Complications of cortisone shots can include:
- 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
- Death of nearby bone (osteonecrosis)
- Temporary increase in blood sugar
Limits on the number of cortisone shots
There's concern that repeated cortisone shots might cause the cartilage within a joint to deteriorate. So doctors typically limit the number of cortisone shots into a joint.
In general, you shouldn't get cortisone injections more often than every six weeks and usually not more than three or four times a year.