Why did a cortisone shot not help my pain?

Cortisone shots used to be some of the most common treatments in orthopedic surgery offices. Their use has declined somewhat, but many orthopedic surgeons still use them for a number of bone and joint conditions.

In this Ask Dr. Geier video, I explain when a cortisone shot might help a patient – and when it might not.

Shelby asks:
I have had 3 cortisone shots in my shoulder due to anterior shoulder pain that was caused from my biceps tendon being irritated. Unfortunately none of them worked in reducing my symptoms. I recently just had a cortisone injection for medial knee pain, and that one also did not work. It actually made the pain worse for a couple days. Is it possible that my body doesn’t react to cortisone?

Cortisone is a steroid that acts as an anti-inflammatory medication. It can help to decrease pain and swelling in a joint. It can be helpful for some problems but not others.

In this video, I explain what a patient could ask the doctor if a cortisone shot fails to offer much relief.

Have you had a cortisone shot? What was your injury, and did it help? Please share your experience below!

Also read:
Ask Dr. Geier – How often can you get cortisone injections?
Ask Dr. Geier – Do cortisone shots help meniscus tears?

Please remember, while I appreciate your questions, I cannot and will not offer specific medical advice by email, online, on my show, or in the comments at the end of these posts. My responses are meant to provide general medical information and education. Please consult your physician or health care provider for your specific medical concerns.

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david-headshot I am an orthopaedic surgeon and sports medicine specialist in Charleston, South Carolina.

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