Chronic Knee Pain, can Cortisone Shots Help?

cortisone-shots-chronic-knee-pain-nyc-doctor-01Studies have shown that the knee is one of the most vulnerable joints in the body. We all constantly use our knees. Walking, driving, riding a bike, or even just sitting at an office desk can put stress on our knees. Over time, our knees can develop pain. When people have knee pain, one of the first treatments they think of might be cortisone shots. But will cortisone shots help you? in order to answer that question, we first have to look at the anatomy of the knee, what causes knee pain, and how cortisone shots can help.

Knee Anatomy

medical-illustration-parts-of-knee-pain-02Functionally speaking, the knee is a fairly simple joint. As a comparison, look at the hip. our hips can move in three different planes; forward and back, sideways, and rotationally. Now, look at the knee. Then you can only do two movements, bending and straightening. This makes them very efficient and effective joints for the necessary daily task of walking. However, it also puts the knee in a particularly unprotected situation. If for some reason, a force is applied that would require the knee to move sideways or rotate, these movements are blocked by bony restrictions. if enough force is applied, these bones can break or cartilage can be degraded. Either situation also brings along pain and swelling. Additionally, the kneecap is held in place by ligaments. When under stress, these ligaments can stretch, tear, or even snap.

Causes of Knee Pain

The most common cause of knee pain is overuse. Many knee injuries happen while playing sports. Snowboarding, basketball, and soccer are all common culprits for causing knee pain. Knee pain can also simply be caused by repetitive motion or additional strain from lifting. Problems in the lower back, such sciatica, can cause a referred pain that is felt in the knee but originates elsewhere. Autoimmune disorders can cause swelling and inflammation of the knee for no apparent reason. Whatever the initial cause of the pain in the knee is, it can be difficult to give the knee time to heal. One common acronym to help people remember how to recover from an injury is RICE. This stands for rest, ice, compression, and elevation. Whenever we have knee pain, we might rush to get an ice pack, elevate our leg, or even put on a compression bandage. It’s hard to give the knee time to rest, though. Because it is so essential in such a basic skill, walking, we use our knees far more often than we think. This just draws out the amount of time it takes for our knees to heal from whatever injury we are dealing with. Additionally, bad posture at our workplace, in the car, or at home can put constant strain on the knees and make recovery even slower.

Cortisone Shots and Knee Pain

cortisone-shots-for-knee-pain-relief-top-nyc-pain-doctor-03Cortisone shots are a common treatment for relieving knee pain. Cortisone acts to reduce swelling, minimize pain, and assist with recovery. But cortisone shots are not the answer for all pain found in the knee. For example, referred pain caused from tight muscles in the lower back, poor body mechanics, or autoimmune disorders are not simply problems in the knee. Therefore, any relief found through cortisone shots would only be temporary. In order to really solve the problem, we would have to thoroughly discuss are symptoms with a doctor who is familiar with the affected area.

Are you dealing with knee pain? Call Dr. Grimm to make an appointment for a consultation to see if cortisone shots, or some other treatment, will help you.

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