Corticosteroid Injections for Plantar Fasciitis
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How It Works
Corticosteroid injections can provide short-term relief from heel pain due to plantar fasciitis.
The site where the doctor injects the steroid may vary. Some inject directly into the plantar fascia on the underside of the heel. Others inject on the big-toe side of the heel or arch.
Injections are advised to be given with an anesthetic mixed with the corticosteroid, but the injections may still be painful. Your doctor may spray a topical anesthetic on your skin before giving you the injection.
Why It Is Used
Your doctor may consider corticosteroid injections if several weeks of nonsurgical treatment have not relieved your heel pain.1
How Well It Works
Corticosteroid injection may give short-term relief from symptoms of plantar fasciitis.2
All medicines have side effects. But many people don't feel the side effects, or they are able to deal with them. Ask your pharmacist about the side effects of each medicine you take. Side effects are also listed in the information that comes with your medicine.
Here are some important things to think about:
- Usually the benefits of the medicine are more important than any minor side effects.
- Side effects may go away after you take the medicine for a while.
- If side effects still bother you and you wonder if you should keep taking the medicine, call your doctor. He or she may be able to lower your dose or change your medicine. Do not suddenly quit taking your medicine unless your doctor tells you to.
Call 911 or other emergency services right away if you have:
- Trouble breathing.
- Swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Call your doctor if you have pain and swelling around the injection site that lasts more than two days.
Common side effects of this medicine include:
- Pain and swelling the first day or two after the injection. It may help to apply ice for 15 to 20 minutes to the injection site.
See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)
What To Think About
Doctors are cautious about using corticosteroid injections for plantar fasciitis. One concern is the risk that repeated injections may damage the heel pad or the plantar fascia. Experts say it's best to use injections sparingly, only when other treatment has failed. They also say that limiting injections may help avoid complications—such as plantar fascia rupture—that could be harder to treat than the original plantar fasciitis.
Medicine is one of the many tools your doctor has to treat a health problem. Taking medicine as your doctor suggests will improve your health and may prevent future problems. If you don't take your medicines properly, you may be putting your health (and perhaps your life) at risk.
There are many reasons why people have trouble taking their medicine. But in most cases, there is something you can do. For suggestions on how to work around common problems, see the topic Taking Medicines as Prescribed.
Advice for women
If you are pregnant, breast-feeding, or planning to get pregnant, do not use any medicines unless your doctor tells you to. Some medicines can harm your baby. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, herbs, and supplements. And make sure that all your doctors know that you are pregnant, breast-feeding, or planning to get pregnant.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
- American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and American Academy of Pediatrics (2010). Plantar fasciitis chapter of Foot and ankle section. In JF Sarwark, ed., Essentials of Musculoskeletal Care, 4th ed., pp. 839–844. Rosemont, IL: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.
- Wapner KL, Parekh SG (2010). Heel pain. In JC DeLee et al., eds., DeLee and Drez's Orthopaedic Sports Medicine, 3rd ed., vol. 2, pp. 2030–2056. Philadelphia: Saunders Elsevier.
Last Revised: July 13, 2011
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