Why Cortisone Injections Fail and are Dangerous
Cortisone injections are a common treatment for pain and inflammation in joints and soft tissues. They are often used for painful joint conditions in the hip, knee, shoulder and back. However, while they can provide some temporary relief, there are several potential drawbacks and side effects to consider.
Cortisone injections have been associated with several negative effects on tendons and cartilage. Repeated cortisone shots can lead to tendon weakening or even rupture. This is because corticosteroids can disrupt the normal healing process of tendons, leading to a decrease in the tensile strength of the tendon. This can make the tendon more susceptible to injury and potentially lead to a rupture.
As for cartilage, there is concern that repeated cortisone shots might damage the cartilage within a joint. Some studies have shown that corticosteroid injections can accelerate the progression of osteoarthritis in the joint. This is because corticosteroids can inhibit the synthesis of proteins that are essential for cartilage repair and regeneration, leading to a faster wear and tear of the cartilage.
A study published in the British Medical Journal found that cortisone injections into the knee may accelerate the deterioration of knee cartilage, potentially leading to a faster progression towards the need for knee replacement surgery. This is due to corticosteroids inhibiting the synthesis of proteins essential for cartilage repair and regeneration, leading to faster wear and tear of the cartilage.
In addition to weakening of tendons and cartilage, cortisone injections can cause thinning of the nearby bone (osteoporosis) and the skin and soft tissue around the injection site. This can lead to a decrease in the structural integrity of these tissues, making them more prone to injury.
Moreover, corticosteroid injections into the hip can lead to rapidly destructive hip disease (RDHD), a condition involving a rapid loss of the femoral head and acetabulum (the ball-and-socket joint of the hip), leading to severe pain and disability.
While cortisone injections can provide some temporary relief for inflammation and pain, they can have detrimental effects on tendons, cartilage, and bone, leading to weakening of these tissues and accelerated wear and tear. Therefore, the use of cortisone injections should be carefully considered and monitored.
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