As per the latest research steroid injections, widely known as Corticosteroid, used in osteoarthritis treatment may cause damages to joints. This injection involves the risk of rapid progressive osteoarthritis, which can result in a complete joint collapse. Researchers suggested that this major risk should be included in the consent forms and patients should be informed about the potential risks of the treatment. Currently, the consent forms for this needle-based treatment only mention the risks of hemorrhage and infection as rare side effects associated with the procedure.
It is a common practice for physicians to inject an anti-inflammatory corticosteroid into the hip and knee joints to treat swelling and pain caused by osteoarthritis. Researchers found out that 36 out of 459 patients who received corticosteroid shots developed worsened joint problems. The side effect of corticosteroid injections can hasten the destruction of joints, which can result in total hip and knee replacements, said Ali Guermazi, Professor of Radiology and Medicine at Boston University School of Medicine. Complications associated with the treatment are far more dangerous which includes, joint collapse, severe osteoarthritis, death of bone tissues, and subchondral insufficiency fractures, said Professor Ali Guermazi. Considering the new findings, researchers have recommended some new set of scrutiny for patients ailing with osteoarthritis. Patients with disproportionate pain from X-ray findings should be carefully examined before being referred for corticosteroid treatment. These patients are more prone to develop destructive osteoarthritis and joint space loss after steroid injections. The Orthopedics needs to rethink about the planned steroid treatment if there is an uneven pain unexplained by X-rays, researchers said. Even young patients should be well versed with the complications before receiving intra-articular corticosteroid treatment.
More than 30 million people in the United States, suffer from osteoarthritis. It causes severe joint pain, stiffness, and swelling. Corticosteroid treatment is not the only option available to treat the issue and doctors also prescribe some oral pain relievers and some over the counter medications. Change in lifestyle, avoiding activities, which cause pain, and massaging can also provide much relief at the early stage of the disease.