How Effective Is Cortisone for Bursitis?

Article Details
  • Written By: Angela Farrer
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 01 April 2020
  • Copyright Protected:
    Conjecture Corporation
  • Print this Article
Free Widgets for your Site/Blog
On Oct. 24, 1975, 90% of women in Iceland refused to work, either at home or at their jobs, demanding equal rights.  more...

April 4 ,  1968 :  Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated.  more...

Cortisone for bursitis can have varying effectiveness, depending on the severity and location of the bursitis, the amount and frequency of the cortisone dosage, and whether sufferers have underlying health conditions that could possibly lead to side effects. Many physicians who administer cortisone injections instruct their patients to rest the treated areas for a certain length of time until the cortisone can take full effect. Some people with bursitis develop this condition from repetitive physical activity with improper joint movement, so their doctors may recommend specific exercises for them to help diminish future inflammation. Bursitis sufferers who carefully follow these directions for healing time generally see the best results from cortisone injections.

Using cortisone for bursitis can often be helpful for reducing the uncomfortable joint swelling that comes with this condition. The most common areas for bursitis flare-ups include the shoulder, elbow, and hip joints. An injected dose of cortisone for bursitis is generally more effective when administered as soon as possible at the first noticeable signs of discomfort. Sufferers who allow the bursitis inflammation to worsen before seeing a physician may need higher cortisone doses that take a longer time to bring significant relief from this problem.


Bursitis can sometimes respond better to cortisone, depending on this condition's exact location in the body. Inflammation that occurs deeper in the bursa of a joint can sometimes be more resistant to this treatment and require higher dosages. Cases of bursitis can also occur in soft joint tissues closer to the surface of the skin. These often need smaller doses and fewer injections. Many physicians also consider injections of cortisone to be the safest and most effective for patients without weakened immune systems or infections such as the influenza virus.

Different underlying health problems can also determine the effectiveness of cortisone for bursitis. People with certain types of diabetes are normally candidates for only small doses of cortisone because this substance carries the risk of elevated blood sugar. If some diabetics have more severe cases of bursitis, cortisone injections may not be the most effective treatment options for them as a result. Cortisone for bursitis can also be less effective for patients who have lower bone densities that may indicate early-stage osteoporosis. This kind of injection administered to some osteoporosis patients can carry higher risks of serious side effects such as internal bleeding into the affected joint.


You might also Like


Discuss this Article

Post 3

Cortisone is very effective for bursitis. I had to use it once and I did experience a great deal of relief afterward. But it's important to understand that cortisone is not a permanent treatment and it can't be used all the time. So if the bursitis is coming back after the cortisone wears off, it's probably not a good idea to get another cortisone injection.

Post 2

@serenesurface-- Doctors only recommend cortisone treatment for patients with persistent bursitis that does not go away with other milder treatments. So, of course, cortisone is not necessary if a few days of rest and cold therapy will do the trick. But when none of these work, and if bursitis is located in deep tissue, cortisone may be needed.

The great part about cortisone treatment for bursitis is that the cortisone is injected exactly into that area. So it works fairly quickly and can relieve symptoms in a short period of time. It's up to the doctor and the patient to decide whether this is the right treatment to pursue.

Post 1

Is cortisone necessary for bursitis. My mom had bursitis last month. The bursae behind her knees were swollen. But she didn't need to do anything aside from resting and keeping ice packs on the swollen areas. Cold therapy helped immensely and the swelling went away after a few days. Of course, she also reduced the housework she was doing because that's what caused the bursitis in the first place.

I'm not a doctor or expert but this seems like a fairly harmless condition that goes away by itself with care at home. A strong treatment like cortisone seems unnecessary.

Post your comments

Post Anonymously


forgot password?