Corticosteroid Injections for Heel Pain & Plantar Fasciitis


By Noelle Ilhi, medically reviewed by Dr. Kimberly Langdon, M.D.

Podiatrists state that more than 90% of cases of Plantar Fasciitis can be healed via conservative treatments that include rest, icing, heel stretches and the use of customized shoe inserts that deliver therapeutic support.

If your heel pain has been diagnosed as Plantar Fasciitis, every effort should be made to recover with natural remedies before you consider invasive options. In a small percentage of cases, however, home remedies don’t provide results and your physician may recommend temporary use of corticosteroid injections for their anti-inflammatory properties. This article will acquaint you with the purpose, risks and benefits of steroid use in conjunction with Plantar Fasciitis so that you can make an informed choice about this anti-inflammatory option.

What Are Corticosteroid Injections?

Cortisone is a hormone that is naturally produced by your body’s adrenal gland as a response to stress. Cortisone injections contain a synthetic version of this substance and are given as a shot directly into the injured plantar fascia ligament, or into the side of the heel. Unlike natural cortisone, synthetic cortisone is not injected into the bloodstream.

What Are the Benefits Of Cortisone Injections?

Cortisone is a powerful anti-inflammatory substance. In the case of Plantar Fasciitis, bringing down the inflammation surrounding the plantar fascia ligament can then lead to relief of pain, in some cases.

Cortisone injections may be offered in extreme cases as an alternative before considering surgery, if all less invasive methods have failed. If your body responds well to cortisone, you are likely to experience relief within a few days that can last for several weeks. Some patients may require multiple injections before relief is experienced or may require on-going injections to manage pain from an unresolved case of Plantar Fasciitis.

What Are The Risks Of Cortisone Injections?

Before taking any drug, it is extremely important that you discuss its risks, benefits and possible side effects with your doctor. Unfortunately, the use of cortisone does carry risks. One of the most dangerous possible outcomes of a corticosteroid shot is an infection at the site of the injection. It is vital that sterile conditions are created before the injection by, swabbing the skin with iodine or alcohol prior to the injection, to decrease the chance of infection.

Another result of having a cortisone shot can be a ‘cortisone flare’, in which pain actually initially worsens in the treated area before it lessens. Pain can go on for several days before relief is experienced. This is a very common side effect and can be a very difficult one for patients who are trying these shots in the hope having less pain, not more.

A side effect sometimes experienced by patients with medium-to-dark skin tones is a lightening of the skin color at the treatment site.

Corticosteroid injections do not help every Plantar Fasciitis sufferer. Some people will experience significant, temporary pain relief while others will not experience any benefits at all.

The long-term effects of cortisone use are not well documented, but some studies indicate that it can result in deterioration, poor healing, and weakening of tendons and cartilage. This, taken in conjunction with other risks and side effects, makes it all the more important to be sure that you’ve exhausted more conservative options for managing pain and treating the underlying causes of Plantar Fasciitis before you consider a treatment like cortisone injections.

Explore Conservative Treatments for Plantar Fasciitis First

Here at Heel That Pain, we strive to be a leading source of free Plantar Fasciitis education. Visit our home remedy resource page to learn how to reduce heel pain and recover from the physical anomalies underlying Plantar Fasciitis. Additionally, you can see the research behind our patented orthotic technology which was found to be twice as effective in healing Plantar Fasciitis as a leading brand supermarket-type shoe insert and is endorsed by the American Podiatric Medical Association.

Healing from Plantar Fasciitis will take a commitment from you. You’ll need to commit to daily rest periods, icing, stretching and the daily wear of specialized orthotics. Some people find it hard to make the time or make the promise to themselves to do what they need to in order to recover. If you’re finding this a challenge, consider the fact that undertaking the work of treating your Plantar Fasciitis now at home could save you from having to take injections or undergo costly surgeries later. Your chances for recovery are extremely good, if you’re ready to make the commitment, and Heel That Pain is ready to help you, every step of the way.

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