Your feet and ankles bear your weight day in and day out, allowing you to walk, run, and jump. Because they shoulder so much of the burden of day-to-day life, they can be prone to injury and other issues.
If you develop pain in your feet or ankles, you may turn to over-the-counter medications. However, these drugs may not always help. If you relate to this, steroid injections may be able to help.
At Metairie Orthopedics & Sports Medicine in Metairie, Louisiana, Robert Douglas Bostick III, MD, treats foot and ankle issues in many patients. In this blog, he explains what can cause foot and ankle pain and how steroid injections can give long-term relief.
Causes of foot and ankle pain
Your ankles and feet are complex. They’re made up of a number of elements, including bones, ligaments, tendons, cartilage, nerves, and blood vessels. And while you can injure any of these parts in just daily living, you can increase your chances of injury if you engage in sports or other strenuous activities.
Common foot and ankle issues include the following:
- Tendon injuries
- Plantar fasciitis
- Achilles tendonitis
Osteoarthritis is another condition that often leads to pain in the feet and ankles. This is a condition in which cartilage — which is the tissue that helps protect the ends of bones where they form in a joint — breaks down. This, in turn, leads to inflammation and pain.
When you have pain, the most important step is to find out what’s causing the discomfort. Dr. Bostick and his team have the diagnostic tools to get you answers quickly regarding what’s causing your discomfort.
Basics of steroid injections
Corticosteroids are medications that are used to decrease inflammation and pain. They’re actually synthetic drugs that mimic cortisol, which is a hormone made by your adrenal glands.
Cortisol is what’s known as a glucocorticoid hormone. Your adrenal glands release this hormone during times of stress, and it helps reduce inflammation all over your body.
Corticosteroids are administered through injections, usually into a joint. Unlike oral medications — which can lose potency as they travel through your digestive system — corticosteroids go right to work in the area they’re injected into.
Foot and ankle pain is often treated with steroid injections when other, less invasive treatments aren’t effective.
Administering steroid injections
First, Dr. Bostick cleans the area that he’s going to inject. He then either sprays the area with a topical anesthetic or adds a local anesthetic to the corticosteroid injection.
Then, Dr. Bostick injects the corticosteroid into your foot or ankle. The procedure only takes a few minutes, and you’re then free to go home.
You may notice some slight swelling in the area where the medication is injected. Furthermore, you may notice some pain in the area after the injection, but these side effects should go away within a few days.
What to expect for length of relief
Corticosteroid injections go to work immediately helping to relieve inflammation. However, it may take a week or more to experience noticeable pain relief.
In mild to moderate cases of pain, you may get up to a year of pain relief. If the issue is severe, you may get a few months of relief.
To enhance your pain relief, Dr. Bostick and his team often combine corticosteroid injections with other treatments, such as physical therapy.
To learn if steroid injections can relieve your foot and ankle pain, call 504-541-5800 or book an appointment online with Metairie Orthopedics & Sports Medicine today.