Our podiatrist, Dr Glen Whittaker, has completed further training to become endorsed to prescribe scheduled medicines. This means we can provide a range of additional treatments for our patients, including various injections to manage pain such as corticosteroid injection and long-acting anaesthetics.

Corticosteroid injection

At Fitzroy Foot and Ankle Clinic we can provide corticosteroid injections (also called cortisone or steroid injections) to reduce pain and inflammation associated with certain musculoskeletal and sporting conditions. These injections are often not a first-line treatment, but can be an important part of a comprehensive treatment plan. When used appropriately, corticosteroids are safe and can be very effective. 

Conditions that may respond well to corticosteroid injection include:

A corticosteroid can be administered in different ways depending on the location of the complaint. For some complaints, the corticosteroid can be injected directly into the area (such as bursitis or a ganglion). However, some regions of the foot and injection can be uncomfortable, so a local anaesthetic injection is administered behind the ankle. This numbs the foot and makes the corticosteroid injection more comfortable. This is a common approach for plantar fasciitis injection.

What to expect

The injection site will be cleaned with an anti-septic. A small needle will be used to direct the corticosteroid into the tissue. Some discomfort may be experienced, however it will be brief. You may have numbness in the region of the injection for several hours, so it is important that you can rest for at least 24 hours afterward.

Safety considerations

Although this is a very common treatment, occasionally people can experience adverse effects. The most common adverse effects are outlined below:

  •  Pain and discomfort

    • as with any injection, you may experience some pain and discomfort during the actual injection. In addition, two to three days following the procedure you may experience some localised swelling, and pain at the injection site.

  • Infection

    • as with any injection, there is a very low risk of an infection at the injection site. This risk will be minimised by ensuring all equipment is sterile and your foot and ankle are disinfected prior to the injection.

  • Nerve injury

    • when administering the injection to your foot, the needle may be placed close to a nerve. Occasionally, you may experience some nerve sensations if the needle touches the nerve. This may feel like ‘pins and needles’ or a localised ‘electric shock’. Sometimes people will experience these symptoms for a few days following the injection.

  • Local anaesthetic allergy

    • there is a risk of allergy to the local anaesthetic mixed with the corticosteroid. This risk is very small and you will be questioned prior to the injection of any known allergies to local anaesthetics.

  • Thinning of fat

    • in less than 1% of corticosteroid injections the fat where the corticosteroid is administered may reduce in thickness. This fat usually returns between 6 and 30 months after the injection.

  • Local skin discolouration

    • very rarely people will experience a loss of pigmentation at the area near a steroid injection. These changes have been reported to last between two to eleven months. 


Long-acting anaesthetic

Long acting local-anaesthetics can reduce pain associated with some conditions or procedures, and can be used to help diagnose certain conditions. Some conditions such as sinus tarsi syndrome can be quite painful, but are difficult to diagnose clinically and with imaging. An anaesthetic injection in the painful location can confirm a diagnosis.

In addition, the injection of fluid within the tissue can be beneficial for some conditions where there may be fibrosis or scarring that has developed. 

Glen Whittaker is endorsed to prescribe medicines including corticosteroids for musculoskeletal conditions.

Fitzroy Foot and Ankle Clinic - Podiatrists servicing Carlton, Clifton Hill, Collingwood and Northcote

© 2019 by Fitzroy Foot and Ankle Clinic. ABN 80 481 338 780


Fitzroy Foot and Ankle Clinic

460 Brunswick St, Fitzroy North, 3068

Ph: (03) 9485 8000

Fax: (03) 9485 8011