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Ideas anyone, I'm out of luck and still in pain

Posted by Dayna Brennan on 12/22/98 at 00:00 (002792)

I first was diagnosed almost two years ago, right foot only, went through taping and one cortizone injection so painful it took two people to hold me down and I was on crutches for days until the pain (much worse than before) went away, only to reinjure the foot a week later. I got custom orthotics which seemed to help, but it sure was nasty wearing white clunky orthopedic shoes with a ball gown at holiday parties.

Now, over a year later, I somehow injured the left foot in my sleep (fine the night before, unable to take any weight the next morning, and remember, this foot had never hurt before). I changed insurance in between and my new insurer required a referral before letting me see my podiatrist. Request denied. The doctor said that there is no proven effective treatment for this, and that I'd just have to learn to live with chronic pain. I'm only 37 for G-d's sake! I'm scared to death that the strain of hopping on one leg will cause the other foot to reinjure, plus it's not too attractive nor safe here in the icy north. I'm scared. Yes, I can go to my podiatrist and pay myself, but I'm not sure what to do, I have extremely flat feet, always have, so have been told surgery to remove the heelspur which is growing to take the strain off the plantars fascia will only make things worse. Stretching seemed to help but now even wiggling the big toe is AGONY. I can't stay home and off my feet, I work for a living. Any advice? Thanks.


Re: Ideas anyone, I'm out of luck and still in pain

alex on 12/22/98 at 00:00 (002793)

keep reading this site - you'll get lots of ideas and lots of support. Everyone seems to be different, but we all have one very painful thing in common..
For my part (and several others) I have found that acupuncture is the best bet. I've been going for four weeks - twice a week - with a marked improvement. Hoping for complete cure within a few more weeks.
Certainly you must keep up the icing, stretching and wear the right shoes. I wear Mephisto shoes (extremely expensive, but worth it in my opinion) for regular wear, and Birkenstock sandals around the house. never go barefoot..

Best of luck...


Re: Ideas anyone, I'm out of luck and still in pain

debbie on 12/22/98 at 00:00 (002794)

I had acupuncture and consider myself cured
! Even go to aerobics. I tried everything before this, even had surgery on one foot and it only made it worse in different ways. Find a good acupuncturist and go for it. Debbie

Re: Ideas anyone, I'm out of luck and still in pain

Robin on 12/22/98 at 00:00 (002796)

My first suggestion is that you change your primary care doctor, or complain to your health plan. Even if you go the alternative treatment route, you should probably have a podiatrist or ortho surgeon (specializing in lower extremities) examine you and make a diagnosis. Call your health plan; explain your history; ask what it take to get an approved referral and then push like crazy. (I'm in the middle of knee injury treatment myself and all I do is push push push with the HMO--but I'm getting appropriate treatment.) ) And complain about any PCP who tells you you must live with chronic pain at 37.

I will probably go the acupuncture route myself in time because it seems to have a higher-than-average success rate. Right now, I am having moderate relief with glucosamine sulfate, spenco OTC orthotics, low footbed Birk style shoes and some icing. Don't know why, but I hurt far worse with stretching, so I'm tapering it.

Please avoid surgery for the spur. I was talking to my knee orthopod about PF and he said, 'God, don't let anyone operate on you! Try every alternative you can.' So I am. Guess you are too.


Re: Ideas anyone, I'm out of luck and still in pain

Dayna on 12/23/98 at 00:00 (002801)

Thanks, I'll do that, just found this site yesterday. Yes, no not wearing shoes, no not wearing good shoes, the only time I'm not wearing shoes is when I'm changing back and forth from the ones I wear in the shower. Side note, does anyone know how to keep the skin on your feet from rotting off because you can never take your shoes off?

Re: Ideas anyone, I'm out of luck and still in pain

Dayna on 12/23/98 at 00:00 (002802)

Not able to change primary care physician, there's not that many that participate in my insurance plan that are within a 50 mile radias of my home and/or work. Health plan is notorious for not giving referrals, they want to save money and if the doctors give people treatment than the plan comes after them 'Why are you spending so much money on patients?'. I agree the doctor is a JERK! How dare he say I just have to learn to live with it. I want to take an iron spike, drive it through his heelbone, leave out just enough so that every time he steps it pokes him and then tell him 'I'm sorry, you'll just have to learn to live with chronic pain' and see how He likes it!

Surgery would be last resort and in my case wouldn't really help (this is my friendly podiatrist talking, the one who helped me before but now I'm not able to see without a referral), the problem is that the tendon is too short, the heel spur is growing perfectly horizontally in an attempt to take some of the excess tension off. Removing the heel spur just isn't an option, if anything we need to make it bigger. I am icing every night which seems to help but don't want to stretch until it stops hurting, I can feel it start to tear, sharp like a knife. I'm sorry to whine and go on, but I'm scared out of my mind that there isn't a way to fix this and angry that no one who doesn't have it seems to understand, our feet don't hurt, they HURT! I always wore low heels before, but now wear flats as was advised that heels make it worse, then I read that a one inch heel can make a big difference relieving the strain on the tendon. Don't know what to do, get custom orthotics for my heels? Enough whining, thanks for the ideas, I'll keep reading the board, at least I feel better (and worse)knowing I'm not alone.


Re: Ideas anyone, I'm out of luck and still in pain

Robin on 12/23/98 at 00:00 (002805)

Dayna, you've got a real tough health plan. I'm sorry it's not better. Most of them offer very few benefits for feet. I don't have much in my plan either, but at least I can get into see a podiatrist or two. I sure like your iron spike idea though!

