Steroid Injections: Much More Harm than Good?

Steroid Injections: Much More Harm than Good?

Dealing with knee pain or joint pain can lead you down a path of various treatments. And corticosteroid injections have long been a mainstay for quick relief. We've always thought these shots were a quick fix, but new research is showing we might need to think twice.

It turns out, new studies suggest that those suffering from joint pain – particularly in the knees – might want to consider the long-term effects of these injections.

Understanding Knee and Joint Pain Treatments

Arthritis happens when the cushiony cartilage in our joints starts wearing down. This can make moving around painful and stiff, especially in places like our hands, hips, and knees. Over 32 million adults in the US alone are dealing with osteoarthritis, the most prevalent type of arthritis.  

There is no cure for osteoarthritis… Though corticosteroids are often injected directly into the knee joint to reduce pain and inflammation… 

However, two new studies now suggests that may not be such a great idea after all!

A closer look at knee pain treatments has led to some unexpected findings. 

According to two new – albiet small – studies, patients receiving corticosteroid injections for knee pain may see their joint health decline more rapidly. In fact, the studies revealed worse arthritis progression among participants injected with corticosteroids than either the control group or the group receiving hyaluronic acid therapy!

Those opting for hyaluronic acid injections instead experienced a slower progression of joint pain and arthritis symptoms.

Expert Opinions on Managing Knee Pain

The medical community is buzzing with discussions about how to best manage knee and joint pain. Studies have shown varying results, and experts like rheumatologists and orthopedic researchers are calling for more data. 

Dr. Jason Kim of the Arthritis Foundation noted that he’d prefer to see a much higher sample size over a longer period of time before writing off corticosteroids completely. Kim said that his organization actually does not recommend corticosteroids or hyaluronic acid injections for arthritis.

Better treatment options are needed for those suffering from knee and joint pain associated with osteoarthritis. And understanding the full impact of corticosteroid injections on knee and joint pain is crucial for patients and doctors making treatment decisions.

Actionable Advice for Joint Pain Sufferers

If knee pain or joint pain is part of your daily struggle, here’s what you need to know:

  • Consult Your Doctor: Discuss the latest research findings and their implications for your knee pain with a healthcare professional.
  • Non-Injection Options: Explore alternatives like physical therapy, knee sleeves, or other non-invasive treatments for joint pain relief.


When it comes to managing knee pain and joint pain, the choice of treatment is critical. Steroid injections may provide immediate relief, but the potential for hastening arthritis progression cannot be ignored. 

With knee and joint health at stake, it's essential to stay informed and consider all available options to ensure long-term well-being!

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