Author | Todd C. Pitts


The use and misuse of injectable corticosteroids for the painful shoulder

January 28, 2008

Injectable corticosteroids may be used for managing painful shoulder conditions, but there are no universally accepted guidelines for dosage and administration. Understanding the mechanisms of action is critical for knowing when they can be used effectively. The biggest absolute contraindication to intra-articular or extra-articular corticosteroid injections is evidence or probability of infection. Relative contraindications include anticoagulation therapy, hemarthrosis, and poorly controlled diabetes mellitus. Most complications result from frequent use and can be avoided with appropriate doses and dosing intervals. Intra-articular and periarticular corticosteroid injections may cause significant systemic effects. The misuse of corticosteroid injections often is overuse. Creation of uniform guidelines for injections would help reduce their deleterious effects and maximize pain relief. (J Musculoskel Med. 2008;25:78-98)