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Chronic Ankle Pain Worse after Cortisone Injection

I have had pain on the lateral aspect of my ankle & heel for over a year now. At first it began as simply sharp pain in my heel area (lateral) that would get worse if I stood or walked for long periods. After seeing about 8 different doctors including a podiatrist, I was finally referred to an Orthopedic specialist. The only tests I was given were x rays on about 4 separate occassions. I was told first it might be a heel spur. No evidence of that. Then possibly that I strained my soleus muscle. No amount of stretching or rest or NSAIDS helped, nor 6 weeks of physiotherapy, massage therapy or even accupuncture. The podiatrist's best guess was that it was being caused by my peroneal tendons. Wearing the Stromgren ankle stirrup brace didn't help at all. Pedorthist said I don't need orthopedics for my shoes so there is nothing wrong with the way I walk. Each doctor I see has told me the tendons all feel intact.

Finally saw a specialist and his concern was subluxation or a possible partial tear in the tendon. My MRI isn't until next week, however he indicated that a shot of cortisone might help with the pain. I agreed and I got it about a week ago. I left his office and went to work as normal. The pain was incredibly intense after about 4hrs. The doctor told me absolutely nothing about side effects or what to expect after the injection. Only that it "might help". After the intense pain subsided I began to have trouble walking. The bottom of my foot where the peroneal tendons meet the bone began to hurt incredibly whenever I would try to put any weight down on it. After hobbling around for a few days hoping it would subside I went back to a GP (since my orthopedic doctor was totally unavailable, had no contact info and wouldn't be returning to the clinc for a month, and no I couldn't speak to another specialist at the clinic according to the receptionist). The GP at the clinic I went into told me it seemed an unusual reaction, he consulted with someone he knew as an orthopedic doctor who indicated that i should get an x ray to check for some sort of spur, gave me a prescription for naproxen and sent me on my way.

The pain at the lateral bottom border of my foot is pretty bad still even after 4 days of naproxen and rest. Mostly it occurs when I'm standing for any amount of time. The pain seems to be moving up the side of my calf, into the outside of my hip, into my butt and then up the side of my back. This may be because of having to limp and try to put my weight on my toes rather than setting my foot flat at any point in time.

I'm not sure if this is a normal reaction to a cortisone injection, but I was at least functional before it was given to me, now I can barely stand and no amount of stretching helps work out the achey pain in my calf, thigh, butt or back. I'm starting to notice that I'm getting off balance and some weakness in my left side. After a year of doctors and no definitive diagnosis I am putting all bets on the MRi I have scheduled for next week. My doctor, however indicated that it might show nothing at all. At that point I'm not even sure where this pain could be coming from. Anyone else have undiagnosed mysterious ankle/heel pain similar to this? I'm 29, 120lbs and  in pretty good shape. I have never had a history of anything like his. Never broken a bone or sprained my ankle. I am so frustrated by this!!!!
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Avatar universal
Hey Jade,

Thanks for posting that.  My issue is a little different, but the end result seems to be similar.

I am dealing with the end result of a microfracture of my fibula and a torn peroneus brevis.  It all happened around a year ago.  I was going through some on going pain and as a result was suggested to do a cortisone shot, which ended up directly into my ankle joint.   Before the shot I'd have some nights where I'd wake up in pain and other days where I would experience pain after a couple of hours of walking.   Immediately after the shot I lost all range of motion.  That lasted for about a day and for the last three weeks I haven't been able to walk on it for more than a block.  I ended up going back on crutches and now have a walking boot.  Seeing a surgeon tomorrow to get some input on what's going on, but that shot would be one of the worst decisions I've made in a long time.

Ibuprofen seems to work better than anything prescription I had received in the past for pain and inflammation.

I'm not sure if you'll see this, but if you do, what ended up happening and what did you find out when it was all said and done?

Avatar universal
Unfortunately for me, this pain continues to this day and the MRI has shown nothing. I am going for a back MRI next week and a rescan of my ankle as well to see if a second opinion will pinpoint something. The pain spread into my back on the left side and is wrapping around my ribcage. I've seen everyone imaginable for this, had EMG, CT scan, bloodwork to rule out rheumatological causes. Nothing is coming up positive but the pain is still spreading.

The cortisone injection did wear off finally, but I've been left with the same pain in my foot and continuing pain all the way up my left side. I'm going to start taking a nerve block medicine if this next MRI doesn't show anything and jsut hope to keep the pain manageable from that point.

Doctors have told me to just learn to live with it and at this point I think pain management is the best I can hope for.
Avatar universal
I am in the same boat. The pain is in the same spot right on the bottom of the heal. Xrays are negative. I am going to request a cortisone shot just to ease some of the pain. I will go from there. I am puzzled with the negative xrays.
I have had problems with my ankle for a year finally found the problem got a cortisone injection to the ankle and it has not helped at all it's been three weeks and now I can barely walk on it started hurting in the heel then my ankle then my calf the pain is now from my heel to my knee and the doctors told it was normal but it's not right that the pain is going up my leg it is hurting worse everyday the pain is suppose to go down not get worse so let me know if it helps or not for you
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