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how long for injections?

Posted by Dona W. on 3/21/01 at 18:21 (042107)

I've had heel pain for about 6 months now, in my right foot. Years ago, I had plantar fascitis in my left foot and once I followed the dr's suggestions re: stretching, that pain eventually went away. This time around, it's not going anywhere. I know this isn't plantar fascitis, but a true heel spur. I can stretch my foot til the cows come home and it doesn't alleviate the pain at all. Walking first thing in the morning is unbearable, and whenever I sit for any length of time at all, the pain/stiffness comes right back. I'm now rolling from my toes onto the side of my foot to try to walk without major pain, and it's really messing up the mild arthritis in my knees. I'm going back to the dr next month and I figure he'll offer cortisone injections as a first round of defense. My question is this: how long do the effects last and how long does one usually end up taking them...is it a lifelong committment? Are the injections just as helpful for heel spurs as well? Thanks for any help.

Re: how long for injections?

Dr. Zuckerman on 3/21/01 at 19:35 (042111)

Relief from steriod injection could last one day, one week one month or for ever. It depends of what is causing the pain in the first place. Usally a bursitis is relieved with a steriod injection. I would not wait the one month. Set up an appointment now and see what he tell you now.

Re: how long for injections?

Valerie S on 3/21/01 at hrmin (042113)

Hi Dona.

I'm sorry to hear that you are in so much pain for 6 months now. Have you been to your doctor for a diagnosis yet? I have heel spurs too, but the cause of my pain is Plantar Fascitis (6 months now too); they quite often come together. You can get a lot of valuable information from the Heel Pain Book on the home page at this website... you should read it before you jump into diagnosing yourself.

As for the cortizone injections or any other treatment for heel pain, every reacts differently. I had an injection that helped relieve the pain for 4 days. I had a 2nd injection 2 weeks later that provided no relief at all. From what I know, they should not be a lifetime commitment - they can actually weaken the tissues over time and should be used with caution.

Talk to your doctor, read the Heel Pain Book, ask Dr. Zuckerman questions too. I just found this great place a couple weeks ago, and have found the information and support here to be very helpful.

Welcome, and may I wish you the best and most rapid recovery. You are not alone... Have a good day.

-Val.

Re: how long for injections?

Dona on 3/21/01 at 22:51 (042134)

Thanks for the suggestions so far. I've been to 2 ortho surgeons (actually about the knees, but the heel pain had occurred before the second dr visit). That dr was the one who offered the cortisone injections for the heel spur after a manual examination. I'm going back to the original dr (better rapport and a second opinion upheld his first one). April 3rd is the soonest I could get in. I read the information on the Heel Spurs, Heel Pain, Plantar Fascitis page. I've done the stretches and the shoe inserts. I actually have *old* orthotics from a previous surgery, but they are the hard plastic kind and didn't help a wit. I'm trying the softer Dr. Scholl's right now, because I figured some padding was better than nothing at all. While I regularly ice the knees, I never thought about icing my heel...duh. Does anyone know if the overnight heel wraps that hold the ice in place work very well? I'm thinking it might be worth looking into.

Re: pain

Bob G. on 3/22/01 at hrmin (042139)

I am no doctor, but I can relate to your post. Second time around I finally discovered that stretching was re-injuring my PF. What was needed was total rest (plus NightSplint) to allow it to heal - then gentle stretching - gradually. Bob G.

Re: pain

Bob G. on 3/22/01 at hrmin (042140)

Oh, I am leaving early in the morning for an extended business trip. When I get back I will be so busy I will not be able to check in - so if you want a response/reply from me, please e-mail me and I'll get back to you. Thanks! Bob G.

Re: how long for injections?

Julie on 3/22/01 at hrmin (042145)

Hi Dona

Heel spurs are often present with plantar fasciitis, but are not usually the cause of the pain (in fact they seem to be the body's attempt to heal the tear in the fascia: if you do a search on 'hee' spurs' you will unearth a number of posts on this topic).

Do see a doctor now. What sort of doctor is the one you plan on going to? You really need to see someone who specializes in feet, preferably a good podiatrist or a sports medicine doctor. There is lots to be tried before going down the cortisone/steroid road, and you need to be careful about that: some say three injections are the maximum, some say two. Injections can thin the tissues, as Valerie has said, leaving you with additional problems.

If you haven't yet read the Heel Pain Book, I know you will find it a valuable source of information. So print it out, and study it and educate yourself. I agree with Bob G that stretching can make things worse, and you certainly shouldn't be doing any weight-bearing stretching while you are in so much pain.

I suggest you try taping - it rests the fascia and gives the tears a chance to heal, as well as relieving the pain. In your case, it could be particularly useful: less pain in the foot = less compensating = less damage to your knee. See the instructions in Part 2 of the Heel Pain Book, and try the simple, 'two-strip' method first. A search on ' tape' or ' taping' will turn up numerous posts, including several recent ones of mine. If you have any problems, you're welcome to e-mail me.

