Intra-articular steroid injections for painful knees. Systematic review with meta-analysis

Can Fam Physician. 2004 Feb;50:241-8.


Objective: Do intra-articular steroid injections relieve the pain of osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee?

Data sources: MEDLINE, Cochrane, and Internet databases were searched for randomized controlled trials.

Study selection: Five randomized controlled trials involving 312 patients were found.

Synthesis: One week after injection, treated patients were less likely to have continuing pain and had significantly lower scores on a visual analogue scale (VAS) for pain. Three to 4 weeks after injection, treated patients still had significantly less pain, but their VAS scores were no longer significantly lower than scores in the control group. Six to 8 weeks after injection, neither pain reduction nor VAS scores were significantly different between groups.

Conclusion: Intra-articular corticosteroid injection results in clinically and statistically significant reduction in osteoarthritic knee pain 1 week after injection. The beneficial effect could last for 3 to 4 weeks, but is unlikely to continue beyond that.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Glucocorticoids / administration & dosage*
  • Glucocorticoids / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Injections, Intra-Articular
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee / drug therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Glucocorticoids