Is cortisone safe?

Welcome to the show, folks! Today we’re going to talk about one of the most controversial questions in medicine. Is cortisone safe? This is a question that has been plaguing doctors and patients alike for years, and today we’re going to settle it once and for all.

What is cortisone?

Cortisone is a synthetic hormone that mimics the effects of cortisol in the body. Cortisol is naturally produced by our adrenal glands and helps regulate our immune system’s response to stress. Cortisone can be injected into specific parts of your body like tendons or joints to reduce inflammation.

Wait…so what’s inflammation again?

Inflammation is basically when your immune system gets all fired up over something. Picture your immune cells throwing a tantrum – they release chemicals into your bloodstream, which causes redness, heat, swelling…you get the idea.

Fun Fact: Did you know that “inflammation” comes from Latin roots meaning fiery or set ablaze? It was believed that an inflamed area contained fire-like properties!

So…IS it safe?

Good question! The short answer: yes, but there are certainly risks involved. Like any medication or procedure,there are pros and cons.


  • Reduces pain – if you’ve ever had joint pain so bad you can hardly move (and let’s face it who hasn’t?!), you’ll know how life-changing cortisone injections can be.
  • Speeds up recovery time – if you’ve got an injury holding you back from training for that marathon…cortisone may help speed things along!
  • Fewer side effects than oral steroids because the injection goes straight where it’s needed


  • Can weaken tendons over time with repeated use
  • Skin discoloration/Ice cream cone effect (mmm tasty…), when fat deposits accumulate at the site of injection
  • May increase blood sugar, which can put diabetics in a sticky situation

Key takeaway from this section: Like most things in life, cortisone has its good points and bad. If you’re considering getting an injection make sure to weigh up the pros and cons with your doctor first.

When is cortisone used?

Now, onto why people get shtuck with these shady needles…

Joint pain/arthritis

Maybe it’s been awhile since you’ve had that awkward experience where grandma shows off how she can wiggle her arthritic fingers like they’re jelly. But millions of people each day struggle to do everyday tasks because joint pain makes them want to throw their fists into walls…or THE FEELING DIMENSIONS.

You know what I’m talking about – Cortisone shots are often prescribed for painful joints (like knees or hips) that have arthritis symptoms. The injections help reduce inflammation around those sore parts WITHOUT needing oral steroids which are often associated with side effects like mood swings and weight gain.

Tendinitis/tennis elbow aka “No I’m not lazy Karen!”

  • Does your arm hurt even just thinking about opening that jar of pickles?
    Cortisone can be great at reducing inflammation associated with tendinitis – especially if other treatments haven’t worked so far!

Although common places for tendinitis include shoulders, elbows, wrists etc., many active wearers turned office-chair warriors also find themselves dealing with this pesky issue.

Allergies/sinusitis/rhinitism: “Why yes my nose IS running a marathon – how kind of you to notice!

  • Let’s face it allergies SUCK all year round.
    If medicines such as antihistamines alone aren’t making enough impact against nasal-super dribbling syptoms …cortisone injections may be the key!
    They act to reduce inflammation in the nasal passageways which can cause excess mucus production (Yuck). Unlike oral steroids, cortisone given this way tends to have few side effects.

Who should NOT get a cortisone injection?

There are some instances where it’s not recommended

If you’re pregnant

If you’re pregnant, avoid needles/moving cars/roller coasters…you know…everything that makes life fun . Cortisoneinjections aren’t safe during pregnancy and hence – not advised!

Active infections

Can’t stress this one enough – if there is even a chance of infection at the site of your proposed injection DO NOT GO AHEAD WITH IT.It’s important to keep superbugs from spreading so we don’t end up with antibiotic resistant bacteria.

So what’s the verdict?

Ah see that is quite complicated really, because while cortisone injections tend to be considered “safe” for most people that doesn’t mean they are pain-free or guaranteed instant success stories.
Absolutely consult your doctor about these treatments- as they will provide more information on safety factors whilst also being able to evaluate whether it’s suitable for you and your situation regardless of what Dr. Google says.

If all else fails maybe reach for an ice pack and call out sick until further notice …Or practice wiggling those arthritic fingers…

cortisol injection diagram

Has this helped inform/change any prior decisions regarding cortisone? Feedback always welcomed!

Random Posts