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    Can Urgent Care Give Cortisone Shots?

    Cortisone shots, also known as corticosteroid injections, are commonly used to treat inflammation and pain associated with various medical conditions, including arthritis, tendinitis, and bursitis. Many patients wonder if they can receive cortisone shots at an urgent care center rather than waiting for an appointment with their primary care physician or a specialist.

    What are Cortisone Shots?

    Cortisone shots are injections that contain corticosteroids, powerful anti-inflammatory medications. They are used to provide relief from inflammation and pain in specific areas of the body, such as joints, muscles and tendons. The corticosteroid is usually combined with a local anesthetic to provide immediate pain relief in addition to reducing inflammation over the following days or weeks.

    Do Urgent Care Give Cortisone Shots?

    Yes, Many urgent care centers can administer cortisone shots but the availability and scope of this service can vary depending on the facility. Here are some key points to consider:

    Scope of Services:

    Not all urgent care centers offer cortisone shots, as their primary focus is on providing immediate care for acute illnesses and injuries. It’s advisable to call ahead and confirm whether a specific urgent care center offers this service.

    Qualified Providers:

    If an urgent care center does provide cortisone shots, they will have qualified healthcare providers, such as physicians, nurse practitioners, or physician assistants, who are trained in administering these injections safely and effectively.

    Medical Assessment:

    Before administering a cortisone shot, the healthcare provider will perform a thorough medical assessment to determine if the injection is appropriate for your condition. This may include a physical examination and a review of your medical history.

    Conditions Treated with Cortisone Shots

    Cortisone shots are used to treat a variety of conditions characterized by inflammation and pain, including:


    Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis can cause joint pain and inflammation, which cortisone shots can help alleviate.


    Inflammation of the tendons, such as tennis elbow or Achilles tendinitis, can be treated with cortisone injections.


    Inflammation of the bursae, the small sacs of fluid that cushion the joints, can be relieved with cortisone shots.

    Joint Pain:

    Pain in joints such as the knee, shoulder, hip, or wrist due to various causes can benefit from cortisone injections.

    Back Pain:

    Certain types of back pain, particularly those involving inflammation, can be treated with cortisone shots.

    Allergic Reactions:

    Severe allergic reactions that cause significant inflammation may also be treated with corticosteroid injections.

    Benefits of Cortisone Shots:

    Cortisone shots offer several benefits, including:

    1. Rapid Relief: They can provide quick relief from pain and inflammation, often within a few days.
    2. Localized Treatment: The medication is delivered directly to the affected area, providing targeted relief.
    3. Non-Surgical Option: Cortisone shots are a minimally invasive alternative to surgery for managing pain and inflammation.
    4. Reduction in Symptoms: They can significantly reduce symptoms and improve quality of life for patients with chronic inflammatory conditions.

    Risks and Side Effects of Cortisone Shots:

    While cortisone shots are generally safe, there are potential risks and side effects to consider:

    1. Infection: There is a small risk of infection at the injection site.
    2. Pain and Swelling: Some patients may experience increased pain and swelling immediately after the injection, known as a cortisone flare.
    3. Skin Changes: Cortisone shots can cause thinning of the skin or changes in skin color at the injection site.
    4. Tendon Weakening: Repeated injections can weaken tendons, increasing the risk of rupture.
    5. Systemic Effects: In rare cases, the corticosteroid can enter the bloodstream and cause systemic side effects such as elevated blood sugar levels.

    What to Expect During an Urgent Care Visit for a Cortisone Shot:

    If you visit an urgent care center for a cortisone shot, here’s what you can typically expect:

    1. Medical History and Examination: The healthcare provider will review your medical history and perform a physical examination to ensure that a cortisone shot is appropriate for your condition.
    2. Informed Consent: You will be informed about the benefits, risks, and potential side effects of the cortisone shot. You may be asked to sign a consent form.
    3. Preparation: The injection site will be cleaned and sterilized. A local anesthetic may be used to numb the area.
    4. Injection: The provider will carefully administer the cortisone shot into the affected area. You may feel some pressure or discomfort during the injection.
    5. Post-Injection Care: You will receive instructions on how to care for the injection site and manage any potential side effects. You may be advised to rest the affected area for a short period.


    Urgent care centers can be a convenient option for receiving cortisone shots, providing quick relief from pain and inflammation. However, it’s important to verify that the specific urgent care facility you plan to visit offers this service. Cortisone shots are effective for treating a variety of conditions, but they come with potential risks and side effects.

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