In some people, it could progress the disease.

Research conducted in a leading US radiology department has found that steroid injections to the hip and knee, a common treatment for osteoarthritis, could cause collapse of the affected joint.

The finding has prompted the team, led by radiologist Ali Guermazi from the Boston University School of Medicine in Massachusetts, US, to call for greater scrutiny of the procedure and an overhaul of the informed consent process.

The study audited 459 injections – 307 into the hip joint and 152 into the knee joint – over the course of 2018. Just under three-quarters of those patients, whose mean age was 57, had moderately severe osteoarthritis: joint damage from wear and tear that causes pain and swelling.

Rapid progressive osteoarthritis joint space loss (type 1) and subchondral insufficiency fracture in a 53-year-old man who presented with hip pain. See image details at the bottom of the page.


The injection itself is something of a double whammy. It packs an anti-inflammatory steroid drug and two different local anaesthetics which help dull the pain.

But the researchers found that in some cases the cure could be worse than the disease.

Read the full story in Cosmos magazine here