Cortisone Shot for Plantar Fasciitis

Updated on July 25, 2013
M.H. asks from Saint Paul, MN
19 answers

Has anyone had a cortisone shot for plantar fasciitis and how did it work out? I have a nasty and persistent case in my left foot. I saw a chiropractor last week and he adjusted it and gave me some stretches and icing techniques. It also turns out that I have the wrong orthotics. I bought new stabilizer shoes. Anyhow, the chiro recommended a cortisone shot to get me through our upcoming vacation where I had hoped to do a lot of walking, some of it on cobblestones. I called a podiatrist today and his nurse told me that the cortisone shots don't always work and can sometimes even make it worse. I have an appointment on Monday to see the podiatrist and discuss it with the him. PT may be a long term solution, but won't help for vacation, which is less than 2 weeks away. So anyone have the shot and what happened?

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So What Happened?

I'm sorry to hear so many of you are afflicted with this painful condition, but also comforted to know I'm not alone. I got my Strassburg sock today and am about to put it on for the first night. I will discuss many of the issues raised here with the podiatrist on Monday. The timing is just unfortunate with the vacation coming up. I waited too long to address it thinking "it will go away soon." Thanks!

Until this post I had been stretching twice a day and icing by rolling on a frozen water bottle 3x/day. I will try to increase that and check out the new stretches. My chiropractor is usually very conservative when it comes to medications and traditional medicine so I assumed when he recommended the shot it was a sure thing. I was a little surprised by what the podiatrist's nurse told me and only then did I question it. I will proceed cautiously and get as much information as possible from the doctor. I admit it gives me the "heebie jeebies" to think of putting a needle into an area that is so painful I can hardly walk sometimes and is equally painful to the touch.

I went to the podiatrist this morning. He doesn't do cortisone shots as a first line of treatment so no shot for vacation, although I was leaning away from that anyhow. My foot is taped for 5 days and then I have temporary orthotics after that. I need to see him again in 2 weeks. If I am not improving then we talk about a shot, physical therapy and/or custom-made orthotics. I continue with icing, but no more stretching until after the tape is off. He gave me a brochure of stretches. FYI, here are his opinions on some of the things that were suggested:
Strassburg sock--can't hurt, but doesn't help a lot so don't rush out to get one (too late)
Going barefoot--NEVER, NEVER (except in shower)
Crocs--fine for house shoes (that's what I use)
Birkenstocks--can be helpful

Featured Answers


answers from Detroit on

found out the hard way that I was allergic to cortisone...all you had to do is tie a balloon string around me, that's how swollen my whole body was:(

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I haven't had it, but a good friend did, and she tried almost everything, including cortisone. Then one day she started wearing Crocs. Yes, ugly Crocs. But now she wears only Crocs, and some of them don't look half bad. It solved her problem and now she won't wear anything else because she is so afraid of getting the pain back. Just thought I would mention this in case you might want to try just one more thing.

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from Miami on

Bless your heart, mom. I had plantar fascitis for a year and a half and had several of these shots. HOWEVER, I did not go to a podiatrist. I went to an orthopedic foot specialist, and I recommend that you do this if you decide to have shots. They know all about this stuff. AND the doctor ought to be the one who gives you the shot - NOT the nurse.

The shot really helped for about a month (expect not to walk for a day after you get it.) But a month's relief just isn't enough to continue doing it longterm, and the shots hurt like hades. What FIXED my feet were buying Munro and Naot shoes. They're expensive, but miracles. I highly recommend that you try THESE if the shoes you have bought don't work.

Are you stretching gently when you get up in the morning, first step out of the bed? Do that. Get those shoes I'm talking about. I promise you it will make all the difference. I STILL wear Naots because they take care of my feet. (I wore my Munros out!)

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Milwaukee on

I have not had the shot, but I DO have advice for P.F.

1. Get a Strassburg sock. Look them up online, & then find local retailers. These are wonderful! You wear them @ night, & it keeps your foot flexed while you sleep, & therefore stretched. (note: you can get painful feeling in your toes after long-wear, sometimes wakes me up, I just take it off @ that point)

2. Get a pair of Crocs (or similar) to wear around the house NEVER go barefoot! Your feet need the support & cushioning that they offer.

