Instructions after an Injection

The effects of a cortisone injection can be variable and often unpredictable.  The cortisone preparation, an anti-inflammatory agent, acts locally on the involved joint or soft tissue. Since cortisone is absorbed slowly, it may take several days before you notice any benefit. Some of the cortisone may be absorbed by your body and cause flushing of the face and/or nervousness for a few days. This is not serious and will resolve. You may also notice an improvement in pain in other musculoskeletal areas.

A local anesthetic is used at the time of the injection and because of it, you may experience immediate relief of pain. However, the local anesthetic will wear off within 2 to 3 hours and your pain may return.  Also, because the injection puts additional fluid (the cortisone preparation) into the joint or soft tissue causing increased pressure, you may experience more pain until the medication is absorbed. This pain may be relieved by applying a cold pack to the affected area for 20 minutes four times a day.

Depending on the diagnosis, relief from inflammation or pain in the area may last a few weeks to several months.

Following the injections, it is important to protect the area for at least 48 hours. Avoid overuse of injected upper extremity joints and limit weight-bearing on injected lower extremity joints. Taking these simple precautions will minimize the change of injury and increase the effectiveness of the injection.

Should any reaction to the injection persist, or if you have any questions, please call your physician.

If symptoms of a true allergy develop (hives, difficulty breathing, etc.) please visit the nearest emergency room.