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Can You Exercise After a Cortisone Shot in the Knee?


Whenever we experience some sort of pain in our knee, we either purchase a pain medication or visit our doctor, sometimes for a cortisone shot. The latter is a common treatment for pain, and it can be very effective.

But if you’re a gym rat, you might want to think twice before getting back to your workout routine immediately after receiving your shot.

There are some things you should know about exercising after getting a cortisone shot. In this blog post, we will discuss whether or not it is safe to exercise immediately after getting this type of injection.

What are Cortisone Shots?

Cortisone shots are a type of corticosteroid injection. Corticosteroid injections are man-made hormones that closely resemble cortisol, a hormone that is produced naturally by the adrenal glands.

These injections can be used to treat a variety of conditions, including joint pain, knee pain, and inflammation. Cortisone shots are usually given directly to a specific location, in this case, the knee joint. This allows the medication to be delivered directly to the area where it is needed most.

The injection may also contain a local anesthetic, which helps to numb the soft tissues around the affected joint and provide additional pain relief. Cortisone shots are typically safe and effective, but they can cause side effects (although unlikely).

It’s important to note that cortisone shots are not a cure for joint pain or knee pain. They can, however, provide temporary relief from symptoms. In some cases, a series of cortisone shots may be necessary to achieve long-term relief.

How Long Does the Pain Relief from the Shot Last?

Typically, the pain relief from a cortisone shot lasts for several months. However, the exact length of time will vary depending on the location and severity of the joint pain.

If the pain persists beyond the initial period of relief, it is important to consult with a doctor to discuss other treatment options such as surgery, physical therapy, or further assessment.

What Conditions are Cortisone Injections Used for?

Cortisone injections are a popular treatment for a variety of conditions, particularly those that involve joint inflammation.

Plantar Fasciitis

One of the most common uses for cortisone injections is plantar fasciitis, a condition that causes pain in the heel and arch of the foot.

It occurs when the plantar fascia, a band of tissue that runs along the bottom of your foot, becomes irritated and inflamed. Plantar fasciitis is often caused by overuse, such as from running or other high-impact activities.

This condition can also be caused by tightness in the calf muscles or wearing shoes that don’t provide enough support.


Tendonitis is a common condition that occurs when the tendons, the tissues that connect muscle to bone, become inflamed. The condition can be caused by repetitive movements, overuse, or inflammatory conditions such as arthritis.

Symptoms of tendonitis include pain, stiffness, and tenderness in the affected area. In some cases, the pain may be severe enough to limit mobility.

Shoulder Pain

Cortisone injections are a common treatment for shoulder pain. The cortisone is injected into the shoulder joint, where it helps to relieve inflammation and pain.

In most cases, the injections are temporary and will only need to be repeated every few months.

Knee Arthritis

Knee arthritis is a common ailment that can cause pain and stiffness in the joints. The most common type of knee arthritis is osteoarthritis, which occurs when the cartilage that cushions the bones wears down over time. This can happen due to normal wear and tear, or it can be caused by an injury.

Another common type of arthritis within the knee joint is rheumatoid arthritis. This is an inflammatory condition that can cause the joints to become swollen and painful.

Cortisone injections can be used to treat both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. The cortisone helps to provide short-term relief from pain and inflammation in the affected joint.


Doctors Administering Cortisone Injections

Cortisone injections are used to treat a variety of orthopedic conditions. The most common type of injection is a single injection into the soft tissue, such as the bursa, tendons, or joints generally.

This is usually done by an orthopedic surgeon or rheumatologist. Although those specialties may deal with this intervention most often, nearly any physician or highly trained medical professional (who is trained to do so) can administer a cortisone shot.

Common Side Effects

As previously mentioned, cortisone injections are a common treatment for pain and inflammation, but they can also come with a range of potential side effects.

The most common side effect is a steroid flare, which is a temporary increase in pain and inflammation. This usually happens when the cortisone injection irritates the surrounding tissue.

Other potential side effects include:

  • A flare of inflammation and pain in the joint, also called a “cortisone flare”
  • Potential cartilage damage
  • Death to surrounding bone tissue
  • Infection
  • Damage to surrounding nerve tissue
  • Facial flushing
  • Increase in blood sugar
  • Potential to weaken surrounding tendons
  • Whitening or lightening of the skin around the injection site
  • Intense pain at the injection site
  • Allergic reaction to the medication

In rare cases, cortisone injections can also cause more serious problems such as tendon rupture or nerve damage. As with any treatment, it’s important to weigh the risks and benefits before deciding if cortisone injections are right for you.

Can You Exercise After a Cortisone Shot in the Knee?

Now you may be wondering if it’s safe to exercise or get back to your weight loss program after receiving one of these injections. The short answer is that it depends on a few factors, such as the reason for the injection, your pain levels, and other treatment options.

A good general rule of thumb is to wait to return to your prior level of activity for 10-14 days following your shot. Ask your physician about your situation and when you can return to your normal workout routine to ensure you do what is right for you and your situation.

Your physical therapist can show you different exercises that you can utilize during your physical therapy sessions to keep active while recovering from your injection. The physical therapist will also advise you to avoid heavy lifting.

Heavy exercise or other strenuous physical activity can put undue stress on the joint and cause additional pain and swelling. In general, it’s best to err on the side of caution and take things easy for a couple of days after getting a cortisone shot.


Alternative to Cortisone Shots

If you’re not that confident about receiving a cortisone shot, here are a few alternatives.

Platelet-rich Plasma Injections

Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections are becoming a popular treatment option for many conditions, including chronic tendon injuries and arthritis.

PRP is made from a sample of the patient’s own blood, which is then centrifuged to concentrate the platelets. Platelets are tiny cells that are essential for blood clotting and wound healing.

When injected into the site of a chronic injury, PRP can help to stimulate the healing process. PRP injections can be uncomfortable, but they are usually not painful.

The injections are usually given in the office of a doctor who specializes in sports medicine or orthopedics. The doctor will use ultrasound to guide the needle to the right spot.

Most patients report significant improvement after two or three PRP injections. However, some patients may require additional treatments or other methods to achieve their desired results.

Hyaluronic Acid Injections

Hyaluronic acid is a natural substance that is found in joint fluid. It acts as a shock absorber and lubricant, helping the joint to move smoothly.

As we age, our bodies produce less hyaluronic acid, which can lead to joint pain and stiffness.

Hyaluronic acid injections can help to replenish the joint’s supply of this important substance. The injections are given into the joint using ultrasound guidance.

Most patients report significant improvement after two or three hyaluronic acid injections. However, some patients may require additional treatments or other methods to achieve their desired results.

Do Your Research

If your doctor recommends a cortisone shot, it’s important to do your research and listen to their advice. Cortisone shots are a common treatment for many different conditions, but they’re not right for everyone. The shots can be painful, and it’s important to rest and avoid intense exercise for at least a week after it is administered.

In some cases, you may need to take it easy for a few days before you can return to your normal activities like work or household chores.

It’s also important to be patient – the effects of the cortisone shot may not be immediate, but they should become apparent within a few days or weeks. If you have any concerns or if the pain doesn’t improve, be sure to follow up with your doctor.