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Information regarding your cortisone injection

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About your Injection  

The cortisone injection is composed of two medications, a long acting anesthetic called Marcaine, and an anti-inflammatory glucocorticoid, called Depo-Medrol. The purpose of the injection is to relieve pain and inflammation caused by arthritis in the joint. The injection is administered using sterile technique after verbal consent is obtained.

Care after Cortisone Injection

It is common to experience swelling, pain, and slight redness around the injection site for the first 24-48 hours after your injection. You may apply ice for 20 minutes every 2-3 hours over the next few hours and/or take an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen to alleviate the pain. You are encouraged to avoid excessive physical activity following the injection.


The numbing effects of Marcaine can be felt within several minutes of administration of the injection and can last from 6-12 hours. The cortisone itself may take 5-7 days for pain relief to occur. The lasting effects are different for each patient and often dependent on the extent of arthritis in the joint as well as previous use of cortisone injections. Most patients have relief for 3-4 months. For others, a cortisone injection may not work.


With any injection, the risk of allergic reaction, infection and bleeding is possible, though less likely when proper sterile technique is used. If you begin to experience abnormal symptoms such as spreading redness, rash, itching, increase in swelling, increased warmth surrounding the injection site, rapid heart rate or difficulty breathing, please call our office or seek medical attention. Swelling, redness around the incision site and itching often resolve on their own within several days.

Diabetic Warning: Administration of cortisone may cause a rapid increase your glucose (sugar) level. Please monitor your glucose levels closely. If your glucose level should fail to return to normal one week after the injection, please consult with your primary care provider. If your diabetes is managed with insulin, you may need increased insulin doses over the next week.

Follow up

If the cortisone injection does help to alleviate your pain, you may receive a cortisone injection every 3-4 months as needed to alleviate your arthritis pain. Please call our office with any questions you may have.


Please note that some insurance companies require pre-authorization through our office prior to cortisone injections which may require a second visit for the injection.


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