How to Have Big Success Beating PF Without Cortisone
If you think taking a cortisone shot to cure your plantar fasciitis pain is a good idea, then you may be surprised to discover that you’ve been misled. Not exactly deceived, but maybe not been made aware of the whole story.
The truth is that planter fasciitis injections are problematic because a critical patch of fat, the heel pad, is located close to the most likely injection site. In short, You need to have big success beating PF without cortisone. There are side effects of using cortisone shots for PF. What does this mean? Check out the illuminating statement below:
“I ignored my podiatrist’s advice not to have cortisone injected into my heel and asked my family doctor, who obliged,” says Christine Byers, a Boston-qualifying masters runner from Valparaiso, Indiana. “I now have no fat remaining under that heel and can no longer walk barefoot. Custom orthotics are the only reason I’m able to walk or run reasonably comfortably.” Running Times. 420 (Sept. 2014): p28.
Cortisone and Knee Pain
That said, it’s not your fault if you’ve been believing that you can safely use cortisone for foot pain. After all, there have been many cases when upper-body problems or arthritic knees have been treated with some success using cortisone. Cortisone is a potent anti-inflammatory drug. When injected into the knee joint, it can help reduce pain, inflammation, and swelling.
It’s a natural leap then to think if cortisone can help my bad knee it should then help my bad feet. Well, I’m here to clarify things and help you discover the side effects of using cortisone shots for PF. My hope is that if after reading the information, you’ll think twice before letting someone stick a cortisone injection in your heel. Let’s get started.
Doing Your Job of Not Ignoring Pain
You have probably been told that ignoring pain, hoping that it will go away, will lead to more problems. Foot and ankle pain, for example, that once seemed minor can quickly turn into a major issue needing serious attention. As John Kennedy, M.D., a foot and ankle surgeon at the Hospital for Special surgery in New York, points out: “Each day about 27,000 ankle sprains occur in the U.S.; half of those will end up injuring cartilage, and at least 25% will injure tendons or other soft tissue.” Muscle & Fitness/ Hers. 17.3 (May-June 2016): p50.
So of course you want to do the right thing and not ignore your pain.
First Line of Defense
Cortisone shots not usually considered a first-line or long-term treatment for PF. In fact, your options should look something like this:
Journal of Family Practice 52.9 (Sept. 2003): p714.
How Cortisone Masks The issue
A big problem with cortisone is it that it doesn’t cure what caused your injury. It merely buys you time to temporarily get rid of the pain and resume training. The problem, however, is that experiencing no pain is not the same as being cured. It’s just masking the problem. A Running Times article illustrates the point. It tells the story of Two-time New Zealand Olympian Kim Smith:
Ten days before the London Marathon, Smith hurt her foot on a 10-mile tempo, badly enough that it was painful to walk. Following an MRI and a consultation with her doctor, she had cortisone injected into the sheaths of two inflamed tendons. “I ran two days later and it felt OK, [then] did a very short tempo to test it and it felt good,” she says. But by the time she got to London, she was back to square one. “It was back to the point where I couldn’t walk on it again–much worse even than before the cortisone. I’m not sure if the cortisone wore off or I just irritated it further by masking the pain, but I don’t think I would get one again.”Running Times. 420 (Sept. 2014): p28.
Worse Then Masking
At times cortisone injections can, when overused, do more damage than the original condition it was used to treat. They can destroy cartilage, rupture tendons near the joint, and damage blood supply to the underlying bone. In short, they can mess you up. Consequently, this is why they have to be the last thing you consider when seeking pain relief for PF.
But the alternatives are hard, you might say. I don’t know how to do them. Really? You would be surprised how doable all the suggested alternatives are.
Consider the following : limit offending activities. All this means is something as simple as using a cushioned mat over a hard work space, reducing the impact on your feet if you stand for prolonged time over one spot. Boom! Done. Easy. Needles anyone? I don’t think so.
Or consider the second option related to the first—wear supportive footwear. Seeing is believing. This is what an unprotected foot looks like.
Shoes should have adequate arch support and cushioned heels. Worn or ill-fitting shoes can exacerbate PF due to lack of proper cushioning. Over time, running shoes can lose a significant amount of shock absorption. Consequently, a new pair of running shoes can do much to decrease foot pain.
You want to consider the following when getting that sweet new shoe:
Buying new shoes is a lot better than having someone stick a needle in your foot. These are two examples that you can do before considering a cortisone injection. So, let me ask you something. How old are those running shoes in your closet?
I like to hear from the readers so please leave me a comment below to let me know if this post helped you or if you have any questions.