Steroid shots not as safe as once thought.

A new study published in the journal Radiology has found that steroid shots for hip and knee pain might not be as safe as once thought.  Steroid shots are typically given to patients to relieve pain associated with osteoarthritis in the hip and knee joint.  The pain is usually a result of the joint inflammation that occurs with osteoarthritis.  The corticosteroid injected into the joint reduces the inflammation and patients usually report a decrease in pain.  Typically the benefit of the shot will last about 6 months.  This new study suggests that in the long term, the shot might do more damage.  According to the study,  four main adverse joint findings in patients after injections (1) accelerated OA progression (6%), (2) subchondral insufficiency fracture (0.9%), (3) complications of osteonecrosis (0.7%), and (4) rapid joint destruction, including bone loss (0.7%). Altogether, based on the available results of postprocedural imaging, they recorded 36 adverse joint events in 36 patients (19 women) out of a total of 459  injections (8%).  The researchers did state that more research needs to be done for a definitive conclusion but that patients should be made aware of the risks.

Source: Radiology, October 15, 2019

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