The Loop

Fitness Friday: Do you really want that cortisone shot?

October 27, 2011

*Editor's note: Every week my colleague Ron Kaspriske, Golf Digest Fitness Editor, presents Fitness Friday on the Instruction Blog. He gives you a health and fitness tip or an exercise or stretch to get your body warmed up for the weekend. This week he discusses the pros and cons of cortisone shots. Look for Saturday Morning Tip tomorrow, and remember to follow me on Twitter: @RogerSchiffman

Roger Schiffman

Managing Editor

Golf Digest*

Here's Ron: In an informal poll of several sports-medicine, pain-management and orthopedic doctors about cortisone, the consensus is it's one of their most effective tools for combating joint pain and inflammation.

That statement is absolutely true. But I wonder if it's also a little careless.

Many doctors believe cortisone should be, at best, a last resort in the treatment of arthritis, tendonitis, joint inflammations, etc. Dr. Paul Sethi of Greenwich, Conn., for example, usually tries to talk patients out of these injections. The problem is cortisone, if used frequently, can cause tissue damage. There's also the concern that because it masks pain, a person can do further damage to an injured area as a result of a false sense of good health. Pain is the

body's reminder to your brain to stop doing whatever you're doing because you might be injured. If you take a cortisone shot and don't feel the pain, you might push past the injured area's limits.

It certainly seems easier--and more profitable--for doctors to prescribe drugs for pain rather than rehabilitate injuries, so you might want to consider that before agreeing to a cortisone shot.

To get a better understanding of how cortisone works, and its pros and cons, click on this link to our November issue's fitness page.

*Ron Kaspriske

Fitness Editor

Golf Digest* *