Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Effects of Coritisone Shots

I am sure all of you have heard of cortisone shots, and may have even received them yourselves.  Because of my unexpected experience with them, I feel I need to share, so that others can be better informed than me.  

After I ran a half marathon in Sept. 2010, i began to experience shooting pains in the area where the 5th metatarsal hits the outer right area of my foot. I also noticed that I had a bump that protruded from the front right area of my lower ankle, which doctors described as either a ganglion or bursitis.  I would hear popping in the tendons that spanned that area whenever I took a step.   From examination of foot anatomy, i could see that there was a nerve that extends from the area of my bursitis in the upper part of my foot down to the outer right part of the foot. It must have been under pressure because of the bursitis, whatever it is. 

When taping, icing, rest, shoe inserts, and even foot manipulation, or popping of bones did not work with the first podiatrist, I went to a new one, who immediately said cortisone shots were the only way to reduce the inflammation to allow the foot to heal. By this point I had been injured for 3.5 months, and was needing to be able to walk without pain. I did not have insurance at time of injury, and the podiatrist said he could not do anything without an MRI except cortisone injections, which he seemed very confident would solve all my woes. This was not the case.  Shots took away the shooting pain, but when I ran after my prescribed amount of rest time, pain resumed due to the bursitis remaining.  The area around the injection site became sunken and the veins looked strained.  The skin cracked and peeled painfully, so that I needed to put lotion on it daily.  I have read that cortisone shots can damage the tissue surrounding the site of the injection, but I was not prepared for this.

I also experienced daily night sweats and periods every two weeks for 2 months.  No one told me that cortisone would affect my menstrual cycle.  I would not have received it, had I known this.  I researched, and sure enough, side effects listed on the drug website include menstrual irregularity.  This month I am again experiencing a period 2 weeks after I had one, as well as night sweats.  This is not normal for me.  I have always had regular periods when not pregnant or nursing.  I don't know how long this is going to go on.  I do know that I will not be running anytime soon, and I don't know if my foot will ever heal.  I now have insurance, but do not want to have surgery if it will put me in pain again. I would rather have no pain in every day walking than a new pain from surgery.   I also wonder if the shooting pain will resume when the cortisone is fully flushed from my body.  If you've had any experience with cortisone, shots, I'd love to hear about it.   I  am coming to a realization that anything put into the human body that is not natural to it can easily behave like a poison.  The human body has a delicate balance in every system, and any time one of those systems is upset, it takes a long time for equilibrium to reign once again.


Right foot was injected 2 times with Cortisone at base of ankle,  front right side. where redness is evident. This was done after visiting a podiatrist for two months and trying other methods such as exercises, icing, taping, and rest. The injury was apparently sustained during a half marathon I ran in September 2010 after having run regularly for 9 months.  Injections were done November 2010 and December 2010.  This photo is taken in May of 2011.  6 months later, the effects of cortisone shots are apparent not only externally, but hormonally.


 The site of the injection, 6 months later,  still peels daily, and must be treated with moisturizers in order to prevent irritation and pain from peeling skin.  Veins in the area are thin and weak.  The area of the injection has sunk and the actual bursitis it was treating has grown.

 This is the same spot on my healthy left foot.  Notice healthy coloration of skin.  No sinking in, no pronounced tendon at ankle, and obviously, no bursitis.

Left foot and right foot together.  Left foot is healthy, right is very unhealthy

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