For a long time, steroid injections were considered the best treatment option for plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis is caused by inflammation of tissues near the heel of the foot, and steroids are powerful anti-inflammatory drugs. They can provide nearly instantaneous relief to the pain individuals suffering from this condition feel and quickly bring down the inflammation. So, why are steroid injections no longer considered a safe treatment option for plantar fasciitis? Keep reading to find out.
Relief Is Temporary and Diminishing
When a patient receives a steroid injection for plantar fasciitis, it might feel like a miracle. The relief will be quick and will last for weeks or even months. But eventually, symptoms will return, and you’ll need another injection. When you receive your second dose, the relief will be less dramatic, and it won’t last as long. This means that you’ll need your next injection even sooner and, once again, the relief you feel will be diminished.
With such diminishing returns on the treatment, it’s far from an ideal option for handling plantar fasciitis. However, the next couple of reasons can compound the problem even further.
They Destroy Cartilage
Your foot and ankle contain many tiny joints that are cushioned by cartilage. This cartilage is essential to protecting those joints and enabling them to handle the impacts of your everyday movements like walking and running. High doses of steroids, like those used in plantar fasciitis treatments, are actually toxic to cartilage, causing it to break down and weaken much more quickly than usual.
This can lead to other foot-related problems down the road, such as arthritis. Of course, developing foot or ankle arthritis on top of your plantar fasciitis pain is not going to give you the relief you’re searching for, so it’s best to discuss other treatment options with a foot and ankle specialist in North Houston, TX.
They Destroy Stem Cells
In addition to damaging cartilage, high-dose steroid injections can be toxic to your body’s stem cells. If you’re not familiar with stem cells, they are the cells your body uses to repair damage throughout your body. These cells can actually change into a variety of other cell types to replace damaged cells in various systems. In the case of plantar fasciitis, your body would use stem cells in the foot to repair or replace the damaged plantar fascia tissue cells.
However, when you inject steroids into your foot as a form of treatment, you severely damage those stem cells and prevent them from being able to do their job. Even in doses much lower than are typically used in plantar fasciitis treatments, steroids have been shown to kill large numbers of stem cells.
There Are Better Options
While steroid injections may be the treatment option you’ve heard about the most, medical science has developed better treatment options for plantar fasciitis in more recent years. Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections, for example, have been found to be a far more effective treatment option for plantar fasciitis than steroids. And, not only is it safer, but it provides longer-lasting relief.
To learn more about PRP injections, what they are, and how they can treat your plantar fasciitis pain, speak to an orthopedic doctor for the foot and ankle in The Woodlands, TX. Call 936-271-3668 to speak to an expert now.