How to Treat a Rotator Cuff Injury with Cortisone

Your doctor might choose to administer cortisone injections if you have a rotator cuff injury. It is not generally recommended that a person have repeated cortisone injections. According to Drs. Matsen and Warme, a person should not receive more than four injections total and no more than two close together. Cortisone tends to weaken the muscles of your shoulder and rotator cuff, though one or two injections might be extremely helpful to relieve pain and inflammation. You must make an appointment with your doctor to receive these injections.

A woman is receiving an injection in her shoulder. (Image: Remains/iStock/Getty Images)

Step 1

Make an appointment with your doctor, and sit or stand in a position that will make it easy for him to inject the cortisone directly into the rotator cuff area. The shot must be administered right into the correct place, so proper placement is crucial. The doctor will carefully swab the injection site with betadine or iodine and allow it to dry before administering the shot.

Step 2

The cortisone, mixed with a local anesthetic, will be injected into your rotator cuff at the site of the injury. The local anesthetic lessens the pain that might be caused by receiving a large dose of medicine directly into an already painful area. The doctor will wipe off excess iodine with a clean, sterile swab and cover the injection site with a small bandage.

Step 3

Avoid lifting any weight more than 5 lbs. for 24 to 48 hours after the injection. This will keep the cortisone inside the rotator cuff where it can do its work. Stressing the joint might cause the cortisone to leak away, and it will do little good to heal the rotator cuff injury.


If the pain and weakness from a rotator cuff injury persists, talk to a doctor or physical therapist to explore surgical options for a torn rotator cuff. Dr. Matsen and Dr. Warme state multiple cortisone injections tend to weaken the muscles of the rotator cuff, so they are discouraged unless absolutely necessary.


If you are diabetic or are on blood thinning medications, remind your doctor of these conditions. Cortisone might be contraindicated for those with diabetes or heart trouble, according to

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