Cortisone injections, sometimes referred to as “cortisone infiltration,” are often a beneficial podiatry treatment used to relieve acute or chronic pain related to various musculoskeletal issues. Actually, cortisone is a hormone frequently used as an anti-inflammatory to relieve certain joint pains, rashes, inflammation or swelling.
Learn more about cortisone injections, an effective treatment with numerous benefits, but which must generally be used in the short term, with care and discernment, by a healthcare professional.
Cortisone: A derivative of cortisol
Cortisone is a synthetic version of cortisol (also called “hydrocortisone“). Cortisone is a steroid hormone secreted by the adrenal glands, located in the upper part of your kidneys.
The first cortisone treatments
During the 1930s to the 1950s, researchers took an interest in the therapeutic properties of the adrenal glands. After many experiments, a team of American researchers finally discovered that cortisol also had strong anti-inflammatory properties.
Chemists sought to recreate its effects, leading to the creation of cortisone. Cortisone treatment subsequently revealed that patients’ symptoms disappeared following treatment, especially in cases of arthritis or rheumatism.
The discovery of this treatment earned the authors of this work the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1950. It led to the creation of corticosteroid drugs, which are now used to treat many diseases, including many related to the feet, ankles, tendons and knees.
It then became possible to inject cortisone directly into the painful area of your body. This method curbs various adverse effects of several degenerative, respiratory or dermatological diseases.
However, cortisone infiltration is not only used to relieve pain. It is also used for therapeutic purposes. Cortisone will not fix the cause of your pain, but it will actually stop the inflammation or swelling in the affected area.
A few myths about cortisone injections
There are several myths circulating about cortisone treatments. Some of them may discourage many from electing to choose this treatment to relieve their podiatric pain. In particular, it is claimed that cortisone makes people gain weight, that it can weaken bones or affect the development of babies during pregnancy. However, all these statements are unfounded when referring to cortisone injected over a short period of time.
As previously mentioned, the effects of cortisone tablets should not be confused with the effects of cortisone injected over a short period of time. Let’s correct a few facts.
In a nutshell, if injected using an ultrasound-guided procedure and for therapeutic purposes by a podiatrist, cortisone is not dangerous or harmful.
Advantages of cortisone injection in your podiatry treatment
In the short term, cortisone injections are very beneficial. In addition to reducing pain, here are some of the positive effects of cortisone injections in podiatry treatment:
- eliminates inflammation or swelling
- reduces recovery time
- accelerates pain relief
- is easily absorbed by tissue
- is a natural hormone
- is non-toxic
- is non-allergenic
The benefits of cortisone infiltration are therefore very useful during your podiatry treatment. However, its long-term use can cause various side effects. That is why the podiatrist will use this hormone prudently during your treatment.
Side effects of cortisone injections on your body
Cortisone injections are very safe in the majority of cases.
In fact, the use of cortisone during podiatry treatment will generally not have any negative impact on your body, since it is administered locally and targets a specific area. In addition, cortisone injections are a solution that takes place over a short period of time.
It is very important not to confuse the effects of taking cortisone in pill form with those of injected cortisone in a specific area of your body. The effects are not the same.
In the short term, cortisone infiltration may cause small inconveniences lasting 24 to 48 hours following the procedure. However, these effects are generally no greater than those of taking a blood sample. In addition, the beneficial therapeutic effects and pain relief are quickly felt.
Below are a few other side effects of cortisone injections in the short term:
- skin redness, minor bleeding or itching may occur in the injection area
- the skin can also change colour in the area where the injection was administered
- In women, changes in the menstrual cycle may occur
- Among diabetics, injected cortisone can lead to an increase in blood sugar levels for several days, so it is important to consult a doctor before proceeding.
To avoid side effects as much as possible, your podiatrist will limit the number of cortisone injections to a minimum.
What is the procedure for a cortisone injection in podiatry?
- Preliminary examination: before performing the injection, our team evaluates your medical history and motor skills. X-rays can be taken to accurately identify the area to be treated. Following this, we can determine if a cortisone injection is possible to treat you.
- Treatment plan: once the evaluation is completed, a personalized treatment plan is designed to ensure the best possible treatment.
- Ultrasound: if the cortisone treatment is possible and necessary, an ultrasound scan of the area to be injected may be performed. This allows our team to proceed in a precise, painless and safe manner. We can also assess the situation and determine the amount of cortisone required to stop the pain.
- Ultrasound-guided injection: cortisone is administered to you conservatively. Our team is guided by the ultrasound, which allows it to monitor the progress of the cortisone injection. The needle is also repositioned as required. With this technique, you can be assured that our team will not have to repeat the process several times due to a lack of precision.
- Conclusion: once the cortisone has been correctly administered in your body, a bandage is applied to the affected area. A follow-up is then conducted during your next visit.
A good thing to remember is that, depending on the case, several cortisone injections may be required. Your podiatrist is able to determine the best way to proceed based on your specific condition.
Cortisone infiltration: to return to your normal daily life
While they come with very good benefits, cortisone injections do not necessarily work for everyone. It is therefore important to consult a podiatrist quickly in the event you experience significant inflammatory pain, whether in your foot, heel, ankle or knee.
Why let the pain and symptoms of your condition worsen and completely interfere with your daily life? If necessary, contact a specialist without delay. Your podiatrist will be able to determine if a cortisone injection is the best solution.
Contact a Pied Réseau clinic for answers to all your questions about your pain and to receive the best treatment possible.