Martha Jefferson Monday: Cortisone Shots - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Martha Jefferson Monday: Cortisone Shots

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People who suffer from arthritis feel pain due to wear and tear that's taken place on one or more of their joints. When the cartilage that covers the ends of joints wears away, doctors say there is essentially no more padding left.

"It's kind of like the tread on your tires," said Dr. John Edwards, a physician at Martha Jefferson Orthopedics. "It's the cushioning part of your joint and you can wear it away.  Just like you can wear down the tread on your tire, you can wear down the cartilage in your knee, hip or shoulder."

Dr. Edwards says the first step to treat arthritis is often times an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication like aspirin or Advil.  If that doesn't work however, the next step he often suggests is a cortisone shot.

"A cortisone shot will actually slow down and cut down the inflammation and can help with pain," said Dr. Edwards.  "Since it's targeted to a particular location, we're able to use a larger dose of the anti-inflammatory medication."

The injection is given in the doctor's office and just takes a few minutes.

"We clean the skin, we numb the skin with a cold numbing spray, and we gently place the needle in the joint, not into any tissue, but in the space between the bones," explained Dr. Edwards.

Most often, cortisone injections are given to adults over the age of 50, and while the treatment option can be used in nearly every joint, it's typically given for pain in the hip, knee or shoulder.

For more information on this topic, call Health Connection at (434) 654-7009.

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