Corticosteroid Injections for Unicameral Bone Cyst in Heel

by / Monday, 24 June 2019 / Published in Blog

Unicameral bone cysts sound quite scary but can be easily managed with the right treatments. They are very common in children and teenagers because their bones are still growing. While they are treatable, sometimes they grow in size and become more of a problem because they can weaken the bone. Corticosteroid injections, bone marrow injections, and surgeries are commonly used to treat these bone cysts with success. The treatment will depend on the severity of the bone cyst.


What are Corticosteroid Injections?


Corticosteroids are a version of the hormone cortisol, which is naturally produced in our bodies by the adrenal glands. Cortisol affects many parts of the body, including the immune system and our moods. It helps to lower levels of prostaglandins and reduces the interaction between certain white blood cells involved in our immune responses. Corticosteroids use this method to control our inflammatory responses. Corticosteroid injections may help relieve pain by reducing inflammation in injured areas and lowering swelling. They’re most commonly injected into joints like the ankles, wrists, elbows, hips, and knees. Even the small joints in your hands and feet might benefit from cortisone shots if you have carpal tunnel syndrome. The injections are generally made up of a corticosteroid medication and a local anesthetic to numb the area so it is not painful. Often, you can receive a corticosteroid shot at your doctor’s office but check with them before making an appointment. Because of the potential side effects of steroids, the number of shots you can receive in one year generally is limited. They can cause hormonal issues, weight gain, and mood swings.

The injections are generally made up of a corticosteroid medication and a local anesthetic to numb the area so it is not painful

What is a Unicameral Bone Cyst?


A unicameral bone cyst, otherwise known as a simple bone cyst, is a fluid-filled cavity in the bone. It usually occurs in the long bones of growing children, especially in the upper part of the humerus, or the upper part of the femur. However, other bones can still be affected. These cysts usually affect children between the ages of 5 to 15, but can also affect older children and adults. In older children and adults, they tend to occur in flat bones, or in the large heel bone. Unicameral bone cysts are considered benign and not cancerous. They generally do not spread beyond the bone it is affecting. Some bone cysts will heal spontaneously, while others can continue to enlarge. More invasive cysts can grow to fill most of the bone and cause fractures. A more invasive cyst could also destroy the bone’s growth plate, leading to shortening of the bone.


How Can Corticosteroid Injections Treat My Unicameral Bone Cyst of the Heel?


Studies have found that corticosteroids are successful in treating unicameral bone cysts, depending on their size and invasiveness. They are able to shrink bone cysts upon injection and stop their growth. Bone grafts and surgery have been known to be the more successful treatment, but are also invasive and require sedation.