Injection Therapy

Steroid injections are used as a powerful, anti-inflammatory treatment for a specific area of the body including the foot and ankle. Common reasons for this are:

  • painful joints, such as hallux rigidus or metatarsalgia secondary to hallux valgus

  • painful bursitis, often associated with other deformity

  • painful nerve conditions, in particular Morton’s neuroma

  • painful trigger points such as nerve pain following an ankle sprain

  • painful post-operative scars

 

How do steroids work?

Steroids have a powerful anti-inflammatory effect that can help to break the pain/inflammation cycle. They also work by reducing the bulk of soft tissue in the treated area.

The steroid may be given along with a local anaesthetic to block pain from the injected area, giving immediate relief while the slower acting steroid takes effect.

Normally a course of up to three injections can be given, at intervals of 6-8 weeks or up to 3 on an annual basis.

The steroid usually starts to take effect in approximately 24-36 hours, however it can take 6 weeks for the full benefit to be felt.

Are there any risks?

These may occur but are extremely uncommon and generally resolve within a few weeks – they include:

  • Short term increase in pain – this effect is short lived and can be relieved with an ice pack or simple pain killers.

  • Possible raised blood sugar levels in diabetic patients. Diabetic patients should monitor their blood sugar after the injection.  Adjustment of diet or medication may be necessary for a few days.

  • Women may experience some irregularity of the menstrual cycle after the injection.

  • Rarely an injected joint can become infected; the joint becomes very painful and hot.  If this occurs contact the podiatrist or your GP immediately.

  • Facial flushing – for a short time only.

  • Skin dimpling, or skin discolouration at the site of injection.

  • Soft tissue rupture.

  • Very rarely bleeding and/or bruising in the injected area may occur which may cause increased pain for a few days

  • Anaphylactic shock – This is a rare wide spread allergic reaction and generally occurs in the first 30 minutes after the injection.  Symptoms can include abdominal cramps, swelling of the tongue and breathing tubes, loss of consciousness, blueness of skin and dizziness.  This will require immediate emergency treatment, dial 999.