The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine

Corticosteroid Shots: What They Are And Who Should Get Them

Posted by on Monday, August 26th, 2013


In podiatry, our goal is to first minimize pain and discomfort for our patients. Then we look to repair to root cause of the injury through the least invasive methods possible. What’s a patient to do when rest, ice, compression and elevation are not enough to take the edge off? What about when over-the-counter anti-inflammatory / pain relief has little effect? Obviously, if these treatments fixed every patient, podiatrists would be out of business. One of the tools at our disposal is the cortocosteroid shot, which is helpful in many different scenarios.

What Is A Corticosteroid Shot?

Corticosteroid injections treat pain and inflammation directly at the site of trouble. The shots are most often administered directly into the joints, like the ankle or knee, but they can also be injected into soft tissue of the feet. Each shot typically includes a corticosteroid medication and a local anesthetic like lidocaine, which wears off within a few hours. The shot can be given right in your podiatrist’s office.

This method of medication delivery is ideal because it delivers a high concentration directly where it is needed, which is in contrast to oral methods where it isn’t really known precisely how much reaches the target site. The injection also can help remove some of the joint fluid and take down the swelling, which makes it easier to run diagnostic tests. Furthermore, patients can avoid the many side effects associated with oral medications.

What Conditions Can Corticosteroid Shots Treat?

In podiatry and sports medicine, cortisone shots may be used to treat:

  • Plantar fasciitis / heel spurs
  • Tarsal tunnel
  • Traumatic injury
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Gout
  • Bursitis
  • Tendonitis
  • Turf Toe
  • Knee arthritis
  • Interdigital space pain, or
  • Morton’s neuroma.

Who Should Not Get A Corticosteroid Shot?

According to the Mayo Clinic, “the number of cortisone shots you can receive in one year generally is limited (usually one every 3-4 months) because of potential side effects from the medication.” Though rare, side effects may include:

  • Infection
  • Allergic reactions
  • Skin discoloration
  • Local bleeding
  • Rupture of a tendon, or
  • Weakening of tendons, ligaments and bone.

Also, as with any treatment, cortisone injections are not for everyone. People who are suffering from infection or who have a destroyed joint should not take this type of medication. Patients on anticoagulants / blood thinners or who have bleeding problems should not receive an injection of any sort due to the risk of bleeding at the puncture site. Diabetics should not have cortisone shots, as they have a tendency to raise blood sugar. Feel free to ask us any questions you may have about the use of corticosteroids at our NYC podiatrist office.


If you have any foot problems or pain, contact The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports MedicineDr. Josef J. GeldwertDr. Katherine Lai, Dr. Ryan Minara and Dr. Mariola Rivera have helped thousands of people get back on their feet. Unfortunately, we cannot give diagnoses or treatment advice online. Please make an appointment to see us if you live in the NY metropolitan area or seek out a podiatrist in your area.