Cortisone injections in the foot

Updated on 27 April 2023

Cortisone injections in the foot

To treat your foot pain, whether it is caused by pathology or deformity, your chiropodist will begin using gentle, non-invasive methods. Most podiatric cases can be treated with manual therapy, rehabilitation exercises, splints, or custom orthotics. Nevertheless, some pain can be persistent and considerably reduce your quality of life. In this case, cortisone injections can be administered to your foot.

What is a cortisone injection?

Cortisone is a glucocorticoid hormone found naturally in the human body. It is a molecule that results from the breakdown of cortisol, a steroid hormone (i.e., from the lipid class), by the kidneys. It is common to refer to cortisol as the stress hormone. However, this is not its only function. It plays a crucial role in transforming fats and proteins and managing the blood sugar balance (hence its name, glucocorticoid). It is also involved in the proper functioning of the immune system. When we talk about cortisone in the pharmaceutical field, we refer to the synthetic drug used for cortisone shots. 

How does cortisone work? A cortisone injection is used for its anti-allergic and anti-inflammatory effects, which work by blocking the body’s natural immune response. Cortisone is a so-called steroidal anti-inflammatory drug. Its use began in the 1930s in the United States. In 1933, the molecule was extracted from animal adrenal glands and isolated. It was first used to treat rheumatic diseases; its effectiveness was so spectacular that its use was extended to other conditions.  

When a cortisone injection is used

A cortisone injection can be used for certain conditions as determined by your chiropodist. It is important to tell your chiropodist about your health history, the medications you are taking, and your current health situation. Cortisone is a medication that can interact with other treatments and have side effects. Your healthcare professional will consider all these factors to prescribe the best treatment. 

Cortisone injections are useful when previous therapies have not brought the expected results. They effectively and permanently reduce pain and allow for a return to a comfortable life and excellent mobility. Cases of severe tissue and joint inflammation are commonly treated with cortisone shots. Some conditions that cortisone injections relieve include inflammation of the serous fluid and joint membrane inflammation, such as bursitis and capsulitis. People with tendonitis, nerve compression in the foot or inflammation of the fascia tissue may also benefit from a cortisone injection. If you suffer from Lenoir’s spur, plantar fasciitis, and Morton’s neuroma, you can talk to your chiropodist about getting a cortisone injection. Finally, osteoarthritis of the foot and lower limbs is a pathology for which cortisone has recognized effects.  

The benefits of a cortisone injection

Unlike regular oral medication, a cortisone injection requires a small dose of medication. How does cortisone work? The cortisone shot is made directly in the targeted area. This method is non-allergenic and non-toxic. It has fewer side effects than long-term treatments. There are some adverse side effects of cortisone injections; however, they only occur with long-term treatments. An injection session lasts only a few minutes. For your comfort, an analgesic solution or local anesthetic can be prescribed. The results appear quickly; you will notice a noticeable pain reduction after a few hours. The pain decreases drastically in the following days, and mobility significantly improves. To find out how long the effects of a cortisone injection last, your chiropodist will ask that you book a follow-up visit. Pain relief is usually measured in months. Finally, it is not necessary to be immobilized following the procedure. A little rest helps the body recover from the cortisone injection. But afterwards, you can go about your normal activities. 

Side effects of a cortisone injection

After the cortisone injection, your skin and body may react to the medication and needle. These reactions are normal and temporary. The side effects of cortisone injections are nothing like those of oral treatments for chronic diseases. Because the method of administration and the dose are different, the possible side effects are minimal. The area that came in contact with the needle may be painful, red or swollen. The area treated for pain may be even more painful. However, these effects fade until they disappear within 24 to 72 hours. If you have diabetes, remember to tell your healthcare provider, as cortisone affects blood sugar levels. 

What you need to know about cortisone injections

How long do cortisone injections last? How is the evaluation carried out to determine whether your condition is eligible? First of all, let’s remember that a cortisone injection is a solution that is only recommended when initial treatments have not been successful. The patient’s condition must be suitable for the procedure. Pregnancy, diabetes, and regular medication usage must be factored into the decision. Next, you must undergo a biomechanical evaluation as well as an X-ray. These procedures allow your chiropodist to better understand the pain’s location, the area to be injected, and the vulnerable areas to avoid during the cortisone shot. The session lasts only a few minutes, including preparation, injection with anesthesia and rest. The needle penetration can be uncomfortable, but it is tolerable and taking painkillers can help. At the end of the session, your chiropodist may apply a therapeutic bandage on your foot to limit the stress on the treated area.

So how long do cortisone injections last? The effects of an injection last up to three months. Getting more cortisone injections will depend on the evolution of your condition, which your chiropodist monitors. 

Alternatives to cortisone injection

During your visit to the chiropodist, the initial podiatric exam will contribute to developing a treatment plan. Most inflammatory foot diseases can be treated with medication, manual foot therapy or custom orthotics. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen and naproxen, effectively relieve pain. Although anti-inflammatory medications do not affect the immune system, they can cause gastric discomfort with long-term oral therapy, unlike cortisone. These medications are not usually given alone. They may accompany a treatment that consists of exercises and manual therapy to restore balance to the foot. They may also be taken in addition to wearing foot orthotics, which correct posture. In addition, specific inflammatory tissue pathologies can be treated with dry needling and Shockwave therapy. These methods include inflicting local and precise “damage” to the tissues to stimulate their regeneration. These are very interesting alternatives to surgery, which show rapid results. Finally, the injection of platelet-rich plasma (PRP) can be prescribed to support the healing of damaged tissues and or in the event someone has arthritis. However, unlike cortisone, this last treatment is based on the principle of reviving inflammation to encourage healing. It is essential to stop taking anti-inflammatory medications within two weeks before your appointment.

FootNetwork treatments for foot pain relief

The symptoms associated with foot pathologies are varied—and can be similar from one condition to another. The idea of getting rid of chronic pain with a cortisone injection may be appealing. Still, it is important to consult with a chiropodist to identify the source of your problem. Our clinics are equipped to handle your podiatric evaluation. Our chiropodists are knowledgeable in the most advanced care techniques. Contact us today to regain your quality of life. 

Find a clinic
A member
Foot Network