Are corticosteroid injections for osteoarthritis of the knee effective?

From: BMJ

Journal rating:
rating: 99%
Study Quality:
rating: 100%

Overall Reliability

Article Quality:
rating: 55%
rating: 25%


  • 10 studies including 494 participants


  • The paper is a systematic review / meta analysis of all relevant trials.
  • This means that the data from all similar trials has been grouped to form an overall outcome.


  • Evidence supports a two week improvement in symptoms of osteoarthritis of the knee after intra-articular corticosteroid injection.
  • Improvement was also shown in the only methodologically sound studies addressing longer term response (16-24 weeks).
  • A dose equivalent to 50 mg of prednisone may be needed to show benefit at 16-24 weeks.


  • Yes (with confidence) – over the short-term only.


Editors Notes

  • Osteoarthritis is the single most common cause of disability in older adults, with 10% of patients aged 55 or more having painful disabling osteoarthritis of the knee, a quarter of whom are severely disabled.