Cortisone is a form of steroid. This type of steroid is a very strong anti-inflammatory — which is why it is usually successful at alleviating the pain associated with tendonitis. Cortisone has certain risks associated with it and should be used with caution in many people. Talk to your doctor about whether a steroid injection is appropriate for your shoulder pain. Cortisone is not useful for treating mechanical sources of pain — such as a labral tear or a SLAP lesion. If a repair of the rotator cuff is planned, an injection is not advisable because it may delay or prevent healing.   Recently, there has been a significant interest in using PRP, or Platlet Rich Plasma injections instead of cortisone — but research into this continues.

Disclaimer:  this information is for your education and should not be considered medical advice regarding diagnosis or treatment recommendations. Some links on this page may be affiliate links. Read the full disclaimer.

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About the author:

Howard J. Luks, MD

Howard J. Luks, MD

A Board Certified Orthopedic Surgeon in Hawthorne, NY. Dr. Howard Luks specializes in the treatment of the shoulder, knee, elbow, and ankle. He has a very "social" patient centric approach and believes that the more you understand about your issue, the more informed your decisions will be. Ultimately your treatments and his recommendations will be based on proper communications, proper understanding, and shared decision-making principles – all geared to improve your quality of life.

6 comments on “What is cortisone and how do cortisone injections work?

  • Hi,
    In August 2014 I injured my shoulder lifting a heavy wooden pallet, and without any tests I was told it was a muscle sprain, sent to physical therapy for a few weeks and then back to my production based job. My pain never went away some days the pain is worse than others. I have pain in the front and top of my shoulder sometimes a dull ache in the back of my shoulder, mostly painful when I reach back with my arm. Sometimes it feels like theres something sharp in my top of my shoulder. The pain keeps me up at night sometimes if I overuse my arm the pain travels up my neck and causes headaches. I had X-rays and an MRI My doctor said he didn’t see any tears but that I had some swelling??? He doesn’t know why, he actually told me it didn’t matter (it matters to me) and he gave me a Cortisone shot in the back of my shoulder, which didn’t help at all. Any ideas as to what may be going on with my shoulder, I am desperate to figure it out I’ve had pain for almost six months now and it’s exhausting. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated and I can confer with my doctor. Thanks, Brenda

    • search our site and read up and rotator cuff tendinosis … the most common cause of shoulder pain.

  • Hlw I am a volleyball player I have partial slap tear 10 o’clock to 12 o’clock position. I go to doctor he said me that surgery is needed .bt I don’t want to any surgery. Is there any other option to cure my pain and slap tear

  • Sorry cheating – this is about calcific tendonitis shoulder. I tried to reach you on curely but no luck
    Is there a low size limit below which barbotage is inadvisable please?

    • not really… as long as we feel the calcium is the source of the pain it should work. Some people have calcium in their cuff, but it is not the source of their pain.

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