For many years, people who have had ailments with nerves, joints, tendons and more have used a quick fix remedy for their pain called a cortisone shot. The beauty of the shot is that it works relatively quickly and you are generally able to go right back into competition. Let’s take an objective look at the drug.
Cortisone is a steroid hormone. It is naturally produced in the body in response to stress. This hormone elevates ones blood pressure and prepares the body for response to whatever is coming. The synthetic drug is used to give short term pain relief and reduce swelling from inflammation of joints and tendons. People with EBV mononucleosis, autoimmune diseases or someone who has had an organ transplant are common recipients of cortisone.
There are a number of side effects listed from oral use (i.e. – treatment of mono) but there are other internal side effects from the injection type in muscles, tendons, and joints. Some of these include skin pigment changes (lightening of skin), loss of fatty tissue (leading to dimpling of skin… look out plantar fasciitis!), infection, and tendon rupture.
In my own personal case, I was threatened with permanent nerve damage. When I ran track in college, I had one of the most painful injuries I’ve ever incurred as an athlete: Morton’s Neurosis. That is, when the nerve between the third and fourth tarsal head on your foot becomes so severely inflamed, it becomes hell to walk, much less run. The orthopedist gave me two options for treating my injury: to get custom made orthotics put in my shoes until it healed by itself, or to get a cortisone shot. Now me hating needles was already halfway away from throwing the cortisone shot option down the toilet. What got it the rest of the way down the crapper was when the doctor told me that if God forbid I ever re-injured the area, the nerve would not heal… EVER. Needless to say, I got the orthotics put in my shoes the same afternoon.
My question now is, what’s going on with Jammal Brown? Whatever’s been going on with his hip, he is supposed to get a second cortisone shot today to try to get better and avoid surgery. But how long ago did he have the first shot? There ARE time windows on when you can get a cortisone booster before you will cause irreversible damage to your body. Or has he already experienced that level of damage to his hip? Other than an MRI, there’s no way of knowing if his condition has indeed gotten worse from the first shot.
For me, besides getting the orthotics to take the extra pressure off of that inflamed nerve, the biggest factor in getting better would probably have been rest. It was something about taking my weight off of that injured area that helped. Especially when I was used to pounding hard on the balls of my feet 6 days a week for miles at a time, then hitting the weight room afterwards three times a week as well. And don’t even ask how it felt when I would do Olympic lifts. The shock of landing on the lift board was excruciating. I can’t even imagine what would have happened if I had gotten that shot and reinjured it doing something like power cleans/snatches or running in a cross-country meet.
If I were him, I’d quit the shots while I could still walk.
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