Steroid injection for heel pain: evidence of short-term effectiveness. A randomized controlled trial

Rheumatology (Oxford). 1999 Oct;38(10):974-7. doi: 10.1093/rheumatology/38.10.974.


Objectives: To compare the effectiveness of a steroid injection (25 mg/ml prednisolone acetate) with a local anaesthetic control in the treatment of heel pain and to determine any advantage for patients' comfort of using a posterior tibial nerve block to anesthetize the heel prior to infiltration.

Methods: A double-blind randomized controlled trial using a 2 x 2 design in a hospital-based rheumatology clinic. Subjects comprised 106 patients with heel pain referred by general practitioners and other rheumatologists working in Camden and Islington Health Authority.

Main outcome measures: heel pain reduction at 1, 3 and 6 months, and patient comfort at the time of injection. All outcomes were measured using a 10 cm visual analogue scale.

Results: A statistically significant reduction in pain was detected at 1 month (P=0.02) in favour of steroid injection, but thereafter no differences could be detected. Patient comfort was not significantly affected by anaesthesia of the heel (P=0.5).

Conclusions: A steroid injection can provide relief from heel pain in the short term. There appears to be no increase in patient comfort from anaesthetizing the heel prior to infiltration.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anesthetics, Local / administration & dosage
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Fasciitis / complications
  • Female
  • Foot Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Heel*
  • Humans
  • Lidocaine / administration & dosage
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nerve Block
  • Pain / drug therapy*
  • Pain / etiology
  • Pain Measurement
  • Prednisolone / administration & dosage
  • Prednisolone / analogs & derivatives*
  • Prodrugs / administration & dosage*
  • Prognosis
  • Tibial Nerve
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Anesthetics, Local
  • Prodrugs
  • prednisolone acetate
  • Lidocaine
  • Prednisolone