Advice for Dancers

When Are Cortisone Injections Risky?

Liza Voll

My doctor wants me to get a sonogram-guided injection of cortisone to reduce the inflammation surrounding my os trigonum, a pea-sized extra bone in the back of my ankle. I'm relieved that surgery may not be necessary, but I'm afraid of the steroid. My friend ruptured his tendon after getting an injection. Am I doing something risky?

—Alison, Cincinnati, OH


Injecting an inflamed tendon is a definite no-no, because it weakens the cord of fibrous collagen attaching muscle to bone. You, on the other hand, are getting an injection into inflamed tissue, which cannot rupture, and the sonogram will help the doctor see exactly where to insert the cortisone. Os trigonums, especially small ones, rarely need surgery, although that's not even a big deal since an endoscope the size of a drinking straw removes the bone. To get the full benefit of the injection, dance-medicine orthopedic foot specialists advise that you stop dancing for two weeks afterwards, then slowly resume classes off-pointe and do physical therapy if there's residual weakness or stiffness.

Send your questions to Dr. Linda Hamilton at advicefordancers@dancemedia.com.

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