On Monday the Phillies learned that first baseman Ryan Howard will miss the next 6-8 weeks with a torn meniscus. While numerous concerns arise as a result of this injury—the Phillies owe the increasingly injury-prone slugger $75 million through 2016, after all—one overlooked question centers on the cortisone shots Howard has received in the past.
Just last week, Howard received a shot in the injured left knee and was placed on the DL six days later. Some fan may remember the “Big Piece” receiving a similar shot in his ankle a couple seasons ago just weeks before going down with the Achilles injury we all remember in the divisional series against the St. Louis Cardinals. But those occurrences are unrelated—right?
“Cortisone won’t mask pain,” says Arthur Bartolozzi, MD, Director of Sports Medicine at Aria 3B Orthopaedics. “It’s used to decrease fluid and inflammation near a joint.”
In other words, cortisone shots won’t help torn cartilage, which is what Howard has. As far as the Achilles injury two years ago, the cortisone shot was in the inflamed bursa sac near his left ankle—a very small area. At the time, there was some discussion and debate over whether the injection could contribute to an eventual rupture of the Achilles tendon. This injury seems more cut and dry.