Home Steroid Information How Often Can You Get Cortisone Shots – Recommended Frequency of Injections

How Often Can You Get Cortisone Shots – Recommended Frequency of Injections

Posted by admin in Steroid Information Category. Reviewed and Updated: 19 March, 2019

Cortisone shots are often used to treat orthopedic ailments. Usually they provide a good result. Doctors advise not to have too many cortisone injections. Sometimes you may hear, for example, that you should have three infusions per year. So, how often can you do this manipulation?

How Do Cortisone Shots Work?

First, some words about cortisone shots. These corticosteroid drugs are popular remedies for treating several common orthopedic conditions, in particular:

  • bursitis (inflammation of bursa, a fluid-filled sac or sac-like cavity, which counters friction at a joint);
  • tendonitis (an inflammation/irritation of a tendon);
  • trigger finger (when a finger gets stuck in a bent position);
  • carpal tunnel syndrome (numbness, tingling, and other discomfort due to pressure on the median nerve located in the wrist);
  • tennis elbow (swelling of the tendons causing pain in the elbow and arm; some physicians believe that the use of cortisone is ineffective for treating this condition);
  • knee arthritis (formation of bone spurs or excess fluids in the knee).

These injections work by reducing the level of inflammation in the tissues. Under their effect, the pain also ceases and a patient feels relieved.

Cortisone is now serves a generic name for corticosteroidal medications (pertaining to corticosteroids). However, it was also a detached drug, which was invented in the 1940s.

How Effective Are Injections with Cortisone?

Researches show that cortisone shots are generally effectual. However, cortisone doesn’t cure all orthopedic problems and it’s more powerful for some particular conditions. For instance, it works better for diseases that cause severe swelling and acute inflammation than for those that induce tedious and yucky discomfort.

Cortisone is often prescribed in case of sports injuries like shoulder impingement. This drug gives the maximum effect when it’s applied properly. It shouldn’t be considered the exclusive medicine for administering, since this is an integral additory part of the overall curative therapy, which usually includes rest, appropriate “reconstructive” and precautionary measures. The advantage of this adjunct lies in its property to relieve pain in harmed joints, inflammation and swelling. However, it’s dangerous to abuse the preparation.

Overdose directly damages the articular cartilage or joint surface. Hormones can be compared with a snake’s toxin: they treat in a small dosage, but a large amount can lead to significant harm. In sport industry, there is a rule (adopted from medicine). According to it, you aren’t allowed to make a cortisone injection in the same joint over three times a year. You need to know how to do the infusion properly.

Beginners usually do a shot to the zone that hurts and end up damaging the tendon. Healthcare professionals never do this way. They make an injection only in the surrounding “bag”. Such treatment is practiced with tendinitis of the shoulder joints, elbow and hip joint bursitis. Such procedures can be carried out only by qualified primary-care doctors or nurse practitioners.

Recommended Periodicity of Injections


There is no blanket algorithm that gives the clear number of cortisone shots. But there are problems with injections into the same part of the body. If 1-2 shots in one site don’t show the result over a long period, most likely further injections will be unproductive.

Repeated frequent injections aren’t recommended. However, if, for example, in case of knee arthritis an injection helps every six months, the number of shots isn’t significant. But then, if a person suffers from a shoulder tendinitis with generally healthy shoulder, the quantity of shots should be limited to prevent damage to other tissues.

According to Dr. David Geier, orthopidic surgeons don’t like to do the shots more than 3 times a year.

The Bottom Line on Cortisone Shots Frequency

There is no intelligible rule that would determine the maximum or minimum number of cortisone shots. The important thing is that, before using cortisone injections, you need to consult a specialist. Only a skilled expert can define if cortisone injections are suitable for you. You should keep in your mind the procedure itself isn’t a catholicon. It’s only part of a complex treatment, involving the use of other drugs, physiotherapy, special preventive exercises and other means.

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