Cortisone Injection - Side effects

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What side effects (if any) did you experience with your cortisone injection?

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What are the disadvantages and side effects of cortisone injections?

Disadvantages of cortisone injections are the necessity of piercing the skin with a needle as well as potential short- and long-term side effects. It should be emphasized that though each of these side effects is possible, they usually do not occur.

Short-term complications are uncommon but include shrinkage (atrophy) and lightening of the color (depigmentation) of the skin at the injection site, introduction of bacterial infection into the body, local bleeding from broken blood vessels in the skin or muscle, soreness at the injection site, and aggravation of inflammation in the area injected because of reactions to the corticosteroid medication (postinjection flare). Increased pain after the injection is typically due to a postinjection flare because true allergies to cortisone are very rare. Tendons can be weakened by corticosteroid injections administered in or near tendons. Tendon ruptures as a result have been reported. Facial flushing may occur in up to 40% of cases but lasts only briefly. Sweating and insomnia are uncommon side effects.

In people who have diabetes, cortisone injections can elevate the blood sugar. In patients with underlying infections, cortisone injections can suppress somewhat the body's ability to fight the infection and possibly worsen the infection or may mask the infection by suppressing the symptoms and signs of inflammation. Generally, cortisone injections are used with caution in people with diabetes and avoided in people with active infections. Cortisone injections are also used cautiously in people with a bleeding disorder.

Long-term complications of corticosteroid injections depend on the dose and frequency of the injections. With higher doses and frequent administration, potential side effects include thinning of the skin, easy bruising, weight gain, puffiness of the face, acne (steroid acne), elevation of blood pressure, cataract formation, thinning of the bones (osteoporosis), and a rare but serious type of damage to the bones of the large joints (avascular necrosis).

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Comment from: Punky, 75 or over Female (Patient) Published: April 11

I am an 80 year old female and have been receiving cortisone injections in my lower back every two and half months for 2 to 3 years. After the injections the next day, the cheeks of my face are blood red and burn, even hot to the touch. Now, I have developed rosacea and am wondering, can rosacea be a result of cortisone/steroid injections. Since cortisone causes a thinning of the skin, blood vessels are probably affected.

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Comment from: Dyna, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: April 14

I have recently had a cortisone injected in my wrist for the treatment of long-term carpal tunnel syndrome. From the moment my doctor inserted the needle, I felt the nerve pain that is still much stronger than before the shot. It has been about 26 hours of no relief but the doctor promised it would help within 24 hours. I had this injection as it took me over 2 years of various treatments and exercises to calm that nerve down to a tolerable state. I am hoping it is just a side effect but seems like I"ve ended up with more damage than expected.

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