Foot & Ankle

Steroid Injections

What is a steroid injection?

Hydrocortisone injections - or 'steroid injections' - are a type of medicine known as a corticosteroid.


Corticosteroids are not the same as anabolic steroids.


Hydrocortisone injections are used to treat inflammation in joints and soft tissue. 

It is often used where an injury or inflamed area fails to respond to a normal line of recommended treatment.

The common causes for steroid injection are:

  • Neuroma - benign nerve growth between toes

  • Inflamed joint causing intense pain which has not responded to rehabilitate treatment

  • Bursitis (small bag of fluid is inflamed close to joint or tendons)

  • Stubborn Plantar Fasciitis 

  • Ganglions

What are the benefits of having a steroid injection?

Hydrocortisone injections in the feet are used to treat pain from; bursitis (when a small bag of fluid which cushions a joint gets inflamed), plantar fascia, neuromas, Sesamoiditis, Firbomas and arthritis. 

The injections usually help relieve pain and swelling, and make movement easier. The benefits can last for several months. It is important during this period to perform relevant rehabilitation you may have been advised. 


  • Soreness / bruising from a steroid ‘flare’ (unpredictable local reaction) at the site of injection. This can occur four to 12 (4 to 12) hours after the injection but normally wears off in less than 72 hours.  Take over-the-counter painkillers (i.e.  paracetamol) and apply ice to the area to ease the pain 

  • Increase of pain at the injection site (for up to seven days)

  • Small area of fat loss (skin dimpling) at the site of injection

  • Change in skin colour around the site of injection

  • Light headedness

  • Temporary bruising or bleeding at the site of injection (especially if you are taking blood thinning tablets such as aspirin or warfarin)

  • Flushing or redness of the face for a few hours up to 24 to 48 hours



  • Diabetic patients may notice a temporary increase (a few hours) in blood sugar levels

  • Haematoma (localised collection of blood) at the site of injection

  • Fainting 

When should I NOT have a steroid injection ?

There are a few cases where steroid injections cannot be administered. these are:

  • If you are trying for a baby, pregnant or breastfeeding.

  • Have any type of infection

  • Recently have or soon to have vaccinations

  • Have any upcoming surgery

  • Have had a reaction to steroid medication

  • Have had another steroid injection within the last 6 months

What will happen when I have a steroid injection?

What happens during the injection? 

The benefits and risks of the injection will be explained to you in detail.


You will then be placed in a comfortable position. The skin is cleaned with antiseptic.  


A needle is gently positioned into the affected area and the solution is injected through the needle.


A plaster will be placed over the site to keep it clean. A few minutes after the injection you will be examined again.

The appointment is 45 minutes but the actual injection only a couple of minutes from start to finish. 

Are you a patient who has had a steroid injection recently and looking for your home advice/post op information: - Steroid Injection Home Advice

For more information on this read our leaflet -  Steroid Injection Information
visit the NHS information page:

All patients wishing to have a steroid injection will need to book an
initial podiatry assessment first