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Steroid Injections Are Bad Medicine

Summary:
In medical school, I was trained to inject steroids into arthritic joints. The steroids did provide some relief from arthritic pain. I was taught that three injections per joint were safe and would cause no harm. Well, chalk that up to being taught another wrong thing in medical school. A study in the October 15, 2019 edition of Radiology looked at data from over 450 patients who received intra-articular steroid injections for osteoarthritis at Boston University. The researchers found steroid joint injections speed up arthritis and worsen joint destruction. “We are now seeing these {steroid} injections can be very harmful to the joints with serious complications such as osteonecrosis, subchondral insufficiency fracture, and rapid

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In medical school, I was trained to inject steroids into arthritic joints. The steroids did provide some relief from arthritic pain. I was taught that three injections per joint were safe and would cause no harm.

Well, chalk that up to being taught another wrong thing in medical school.

A study in the October 15, 2019 edition of Radiology looked at data from over 450 patients who received intra-articular steroid injections for osteoarthritis at Boston University. The researchers found steroid joint injections speed up arthritis and worsen joint destruction.

“We are now seeing these {steroid} injections can be very harmful to the joints with serious complications such as osteonecrosis, subchondral insufficiency fracture, and rapid progressive osteoarthritis,” the lead author of the study reported. (1)

The first-line conventional treatment for osteoarthritis is the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Guess what? NSAIDs also worsen osteoarthritis and cause other health issues like kidney failure and gastrointestinal bleeding. The second-line treatment, for well over 30 years, has been steroid injections.

What a mess!!

I cringe at the steroid injections I gave my patients. For those patients, you have my sincerest apologies. I did not know any better, but I should have.

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