What’s it Like to Have a Steroid Injection?

Get the pom poms out – it’s time to celebrate. We’ve finally discovered what’s wrong with my leg. I have something called an enthesitis – which in simple terms means I’ve inflamed a tendon in my leg, but at the exact point where it meets the bone. The good news is, we know what I’ve done – the bad news is, this is not an easy injury to fix!

The doctor has sat me down and bluntly told me that if I don’t go to the gym to completely rebuild my butt muscles – and lose some weight, I won’t run again – and that would suck.

It’s been nearly five months now since I have run – and most of that has been spent on enforced rest which meant no exercise at all except walking. And it’s not been good.

That thing they say where you can’t outrun a bad diet – you can.

The problem is when you stop running, it all catches up with you. I’m the heaviest I’ve ever been, I’ve got proper cellulite for the first time in my life (which proves my theory that exercise busts cellulite) and I feel horribly unhealthy. Not to mention, I can’t try any new fitness stuff which kind of limits what I can say around here!

The annoying thing is that now we know what I’ve done, absolute rest wasn’t the best plan – I need to build stronger muscles in my butt to stop my knee taking over and resting so long has only atrophied them further – but still, onwards and upwards. My treatment plan has now begun and it started with the point of this post… a steroid injection.

What do Steroid injections Do?

A steroid injection delivers a shot of a drug called a corticosteroid into the damaged area – you might also hear it called a cortisone injection.

You might have heard about cortisone as the chemical released during stress but it’s also a powerful anti-inflammatory so docs use it when an injury doesn’t want to heal itself – like mine.

As the steroids reduce inflammation, they also decrease the pain that inflammation is causing, which will be nice. I’m bored with having an achy leg all the time.

The effects should last for a couple of months – which is hopefully long enough for to me to build up strength without the pain interfering.

If it doesn’t, we’ll need to look at other options as you shouldn’t have too many steroid jabs in one go as they can start to damage the bone in that area – I currently have excellent bone density and don’t really want to mess that up.

What’s it like to have a Steroid Injection?

Now, despite the fact that I regularly used to have my face shot with Botox, needles are not my favourite things and so I didn’t google much about this in advance, but in my head I wasn’t expecting it to be pleasant – but I have good news for anyone due to have a steroid injection in the near future; it’s really, really easy!

The most important piece of information the docs need to know is where to put the needle – which, they’d discovered when I had an MRI a few weeks back.

They then use ultrasound to view the inside of your leg find the relevant point and in they go. I admit I didn’t look, but the doctor told me I’d feel a sting as the anaesthetic needle went in – I did, but it certainly wasn’t bad. I think I could also feel the needle moving through the tendon, but that might be my overactive imagination.

The good news is, both the anaesthetic and the steroid are in the same jab and so both went in with one puncture – that was a nice surprise as the way he’d worded things I was expecting two jabs.

I was still lying there as he said bye and exited the room leaving the technician to stick on my Spongebob plaster and give me a sweetie for being a brave girl. (NB: seems once you get to adulthood you only get a boring brown plaster and they deny you the sweets)

So, the take-home message for anyone reading this who has a steroid injection upcoming – it’s a breeze. It doesn’t hurt, it’s not unpleasant and it’s done in a matter of seconds – but don’t expect a Spongebob plaster or any treats afterwards.

Now we wait to see what happens – it’ll take a while for the steroid to work and bring down the inflammation, but I managed to walk downstairs like a normal person today – normally, I get a small painful warning shot as I take the first step down and so don’t trust myself to put the weight on my leg and so step down like toddler with both feet on each step. Fingers crossed.

I have to leave it a few days before I can hit the gym – one potential risk of cortisone injections is temporary damage to the tendon which can be worsened with exercise, but I plan to get back to the gym next week. I also have to eat a LOT of salad to shift this weight!

Wish me luck.

Who is The Wellness Nerd?

My name is Helen Foster and I’m a health journalist and wellness author. Publications I’ve written for include Women’s Health, Reader’s Digest, Body and Soul, Good Health at the Daily Mail and more. I have also written 16 books on health and nutrition.

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