Plantar fasciitis

Steroid injections for plantar fasciitis- do they work?

Steroid injections for plantar fasciitis are a common treatment – but do they work?  Plantar fasciitis is a very common condition that presents as pain on the underside of the heel.  It is particularly sore first thing in the morning and after periods of inactivity.  It is a very common issue, and something that we treat in clinic multiple times per week.

Plantar fasciitis can be a very frustrating condition to treat but there are a whole range of treatments available for your Podiatrist to recommend.  These include exercises and orthotics, steroid injections, extra corporeal shockwave therapy and surgical management.  This blog is going to focus on steroid injections for plantar fasciitis.

How do steroid injections work for plantar fasciitis?

Steroid injections for plantar fasciitis work by providing an anti-inflammatory effect at the site of pain.  However, evidence would suggest that plantar fasciitis is actually not a purely inflammatory condition as the name suggests, but a result of degeneration of the plantar fascia. For this reason, the term ‘plantar fasciopathy’ is now used as a more accurate name for the condition. This would then imply that the use of anti-inflammatory injections, may not be the most effective treatment for this condition.

There is some low-quality evidence to show that steroid injections can be effective in providing relief from the pain of plantar fasciitis but only in the short term. Symptoms are likely to return if appropriate rehabilitation or footwear/orthotic interventions are not used in conjunction.

Are there any risks?

There are some risks to these injections.  Infection, pain, allergic reaction and swelling are rare but real complications as are facial flushing, skin discolouration and thinning of the heel fat pad.  Patients with diabetes may also notice an increase in their blood sugar levels for a short time after the injection.

In summary

Ultimately, if you are considering a cortisone injection for plantar fasciitis do not view it as a cure all for your pain.  In clinic it is not something that we view as a ‘quick fix’ but a useful tool in reducing your pain in the short term.  This can then allow for effective rehabilitation and reconditioning of surrounding structures of the foot and ankle.

 

For more information on plantar fasciitis you can read our other heel pain blogs:  https://www.footcarescotland.co.uk/plantar-fasciitis/ and https://www.footcarescotland.co.uk/heel-pain/

 

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