Injections for Foot Pain

by cshafer, December 19, 2016

So, as I am at work on this first “snowpocalypse” of the season, I decided to do some research into cortisone injections as a treatment for inflammation/pain. If you do a quick Google search, you will no doubtingly find an immense amount of content that describes what cortisone shots are, how they work, side effects, risks, and outcomes.


For those of my friends and patients that are unfamiliar with cortisone, here are a few fun facts:

  • Cortisone is a steroid that resembles a natural hormone called cortisol that functions to regulate glycemic, immune, and inflammatory mechanisms in the body.
  • It is combined with an anesthetic to help relieve sudden pain. Essentially it provides immediate pain relief because an anesthetic essentially “numbs” the area of pain reception.
  • This sounds legitimate, but just like every other medication; cortisone has various risks and side effects associated with its usage which includes the following:

-Temporary increase in pain and inflammation

-Excessive use can result in damage to nearby soft tissues, nerves, tissue death, or bone death known as osteonecrosis.

Most people do not experience side effects as long as the usage is short term. Many people have had successful relief of inflammation with the use of cortisone injections; however one study found that “in relation to long term full recovery, participants who had cortisone shots had a decreased recovery rate compared to those treated with physical therapy.”

In another study, patients were given four cortisone injections, and the outcomes were 57% worse compared to only having one injection.

According to Dr. Kha (The New York Times, Phys Ed: Do Cortisone Shots Actually Make Things Worse?) “Cortisone shots do not heal the structural damage or underlying mechanism of pain. Instead, they actually impede the structural healing.

Why am I sharing all this? Because at Complete Rehab it is our goal to educate patients, look for solutions to their symptoms, and help them ultimately reach their prior level of function in the least invasive method possible.

If you have ever had pain from a heel spur, plantar fasciitis, plantar fasciopathy, or any other type of foot or ankle pain, please contact us today for a solution that is individualized to you by clicking the THIS LINK.

-Tabitha Terry, PTA (Edited by Chad Shafer,DPT,CSCS)

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