If you have ever experienced an injury while playing sports, you know the healing process can be slow. Fortunately, there are many treatment options available to you to make this process easier.
Still, you might be wondering when steroid injections — which have been a mainstay of treatment for sports injuries — will be needed. They are often part of your treatment, but they aren’t the first thing we try.
At Foot + Ankle Specialty Centers, located in Phoenix, Gilbert, Scottsdale, Chandler, and Mesa, Arizona, we want you to be able to heal safely so you can get back in the game. Our providers — Payam Sarraf, DPM; Kate Kennedy, DPM; Katy Statler, DPM; Andrew Goodeill, DPM; Christopher Van Damme, DPM; Amelia Harris, DPM; and Sina Safar, DPM, — take athletic injuries very seriously and will design a treatment plan for your specific needs.
You might have heard many things about steroid injections for sports injuries, but you might not know exactly what they are or how they work. Steroid injections contain a certain kind of steroid (called a corticosteroid) that is a version of the hormone cortisol. Cortisol can reduce inflammation and stress caused by injury.
When you receive a steroid injection, it decreases the inflammation caused in an injured body part, which also decreases the pain and discomfort you feel. It will also allow you to move your foot or ankle more freely without the pain and inflammation caused by your injury.
Now, we know what you might be thinking. Why can’t I get a steroid injection now and skip all this pain and discomfort? Well, unfortunately, this isn’t the way it works.
We’ve all heard stories of athletes getting steroid shots so they could perform with an injury without pain. But this isn’t the way an injury is actually treated. And over time, this kind of use has been found to be more dangerous for the athlete.
That’s why the first line of defense for a sports-related injury must be to rest. We suggest the acronym RICE (rest, ice, compression, and elevation). In addition, the area may need to be immobilized.
If you don’t take the time to do these things in the beginning, you could experience significant problems in the future. That’s why at Foot + Ankle Specialty Centers, the early stages of treatment for foot and ankle injuries almost always start with these tried-and-true methods.
So when would you need a steroid injection? Unfortunately, the answer to this question isn’t as simple as it may seem.
Every athlete is different because they all play different sports. But every person also has a different body type, needs, and medical history. Plus, your injury — and your healing capabilities — also play a significant role in your treatment plan. As such, we can’t tell you when or if you’ll need a steroid injection.
We can tell you, however, that some people require further treatment after the initial period of rest. Physical therapy might be necessary, and steroid shots could be used in tandem to allow you to heal and strengthen your foot or ankle. In some cases, a steroid shot may help alleviate pain for a long period — or forever if the problem is localized just to inflammation.
But the takeaway here is to remember that no one person’s treatment path will look exactly like another’s. Something that worked for you may not work for someone else. The best thing to do is to work with one of our specialists to study all your options and create an effective treatment plan.
Let us treat your injury in the safest and most effective way for your situation.
Visit one of our five locations around the great state of Arizona or contact us online to make an appointment.