What is injection therapy?

Steroid Injection therapy is a treatment that can be prescribed for the improvement of painful foot and ankle conditions that are associated with inflammation.

Injection therapy involves using a needle to inject a steroid into a joint space or soft tissue. The aim of injection therapy is to improve both pain and function of the structure affected.

What foot & ankle problems can injection therapy help with?

Steroid injections may be suitable if you are experiencing pain due to:

  • Arthritis
  • Nerve irritation
  • Morton’s neuroma
  • Capsulitis/synovitis joints
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Bursitis
  • Tendonitis/Tenosynovitis
  • Soft tissue lumps & bumps

Before a steroid injection is prescribed you will be required to have a consultation to establish the nature of the problem and assessment of suitability for the procedure.

The deciding factors are;

  • Have any infection (including eye infections)
  • Are taking other medicines, such as anticoagulants medications
  • Medical conditions, such as diabetes, epilepsy, high blood pressure, or problems with your liver, heart or kidneys
  • Allergic reactions to steroids
  • Recent vaccinations or planned
  • pregnant/breastfeeding
  • Diabetes
  • Any recent steroid injections inside 6 weeks
  • Had 3 steroid injections in the last year

Steroid injections

A steroid injection, sometimes referred to as a cortisone injection, is used to treat pain associated with inflammation.

Inflammation can occur in a number of joints and soft tissues of the ankle and foot, resulting in pain, restricted movement, and impaired function.

A steroid is not a painkiller directly, instead it is a powerful anti-inflammatory. The steroids ability to reduce inflammation means that they can reduce pain that is the result of inflammation.

Steroid injections contain cortisone and a local anaesthetic. Cortisone is a type of hormone that the body produces when it is under stress. The cortisone that the body produces naturally is released into the blood stream and is short acting (it does not last long), whereas the cortisone that is used in the injection is in synthetic form that is delivered directly to where it is needed, this means it does not go into the blood stream and so systemic side effects are avoided.

The synthetic cortisone used in injection therapy is long acting, giving greater respite from symptoms because the effects last much longer.

What to expect

The injections normally take a few days to start working, although some work in a few hours. The effect usually wears off after a few months, but there is no guarantee you will be pain free.

If you’re having an injection to relieve pain, it may also contain local anaesthetic. This provides immediate pain relief that lasts a few hours.

You should be able to go home soon after the injection. You may need to rest the treated body part for a few days.

What are the benefits of steroid injection therapy?

  • A reduction in inflammation and any associated pain
  • Less side effects than oral steroids
  • Steroid is given, and has it effect at the site where it is required
  • Steroid injections help to preserve the affected join and preserve its function
  • The injection is administered quickly and easily by a podiatrist
  • Quicker onset of action than other anti-inflammatories
  • More effective than other anti-inflammatories

Possible Side effects

  • Pain
  • Infection
  • Facial flushing
  • Rupture
  • Thinning of the skin
  • Loss of pigmentation
  • Hypersensitivity/flare
  • Bruising
  • Temporarily Destabilise Diabetes

Frequency of injections

The recommended advice is a course of 3 injections at no less than 6 weekly intervals over the course of 12 months.

Post injection advice

It is advisable to rest the joint or affected part for two to three days after injection. Try not to undertake any of the previous movements or activities that you know irritates the problem. After this, a slow return to normal activity is recommended.

For any further advice please give me a call.