Don't worry about the whining. We all whine, and probably most of us cry too. I don't think there is one of us who is not afraid of this condition -- afraid it won't get fixed, afraid we'll live out the rest of our lives like this. I used to have what I considered an ordinary life -- and I had no idea of how wonderful it was, until now. How I took for granted grocery shopping, washing the kitchen floor, going to the library. Now, everything in my life get planned around my feet, and life is SO limited. Sometimes I cry because I'm in pain; sometimes I cry because I'm so tired of being in pain; and sometimes I cry because of what my life used to be and how I'm afraid it won't ever be that way again.

Aside from two feet with PF, I now have a left knee with a ripped ligament, so I am in PT, having a brace made, walking with a cane -- and there are octogenarians in my town going faster than I am! I look and feel like a big gimp. One thing is for sure: I view chronic pain, and sufferers of chronic pain, a lot differently than I did a year or two ago. If nothing else, I hope I can be a lot more sympathetic and helpful and understanding than perhaps I was in the past. Anyway, you are among friends here. Stay with us.


Re: Ideas anyone, I'm out of luck and still in pain

suzi on 12/23/98 at 00:00 (002813)

Robin, I loved your last message, I couldn't have said it better myself. If you want to market that steel spike to jab out foot doctors with, I will be your partner in crime
! Let me know what your e-mail is!
take care,
suzi

Re: Ideas anyone, I'm out of luck and still in pain

Bobbie on 12/23/98 at 00:00 (002814)

I find that the Eastland Shoes from Penny's are comfortable to wear and Munro's from Nordstroms are comfortable. I have also been using Birkenstock Arch supports that cost about $30.00 and have been a big help. I don't know if there is a sure fix out there.

I wore my ankle brace today because my ankle, as well as my foot, has been bothering me a lot. The brace gives me more support and seems to help. I am seeing an accupuncturist on Monday to see if that will help, of course my insurance wont cover it. I have tried everything else short of surgery and this is the last resort. I do get frustrated because I feel the doctor's don't take it serious. Like you, I think they should have to deal with this pain and maybe they would be more understanding. It is pretty humilitating when your 80 year old Mother feels she has to help you walk.


Re: Ideas anyone, I'm out of luck and still in pain

Robin on 12/24/98 at 00:00 (002819)

Thanks. Steel spike is Dayna's idea -- but I like it really well, and I have a growing list of candidates to use it on. (One was a pedorthist. I met him yesterday and after about ten minutes he virtually threw me out of his shop, said, 'I don't have time to talk to customers like this. I have to make $80 an hour just to pay the rent and keep my inventory.' So of course I left..) Anyway, email me at (email removed)

Good holiday to you!


Re: Ideas anyone, I'm out of luck and still in pain

Dayna on 12/24/98 at 00:00 (002821)

I know just how you feel. Thanks everyone for your support, my email is on this reply but just in case unilady@rocketmail.com. I'll be staying on the board, the adventure continues.

Re: Ideas anyone, I'm out of luck and still in pain

Dayna on 12/24/98 at 00:00 (002823)

We all whine, and probably most of us cry too. I don't think there is one of us who is not afraid of this condition -- afraid it won't get fixed, afraid we'll live out the rest of our lives like this.

Yes, afraid, you hit the nail in the heel, scared to death that the next step will tear one or the other or both, scared of ending up in a scooter and getting the looks I used to give people who look perfectly normal but are too lazy to walk so they ride around in little scooters. I want to apologize to everyone I ever thought that about, what a self-righteous little prig I was! This is a hidden disability, no blood means no pain, well if that's all it takes to get someone to believe me I'll stab myself, it couldn't hurt any worse than it does already!

Sometimes I cry because I'm in pain; sometimes I cry because I'm so tired of being in pain; and sometimes I cry because of what my life used to be and how I'm afraid it won't ever be that way again.

I understand that, at least my husband understands, but I'm not sure how long the people at work will put up with it. Chronic pain is depressing, and doctors tell us there is no hope, who wouldn't get depressed?! So sorry you have to deal with both feet and a bum knee, I can at least hop around on the 'good' foot.

My good thoughts go out to you, thanks for the support, somehow it's easier to endure when you know that if it gets to be too much there are people who understand and will just let you spew out all your fear and anger and frustration. Read you on the board after Xmas, try to have a good holiday.


Re: Ideas anyone, I'm out of luck and still in pain

Elise on 12/24/98 at 00:00 (002831)

When I first got PF in my right foot, I went to PT and ended up with acute PF in both feet (it was only in my right foot before my visit). I was very afraid to do any stretching after that. Then I went to a physical rehabilitation doctor at the beginning of this month, and he said that stretching is essential to recovery, but that it is important to use proper technique and not overdo it. HIs advise was to do the heel cord stretch described in Scott's document three times on each leg, alternating right-left-right-left-right-left. In the first R-L series the back heel is angled slightly out, then slightly in, and then straight ahead. He also said to be sure the back knee is completely locked. I thought mine was straight, but he told me it wasn't straight enough. He then has me doing the same series, except both knees are bent. He only wants me to do this in the morning and evening. I apply heat before the exercises (hot shower) and then ice afterward.

For the first time in four months, I am driving again and able to do simple errands. I am far from healed, but I am greatly improved from 2 months ago, when I needed crutches to walk.

So, I have changed my mind about stretching. I think it is definitely helping now that I am not overdoing it and using the proper technique.



Re: Ideas anyone, I'm out of luck and still in pain

Orie on 12/28/98 at 00:00 (002884)

Dayna Brennan, Read my post 12/12/98