This Week In The Bmj

Corticosteroid injection improves knee pain

BMJ 2004; 328 doi: (Published 08 April 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;328:0-e

Intra-articular corticosteroid injections improve symptoms of osteoarthritis of the knee in the short term, and may work even after six months. Arrol and Goodyear-Smith (p 869) reviewed 10 randomised trials and found that intra-articular steroid injections improved symptoms at one to two weeks (relative risk 1.66). Only one study of good quality had results at 16-24 weeks; it showed a benefit from treatment. No major harms were found, and the only study investigating potential loss of joint space found no harm after steroid injection. Higher doses of corticosteroids may be needed to obtain long term benefits, the authors say.