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Steroid Injections – Concerns for Knee Osteoarthritis

Posted on: March 7th, 2018 by Dawn Payne
Dawn Payne

PT (Physiotherapist)
Dawn graduated from the University of Alberta in 1995 with a Bachelor of Science in Physical Therapy. In 2002, Dawn became one of the business partners of CSA Physiotherapy Grandin Plaza and assumed management at this location in St. Albert while continuing her successful physiotherapy work with clients. See Dawn and the rest of the staff at our St. Albert location


In the medical field, we have often recommended steroid injections to help patients manage arthritic knee pain. That may soon change. There is new information and research that is now being discovered.

Why have steroid injections been used for knee osteoarthritis?

Knee osteoarthritis can be quite painful and can limit your ability to do the activities you love. Doctors have been using these injections for many years to help manage knee pain due to arthritis. The injection is believed to help reduce inflammation in the joint and therefore decrease pain.  Doctors often recommend this treatment when your knee isn’t bad enough for surgery but your pain limits your activities.

What’s New in the Research?

A new study published in The Journal of American Medical Association found that repeated steroid injections did not result in any long term improvement in pain. Dr. Timothy McAlindon at Tufts Medical Centre in Boston, also found that clients who had steroid injections had more cartilage loss.

Based on his findings Dr. McAlindon concluded that “long term steroid injections are not an effective or efficient therapeutic strategy in the long term management of knee osteoarthritis.”

As a physiotherapist, I have treated many people with knee pain. Sometimes, I do recommend injections. However, I will be keeping this new research in mind.

If you have knee pain due to arthritis, be sure to look at all of your options. New advances in treatment may be worth considering when it comes to your health and well being.

In health and wellness,

~Dawn

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