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When do you need a cortisone shot in the knee?

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Quick Answer

Cortisone knee shots are sometimes given to patients who suffer from osteoarthritis in the knee. The treatment is not necessary but it can relieve the symptoms associated with the arthritic condition, according to WebMD.

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Osteoarthritis commonly affects the knees, explains WebMD. Damage to bones occurs when there's a breakdown of the cartilage covering the knee joints. The damage to the surface of the bones causes swelling, stiffness, cracking and often quite a bit of pain.

Sleep problems often accompany arthritis as the pain and discomfort make sleeping difficult, if not impossible. Consequently, cortisone shots can help improve a person's overall quality of life by allowing them the ability to sleep without pain, notes WebMD.

There are various cortisone injections that doctors can prescribe. Many of them are useful for people who cannot take drugs due to allergies or side effects and for people who have not experienced any relief from other types of medication, says Dr. Roy Altman, an osteoarthritis expert at UCLA.

WebMD explains that when using cortisone on the knee joints, the doctor first applies a numbing agent to the area and he may use a needle to draw out any excess fluids from the knee. The cortisone is then injected just below the kneecap. The shot is usually not painful, according to John Richmond, MD, an orthopedic surgeon at New England Baptist Hospital.

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