Bottom line: find a good foot doctor (may take time), get a full evaluation including a gait analysis, and an accurate diagnosis. With his/her help set a sound treatment plan in motion.

Good luck and all the best

Julie

Re: PS - ankle support

Julie on 3/22/01 at 02:31 (042146)

Dona, you might also buy a Futoro ankle support (available in pharmacies/drug stores) or on line. It's an elastic support that gives support to the arch as well as the ankle. By itself, or in combination with tape, it can be very helpful.

Re: how long for injections?

Dr. Zuckerman on 3/21/01 at 19:35 (042111)

Relief from steriod injection could last one day, one week one month or for ever. It depends of what is causing the pain in the first place. Usally a bursitis is relieved with a steriod injection. I would not wait the one month. Set up an appointment now and see what he tell you now.

Re: how long for injections?

Valerie S on 3/21/01 at hrmin (042113)

Hi Dona.

I'm sorry to hear that you are in so much pain for 6 months now. Have you been to your doctor for a diagnosis yet? I have heel spurs too, but the cause of my pain is Plantar Fascitis (6 months now too); they quite often come together. You can get a lot of valuable information from the Heel Pain Book on the home page at this website... you should read it before you jump into diagnosing yourself.

As for the cortizone injections or any other treatment for heel pain, every reacts differently. I had an injection that helped relieve the pain for 4 days. I had a 2nd injection 2 weeks later that provided no relief at all. From what I know, they should not be a lifetime commitment - they can actually weaken the tissues over time and should be used with caution.

Talk to your doctor, read the Heel Pain Book, ask Dr. Zuckerman questions too. I just found this great place a couple weeks ago, and have found the information and support here to be very helpful.

Welcome, and may I wish you the best and most rapid recovery. You are not alone... Have a good day.

-Val.

Re: how long for injections?

Dona on 3/21/01 at 22:51 (042134)

Thanks for the suggestions so far. I've been to 2 ortho surgeons (actually about the knees, but the heel pain had occurred before the second dr visit). That dr was the one who offered the cortisone injections for the heel spur after a manual examination. I'm going back to the original dr (better rapport and a second opinion upheld his first one). April 3rd is the soonest I could get in. I read the information on the Heel Spurs, Heel Pain, Plantar Fascitis page. I've done the stretches and the shoe inserts. I actually have *old* orthotics from a previous surgery, but they are the hard plastic kind and didn't help a wit. I'm trying the softer Dr. Scholl's right now, because I figured some padding was better than nothing at all. While I regularly ice the knees, I never thought about icing my heel...duh. Does anyone know if the overnight heel wraps that hold the ice in place work very well? I'm thinking it might be worth looking into.

Re: pain

Bob G. on 3/22/01 at hrmin (042139)

I am no doctor, but I can relate to your post. Second time around I finally discovered that stretching was re-injuring my PF. What was needed was total rest (plus NightSplint) to allow it to heal - then gentle stretching - gradually. Bob G.

Re: pain

Bob G. on 3/22/01 at hrmin (042140)

Oh, I am leaving early in the morning for an extended business trip. When I get back I will be so busy I will not be able to check in - so if you want a response/reply from me, please e-mail me and I'll get back to you. Thanks! Bob G.

Re: how long for injections?

Julie on 3/22/01 at hrmin (042145)

Hi Dona

Heel spurs are often present with plantar fasciitis, but are not usually the cause of the pain (in fact they seem to be the body's attempt to heal the tear in the fascia: if you do a search on 'hee' spurs' you will unearth a number of posts on this topic).

Do see a doctor now. What sort of doctor is the one you plan on going to? You really need to see someone who specializes in feet, preferably a good podiatrist or a sports medicine doctor. There is lots to be tried before going down the cortisone/steroid road, and you need to be careful about that: some say three injections are the maximum, some say two. Injections can thin the tissues, as Valerie has said, leaving you with additional problems.

If you haven't yet read the Heel Pain Book, I know you will find it a valuable source of information. So print it out, and study it and educate yourself. I agree with Bob G that stretching can make things worse, and you certainly shouldn't be doing any weight-bearing stretching while you are in so much pain.

I suggest you try taping - it rests the fascia and gives the tears a chance to heal, as well as relieving the pain. In your case, it could be particularly useful: less pain in the foot = less compensating = less damage to your knee. See the instructions in Part 2 of the Heel Pain Book, and try the simple, 'two-strip' method first. A search on ' tape' or ' taping' will turn up numerous posts, including several recent ones of mine. If you have any problems, you're welcome to e-mail me.

Bottom line: find a good foot doctor (may take time), get a full evaluation including a gait analysis, and an accurate diagnosis. With his/her help set a sound treatment plan in motion.

Good luck and all the best

Julie

Re: PS - ankle support

Julie on 3/22/01 at 02:31 (042146)

Dona, you might also buy a Futoro ankle support (available in pharmacies/drug stores) or on line. It's an elastic support that gives support to the arch as well as the ankle. By itself, or in combination with tape, it can be very helpful.