Intra-articular corticosteroid injections have been used for decades in the management of symptomatic osteoarthritis of the knee and remain a common practice. The pain relief from a steroid injection is thought to work by reducing inflammation within the arthritic knee. Substantial variability remains among providers with regard to the technique used to perform the procedure, including the site of the injection, the medications injected, and the level of sterility. The success of steroid injections in relieving arthritic knee pain most often occurs in the short term. However, the efficacy of intra-articular corticosteroid injections varies within the published literature. The latest American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons clinical practice guideline does not support conclusive recommendations about the use of intra-articular corticosteroid injections for symptomatic knee osteoarthritis. Providers should be aware of the adverse effects and potential complications of these injections when using them in clinical practice.
From the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA.
Dr. Browne or an immediate family member has received royalties from DJ Orthopedics; serves as a paid consultant to DJ Orthopedics and Ethicon; has stock or stock options held in Radlink; and serves as a board member, owner, officer, or committee member of the American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons, American Joint Replacement Registry, Southern Orthopaedic Association, and Virginia Orthopaedic Society. Neither Dr. Martin nor any immediate family member has received anything of value from or has stock or stock options held in a commercial company or institution related directly or indirectly to the subject of this article.