3. Once your P.F. is cleared up, continue to do the stretches & exercise for life. Mine came back because I wasn't given this advice.

I am now 1 year pain free after a 1-year+ ordeal with bilateral P.F. It came on suddenly & took forever to go away. I did inserts, sock, exercises, stretches, icing & Phys Therapy!

If you are going on vacation & walking, even if the shot helps, you want to do as much as possible to keep your fascia as supple as possible. Make sure to rest, stretch, have good, supportive shoes, & pamper your feet! Massages (even from yourself) really help!

Have a great vacation. T.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

My H has had it for many, many years. He had a first shot by a regular doc which put it directly into the spot where it hurt! He had to take 3 days off because he couldn't walk on it! But a podiatrist knows how to do it much better.
Still, it's a short term solution. H had custom made $400 orthotics for many years. They were hard and wore out yearly and had to be rebuilt. He never walks without shoes.

He changed podiatrists (younger) and he did give him a shot but also put him in a boot at night to keep his calf muscles streached for a few weeks.
The best thing he did was give him new orthotics that he had there at the office. They are called Powerstep and cost about $35! They have been a God send.

He also started to walk with me on an indoor track. Believe it or not it really helps H to walk as it streached out his muscles.

So, yes, get the shot. It takes a bit to work but I think it will make your vacation much more comfortable. Ask about the powerstep. Ask about the boot. I would trust a podiatrist more about orthotics than a Chrio.

Good luck!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Appleton on

I have had this condition on and off for about 10 years now. I have gotten the cortisone shot about 4 different times through the years. A few times for exactly the reason you are considering it.........we were leaving on vacation and I needed to be able to walk! The shots have worked for me EVERY time but it does take a few days for the relief to set in. Although the shot itself is painful my pain never increased like some of the other responders stated. I use the shots as a last resort because they will eventually affect the tissue. I have been wearing prescribed orthotics as much as possible to keep the plantar fasciitis away. Last fall I went to physical therapy for months and the ultrasound technique they used worked well. I have found that I cannot wear flip flops even the expensive ones with support or my feet flare up.
Good luck hopefully the shot works for you so you can enjoy your vacation!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Reading on

I had it done probably 20 years ago. I don't remember it being particularly effective.

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answers from Dallas on

I don't have your condition but my feet have issues. I'm getting MRI tomorrow on my ankle.

The first thing my podiatrist asked was, " have you done cortisone injections" . I have not. He said the deterioration of my bone looks like someone with the shots and he said they are basically a band-aid which sometimes causes more damage.

He said... " I can shoot your ankle with pain meds and you wear a boot 2 days and you'll be pain free but not cured. I opted not to go the band-aid route.

Good luck to you.. My routine sucks right now with messed up foot. I'm getting it fixed vs a temporary fix.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Anchorage on

I do know that getting shots in your hands or feet can cause pain. Sometimes the shots help, sometimes not. Whether or not you want to risk it depends on how much pain you are in already.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

I've had it bad in both feet a few times.
What cleared it up for me was wearing Birkenstock sandals every waking moment for about 4 to 6 weeks.
I only took them off for bedtime and showering.
Once healed up I could be barefoot again.
I know people who've had the cortisone shots.
It worked for some for awhile but it didn't work at all for others.
Flip flops are the absolute worst things for your feet - Keen (and a few other companies) have some out now that have some arch support but you have to search around for them.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Jacksonville on

Do your stretches every time you think about them. Stretch often. You cannot stretch too much.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

had it done in both my feet-worked wonders-but they have to get it in the right spot-right up thru the arch-i wont lie-hurt like hell-but the relief was worth it.along with that-go on line look up "HEAL SEATS"-these are long term put in your shoes-washable-i think i paid 35.00 for a pair of them-had em 7 yrs now-im a retired chef,now i flip apts.on my feet endless hrs.good luck

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Jacksonville on

I had it once quite a few years ago. I went to our then family doctor (very conservative) and he gave me a website to refer to and a list of stretches to do. Along with advice about icing my foot (freeze a soda can, and wearing only a sock, roll the frozen can back and forth with your foot). It cleared up within about a week, if I remember accurately.

