"I don't want a short-term bandaid for this problem, I want it fixed!"
This is a common refrain we hear from patients, and we agree! In certain situations, a steroid injection can be part of your road to recovery. Here are the 3 main purposes of this kind of injection.
1) Diagnostic: If you get an injection into your knee or shoulder and your pain goes away, then many times the diagnosis is confirmed. Even if the shot only lasts for a few hours, we have gained valuable information.
2) Therapeutic: The steroid quells inflammation and therefore makes the tissue in your shoulder or knee less swollen. This will interrupt the vicious cycle of injury-->swelling-->friction-->more injury
3) Maximizing Rehab: Even though the steroid will not be detectable in your joint several months later, many times the pain will not return. This is because the patient has been able to effectively rehabilitate by simply being able to participate in therapy and allowing the body to move in a more physiologic manner.