Cortisone is a corticosteroid released by the adrenal gland in response to stress and is a potent anti-inflammatory agent. Artificial preparations similar to your body’s natural cortisone are injected directly into the affected joint to relieve pain and reduce inflammation. On average, cortisone injections take 3-5 days to take full effect and may last from a few days to a few months depending on the individual patient and situation.
Cortisone injections offer significant relief in pain & inflammation; however, they can be associated with certain adverse effects. The most common side effect is a “cortisone flare”, a condition where cortisone irritates the joint and causes severe pain for a brief period that lasts for a day or two. Cortisone flare can be minimized by applying ice to the injected area. Other adverse effects include whitening of the skin and infection at the injection site, a transient elevation in blood sugar in patients with diabetes.