I never used orthotics at all. I never bought new shoes. None of that.

Maybe I just got lucky, but I'd be interested to know what stretches you have done and how "faithful" you were in doing them, before I jumped on the "give me an injection" bandwagon. Anytime you are sticking a needle into a nerve infested region of the body, it strikes me as risky.

The stretches I used are included in this list (not all the websites I've visited show the stretch where you lean into a wall). These were, by far, the most effective stretches for me. Also, the site mentions the importance of stretching out the muscles before you ever step foot out of the bed in the morning. As with other ligament/tendon issues, once irritated, use and stretching can exacerbate things. You have to get the inflammation calmed down so that the stretches aren't re-irritating and re-inflaming the tissue. Ice. Frozen soda can multiple times a day.
Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

I had a different issue in my foot and had a cortisone shot. The shot worked but to say it was wicked is an understatement and I delivered my 3rd child without drugs. I would get the shot again if I had to but would avoid it if at all possible. On a positive note the injections takes about 30 seconds and the doctor will numb the area first.
(FYI... If you are not in a boot, I highly recommend "Fit Flops" they have arch support and are the only summer shoe I can wear. My PT told me about them.).

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

I did get a cortisone shot for plantar fasciitis. This was some years back, maybe 6 or 8, and I haven't had a problem since. My podiatrist tried to talk me out of it, tried to talk me into meds instead, which had a big risk of gastro problems and I have ulcerative colitis so those meds seemed like a stupid idea. I insisted that I wanted to go with the shot and it was the best decision for me. Good luck

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I had been seeing my podiatrist for this and after about 7 years of random cortisone shots, which did help (Ithink once I went a year and a half w/o a shot) he sent me for PT which took care of it along w/heel cushions...feel better

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I've had it, and was able to cure it.
My suggestion...GO BAREFOOT.

I know, I know...according to doctors that's the worst thing you can do.

The idea behind what I'm about to explain comes from a forward thinking doctor. You have to treat the cause of the problem, not the symptoms.

Our feet were not meant to be crammed into running shoes. They were not meant to be in pointy toed heels, or on platforms, or have and inch of cushion underneath them.
The result of years of that is that the muscles that work naturally in your feet begin to atrophy. They fail to work correctly. This creates an inbalance in your foot, that in the end, often winds up in the form of PF.

So take the gym shoes, Birkenstocks, and orthodics off. Let your feet do what they do naturally.
They will be SORE. For about 2 weeks. Muscle sore, like you've had a really good workout.
And it's the best thing you can do for them.
You have to reatrain those muscles to work like they're supposed to.

I promise...once that soreness goes away from them starting to work again... the PF will disappear.

And so will your need for all those inserts and "comforatble" shoes.

I personally did this 10 years ago and I've never had a problem since.
I actually workout either barefoot, or in the Vibram minimum shoes that have absolutely no support.
Best decision ever.



answers from Wausau on

I haven't had a shot for that but I did for something else for my foot and it worked great for about a month. My sister did have the cortisone shot for plantar fasciitis and she said it was wonderful. It lasted quite a while but not forever of course. Make sure you still do your streches and ice and all. Did your foot doctor give you splint like boots to wear at night? They've been help;ing me. not comfortable, but helpful!


answers from Boston on

I had it and it didn't work - the relief was very short lived. It also hurt more for a day or so. My son hasn't had luck with it either, and he's a runner who puts a lot of stress on his feet, ankles, knees, etc. I've had much better luck with a well-researched anti-inflammatory that's food-based and safe for long term use. You can vary the amount to get the results you need. It also has many other benefits and I've had great results with some early arthritis in one knee and some muscle strain from my workout class. I like it because it's had clinical trials and because the food science company that distributes it actually assigns you to a consultant who is available for questions. Let me know if you want that info.

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