-5 days, and mayrequire 7-10 days for full effect. You should limit significant use of theaffected joint (i.e. avoid sports, heavy lifting, etc.) for about 7 days, or peryour physician's directions.

Please call our office if you have any questions about any post-injection symptoms that concern you.