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Steroid injections

BMJ Group Medical Reference

We don't know if steroid injections improve heel pain, because there hasn't been much research.

You may feel less heel pain in the weeks after an injection into your plantar fascia (the band of tissue connecting your heel to the ball of your foot). One study (a randomised controlled trial) found that people who had a steroid injection had less pain after six weeks and after 12 weeks, compared with people who had a dummy ( placebo) injection. But we need more studies to confirm this. [16]

Steroid injections usually contain one of these steroids: methylprednisolone, hydrocortisone, or triamcinolone.

An injection into the heel of your foot can hurt, so the steroid is usually combined with a local anaesthetic.

Some studies have found that a combination injection that contains steroids and a local anaesthetic reduces heel pain more than other treatments ( heel pads or the combination injection plus a heel pad). But it's not clear how helpful this will be to people, as the difference between treatments may be only slight. [2]

There is a risk that your plantar fascia will rupture (burst) if you have a steroid injection. [17] [18] In one study, this happened to 1 in 10 people. [18] The rupture might happen suddenly or come on gradually. It can take up to one year to occur. The rupture may relieve your heel pain, but you'll probably get other long-term foot problems.

You may get other complications from a steroid injection, including infection, change in skin colour, nerve injury, and muscle damage. [19]

Glossary

local anaesthetic

A local anaesthetic is a painkiller that's used to numb one part of your body. You usually get local anaesthetics as injections.

placebo

A placebo is a 'pretend' or dummy treatment that contains no active substances. A placebo is often given to half the people taking part in medical research trials, for comparison with the 'real' treatment. It is made to look and taste identical to the drug treatment being tested, so that people in the studies do not know if they are getting the placebo or the 'real' treatment. Researchers often talk about the 'placebo effect'. This is where patients feel better after having a placebo treatment because they expect to feel better. Tests may indicate that they actually are better. In the same way, people can also get side effects after having a placebo treatment. Drug treatments can also have a 'placebo effect'. This is why, to get a true picture of how well a drug works, it is important to compare it against a placebo treatment.

randomised controlled trials

Randomised controlled trials are medical studies designed to test whether a treatment works. Patients are split into groups. One group is given the treatment being tested (for example, an antidepressant drug) while another group (called the comparison or control group) is given an alternative treatment. This could be a different type of drug or a dummy treatment (a placebo). Researchers then compare the effects of the different treatments.

For more terms related to Heel pain

Citations

For references related to Heel pain click here.
Last Updated: June 07, 2013
This information does not replace medical advice.  If you are concerned you might have a medical problem please ask your Boots pharmacy team in your local Boots store, or see your doctor.

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