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Will cortisone shots re-infect my MRSA ?
Started by Cameron
Posted: January 15, 2012 at 19:52

After reading around on the forum I am a bit concerned. I had an arthroscopic scar-debriedment surgery that got infected with MRSA about 5 years ago. I was hospitalized and almost died (similar to all these stories I'm reading), had to spend a week in the hospital, another 6 weeks with vanco via a PICC line.

This process destroyed what was left of my knee and left me as a barely-functional chronic pain sufferer (I was only 29 and an athlete). My current scans (MRI and X-ray; 2 months ago) do show bone on bone contact in 2 places and articular cartelege damage, but the docs don't think I should be in this much pain (accodring to the scans, grrr!). They all think I'm being a baby or trying to get pain meds. I have always played high impact sports and actually have a high pain tolerance, so after initially being judged so much for this condition I left pain management and decided to just ignore it.

That was about 4 years ago when I made the choice to "ignore it" (yeah, right!)

There is no way I can ignore this any longer. Every day it's getting more and more painful. Out of sheer desperation, I am back in pain management and even with very strong medications the pain is still omnipresent. I am only 34 so the insurance company will only cover a cortisone shot as the next step in the process. So, I initially came here to ask:


I honestly don't think I can handle another MRSA infection in that knee. I don't mean to sound desperate but I would honestly rather die. The doc of course says these infections are rare and not to worry... right. I've heard that before.

After reading around on this forum I am also really concerned and thus have a secondary question:


I have not been the same since the infection 5 years ago. I get sick all the time and suffer horrible fatigue and pain (remember, I actually do have a high tolerance for pain, this is unusual). It was so bad the first year that I could barely get out of bed. My immune system has clearly been compromised and I now get sick from almost anything. I am also now suffering from horrible depression and anxiety as well; I am only 34 and have always been athletic... now I cannot walk down stairs :(

My PCP did run lots of tests about a year after the infection for this fatigue and compromised immune system, but I think they were looking for HIV, cancer and/or diabetes. I am concerned that I have not been to an infectious disease specialist since the initial infection 5 years ago when they said I was "clean". But that was just the test right after the PICC line came out. In retrospect I think it was a liability-based diagnosis.

tl;dr: came here to ask about the cortisone shots, now I'm concerned about what MRSA still might be doing to me.

I realize this is a long post, any help is greatly appreciated.


Re: Will cortisone shots re-infect my MRSA ?
Reply #1 by ladyk
Posted: January 17, 2012 at 19:58
Cameron -

ANY… ‘invasive’ procedure, carries risk of pathogen contraction these days. Additionally, this elevated risk of contraction is true concerning the ease in which such pathogens are topically cross contaminated from host to host.

An interesting read…
Journal of Clinical Microbiology

From your post description you have contracted HA-MRSA (hospital associated/acquired).

Personally speaking I had a total knee replacement in 2003, so I completely understand what you are saying as far as bone on bone contact/pain/next step process we face as a result of injury. The cortisone injection did ease pain, but only temporarily. Total knee replacement does not bring your joint back to its original perfect and painless working condition, and often carries its own particular issues to deal with long term. If you’ve ever seen the surgery performed… in a word it’s - brutal. Let me just throw this in as food for thought. Understanding the full scope of a MRSA infection from invasive arthroscopic debridement surgery can shed a ‘bit of light’ onto serious cautions and potential consequences of having such an invasive procedure as a total knee replacement. Especially for one who has a MRSA positive history. In my opinion you would do best to completely exhaust every possible non-invasive treatment option available. After that… just know what you are up against, and in knowing this put into place precautions should the worst become a reality. Have an adept Infectious Disease specialist on board who will actively work in concert with surgeon. Precautions can be taken (which of course are no guarantee - and you will sign a legal document stating you understand infection is a risk pre-op), but studies reflect some good results concerning MRSA cases where antibiotic laced hardware prevented further infection process. Also, so you have some cold hard facts you might consider reading posts by our forum poster Nancy R
who had a difficult battle with MRSA in her hip replacement, yet beat the odds of further infection once hardware was removed so MRSA infection could be addressed properly.

In answer to your questions…

Having cortisone injection is an invasive procedure, therefore one is at risk of pathogenic infection. Whether MRSA can remain ‘dormant vs. cured’ is the million dollar question of which both science and medicine teeter the fence. You mentioned you have not been the same since becoming MRSA infected/sick all the time/fatigue/etc. which would lead me to question what are you doing to support your immune system?

You wrote:
[“MRI and X-ray; 2 months ago”] Since you state your pain has escalated in the past two months, I’d get all the players on board and up to speed.

Hope this helps.

Re: Will cortisone shots re-infect my MRSA ?
Reply #2 by ruth
Posted: January 18, 2012
SAMe and SOD (superoxide desmutase) work to heal and reduce the pain. They work in a
couple of days.

Glutathione works to build your immune system.
Re: Will cortisone shots re-infect my MRSA ?
Reply #3 by BobS
Posted: January 18, 2012 at 16:55
I don't know if this helps or not, but i had a cortizone shot after an allergic reaction (unrelated to mrsa and was mrsa free or dormant at the time). Anyways, 1 week later after the shot, mrsa came back, but not in the place where i had the actual shot, but in my armpit. It made me wonder if the shot lowered my immune so mrsa popped up again.

I would recommend for pain using a msm lotion mixed with 100% tea tree oil (a good quality one) then mixed together apply to skin, i sometimes use that on an achy knee but also know that tea tree oil can reduce or get rid of mrsa too. worth a try maybe. be careful not to use too much tea tree oil if you have sensitive skin though.
Re: Will cortisone shots re-infect my MRSA ?
Reply #4 by Carolyn
Posted: July 21, 2013 at 01:28
Iam trying to figure out if the cortisone shot that my husband received cause him to get mersa. All he did was get up from a chair and had a sudden pain in left leg. Then went to doctor and received the cortisone. Then he couldn't walk at all. Had him rushed to the hospital. They wanted to do surgery but since they pulled the fluid out. It didn't show infection. So the infection doctor started him on the iv antibodic after he tested he had mersa. He had both knees replaced over 10 years. He is 80 and I didn't want to have surgery. I didn't realize it takes so long.I hope I cant catch it. This is terrible Im afraid it might kill him.
Re: Will cortisone shots re-infect my MRSA ?
Reply #5 by Bob Anderson
Posted: July 21, 2013 at 16:48
Carolyn -

Welcome to the forum, we're on the patient's side and you find understanding and sympathy and I hope you will find your answers here.

I'm sorry to hear your husband has MRSA and I hope he makes a quick, uncomplicated recovery.

Many people on this forum have discovered that garlic water baths have helped them. If you will read the posts about garlic in this forum, you will find out how people using it in different ways have had positive results. There's more to garlic than eating it and eating it is one of the least effective ways of using it because it goes through the digestive system and is changed into a much less effective form.

You will also learn about several other alternative treatments that have worked for some people. We are patients trying to help one another.

Above all, educate yourself about all true alternatives available to the patient. The more you know, the better decisions you can make. Read about many patient's experiences with different antibiotics and other things as well.

Good luck to you and your husband.

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