Unfortunately, corticosteroid injections are a popular choice among medical providers for patients suffering from osteoarthritis, despite the availability and effectiveness of nondrug options.
The problem with injections, according to new research: they may actually escalate the progression of OA and increase the likelihood that the patient will require joint replacement surgery at some point.
Published in Radiology, the new study found a significant rate of complications among osteoarthritis patients who received intra-articular corticosteroid injections to the hips or knees. Complications appeared two to 15 months following the injections.
Findings came courtesy of analysis of two sources: the existing literature database on corticosteroid injections for OA and data on 459 patients at Boston Medical Center who received 1-3 injections for hip or knee OA in 2018.
In their introduction, the researchers emphasize that “practitioners should be alert for emerging evidence that clarifies or helps determine the balance between benefits and potential harm. Patient preference should have a substantial influence on the type of treatment selected.” If their very own study isn’t “emerging evidence that helps clarify” the potential harm side of the equation, we don’t know what does. If you’re suffering from osteoarthritis, make sure you’re well-educated on nondrug alternatives for your joint pain.