In the era of non-stop recommendations to swallow pills, take injections, and drink potions; I wanted to shed a little light on one of the most common practices to “treat” a very common baseball injury:
Treating tendinitis with cortisone shots.
Below is a link for an article from The New York Times about the use of cortisone shots, and how at the end of the day, fall way short of “fixing” the problem.
The fact of the matter is cortisone shots provide only temporary relief – if any at all. They do nothing in terms of curing the problem, and over time will soften bones, and weaken ligaments and tendons.
I know of more than a few ball players – both young(er) and old – that were given cortisone shots to “take care” of their tendons issues. I have yet to meet one that didn’t continue to suffer long after the shot “wore off.”
In fact, of those ball players, I know of a small handful that wound up suffering far worse injuries due to the fact that the treated tendon basically fell apart after repeated cortisone injections.
As baseball players, and fans of the game, we hear of ball players getting these shots in order to get back onto the field. It’s talked about as if it just a run-of-the-mill, ho-hum solution to the problem. I recently caught an interview with a well-known pitching coach/guru who actually joked about the number of cortisone shots his pitching staff accumulated under his watch. (Not-so-coincidentally, more than a few of his pitchers succumbed to severe tendon issues later in their careers.)
The bottom line: shots of any kind are not the solution. They are a band aid at best.
If you have tendon issues, take the time to figure out what caused the pain to begin with. Discovering a flaw in your technique might be the answer to prayers.
Secondly, do not fall victim to the idea that you need to rest the aggravated area. Instead, begin a low intensity rehabilitation process, and gradually up the intensity to the point of just below discomfort. Over time, the discomfort will fade away, and you will be able to get after it on the field without cause for concern. This might take a little longer than the supposed instant gratification of a shot, but you will be able to play longer down the line. (Note: if the pain fails to decrease as your rehab progresses, the injury is more serious than an “itis,” and needs to be looked at from a different angle.)
Here’s the link: