Why is there a limit on steroid injections?

Corticosteroids cause a number of side effects that may be limited to the injected area or affect the entire body. Side effects increase with higher doses and repeated clinical use. For this reason, doctors may limit the number of injections and the cumulative amount of corticosteroids given. In general, you shouldn't get cortisone injections more often than every six weeks and usually no more than three or four times a year.

There is evidence that applying too many steroid injections to the same area can cause damage to the body's internal tissue. Your doctor will probably recommend that you do not get more than three steroid injections in the same part of your body in a year. You may be recommended to take less than that amount depending on your symptoms. There is no medical limit to the number of injections a person can receive.

However, there are concerns about repeated cortisone injections in specific areas of the body. In addition, the individual response to a cortisone injection varies. Some patients don't relieve pain with cortisone treatments. If the first injection doesn't ease the pain, the doctor may try a second injection four to six weeks later.

If there is no improvement after the second injection, a third injection is not recommended. Sometimes, you will be given a local anesthetic with the steroid to reduce the discomfort of the injection. As the most common treatment route for relieving arthritis pain, these injections contain corticosteroids, a drug that mimics hormones that are naturally produced in the body to reduce inflammation. We also receive requests for steroid injections when people are on the waiting list for an operation, such as a total knee or hip replacement or carpal tunnel surgery.

They may want to check their blood pressure and blood sugar levels before the first injection, as steroid injections can cause them to rise. Corticosteroids are different from the steroid compounds related to male hormones that some athletes abuse. Steroid treatment for arthritis and related conditions can be taken in tablet form or given as injections to the affected area. Individual steroid injections should not affect fertility, pregnancy or lactation and may be useful treatments in these situations.

They are not the same as the anabolic steroids that bodybuilders use to increase the size and strength of their muscles. The side effects of injections given into the blood tend to be similar to the side effects of steroid tablets, such as increased appetite, mood changes and difficulty sleeping. If you have had steroids injected into a joint or muscle, your health professional may give you a steroid card to carry with you. Steroids are often injected directly into the joints to treat conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, gout, or other inflammatory diseases.

Local steroids can be administered in the form of eye drops, ear drops, or skin creams and by direct injection into joints, bags (lubricating bags between certain tendons and the bones below them) or around tendons or other areas of soft tissue. Steroid injections are different from anabolic steroids used illegally by some people to increase their muscle mass. For example, in an otherwise healthy individual, tendonitis can be adequately treated with just a local steroid injection. Steroid injections, also called corticosteroid injections, are anti-inflammatory drugs used to treat a variety of conditions.


Matthew M. Cress
Matthew M. Cress

Fitness Trainer. Lab technician. General food junkie. Supplement researcher.