Cortisone shots carry a risk of complications, such as:

  • Death of nearby bone (osteonecrosis)
  • Joint infection
  • Nerve damage
  • Thinning of skin and soft tissue around the injection site
  • Temporary flare of pain and inflammation in the joint
  • Tendon weakening or rupture
  • Thinning of nearby bone (osteoporosis)
  • Whitening or lightening of the skin around the injection site

Limits on the number of cortisone shots

There's some concern that repeated use of cortisone shots may cause deterioration of the cartilage within a joint. For this reason, doctors typically limit the number of cortisone shots into a joint. In general, cortisone injections should not be given more often than every six weeks and usually not more than three or four times a year.

Aug. 13, 2013