What are potential complications of intrabursal injections for treatment of bursitis?

Updated: Dec 11, 2020
  • Author: Kristine M Lohr, MD, MS; Chief Editor: Herbert S Diamond, MD  more...
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The potential complications of intrabursal injections include the following:

  • Infection
  • Bleeding
  • Allergy to injected agents
  • Local subcutaneous atrophy (Methylprednisolone is associated with the least frequent development of local subcutaneous atrophy.)
  • Postinjection flare or pain – Postinjection flares usually start within hours and may last up to 72 hours; postinjection pain may last several hours
  • Tendon rupture – Major tendons should not be injected

Intrabursal steroid injections (with or without local anesthetics) should not be performed if infection is suspected. In overuse injuries, injections should not replace cessation or modification of the offending activity.

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