Are Cortisone Injections Effective for Knee Osteoarthritis? - Valley Sports Medicine

Are Cortisone Injections Effective for Knee Osteoarthritis?

If you are suffering from Osteoarthritis you may be wondering what the best treatment is? A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), found that injections into the knee of triamcinolone (a common steroid) resulted in cartilage damage when compared with saline injections.
The study looked at 140 patients over 2 years who met the American College of Rheumatology criteria for symptomatic knee osteoarthritis. Subjects were randomly assigned either to an intra-articular injection of triamcinolone or an intra-articular injection of saline every 12 weeks for 2 years.

At the end of the study, there were NO significant differences among the 2 groups for knee pain, but the triamcinolone injections resulted in significantly greater cartilage volume loss.

This study shows yet again that repeat injections of steroids into joints not only does not provide any long-term relief, but also shows the long-term danger of steroid injections in terms of further damaging the cartilage.  These injections will only hasten the worsening of the arthritis and the eventual the need for a joint replacement.
In contrast, increasing studies show that alternative treatments such as PRP and stem cell injections both have no adverse effects and also can improve joint pain, function and quality of life, and in some cases even increase cartilage thickness.

Source: McAlindon E, et al. Effect of Intra-articular Triamcinolone vs Saline on Knee Cartilage Volume and Pain in Patients With Knee Osteoarthritis: A Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA. 2017;317(19):1967-1975.


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