Home The Book Dr Articles Products Message Boards Journal Articles Search Our Surveys Surgery ESWT Dr Messages Find Good Drs video

Just found out, and have some questions...

Posted by Dawn Stosch on 3/30/99 at 00:00 (005851)

Hi all. I am a 30 year old female who was just found to have spurs on
both heels. I have been in a lot of pain for at least a year, of not longer, and kept putting it off, because I thought loosing weight would make it go away--well. Well, as you know, with the pain, excersising is not easy, so I have gotten nowhere.

I went yesterday, and the xrays showed spurs on each heel, and I had the beloved cortisone injection, and was given anti-inflam meds, and go back in a week.

I just feel that that I am too young to have these, and wonder if there are others out there who as as young and younger than me, who are also living with these. how are you managing the pain? Why have you not opted for surgery, do you have any suggestions on where to go from here? My pain is not on the bottom of my heel at all, it is in the back at the base of the achilles tendon, if that helps at all.

I want to have surgery if my doc will approve it. I can not even iagine spending the rest of my life (hopefully 50+ years) with this terrible pain! I have a 2 year old, and not being able to run with him is just terrible. I walk like an old woman, and feel like one too.

this is just very frustrating, and I just wonder how everyone else is handling this. My doc recomended Asics Gel shoes, so I am going to try to get some today. He also said barefoot as little as possible--OK, so what do you wear around the house then? Have you tried the birkenstone sandals?

I am just trying to find out as much as possible before I go in monday again. An email would be a good way to reach me, because I usually don't have the time to get to the boards with my son running around!

Thanks to you all!

Tootles


Re: Just found out, and have some questions...

Ed on 3/31/99 at 00:00 (005903)

Dawn,

First, you need to be fitted for orthodics. Although it didn't completely rid me of my pain, it was the single best treatment for my heel pain. I haven't worn a shoe/sneaker without orthodics in years.
I would also suggest stretching your calf as often as possible. I would stretch first thing in the morning, during the day, and right before I went to sleep. Not sure about the birkenstocks, but I DEFINITELY agree that you should never walk around with bare feet. Walking bare foot hurt me more than anything else. I would suggest purshasing a pair of sneakers just for your house so your not tracking in dirt from the outside with your outdoor pair. Remember not to have more than 2 cortisone shots in one year as this deteriorates the fatty cushion which makes up your heal. These shots did help me, but only for a few weeks to a couple months. Also, many people have heel spurs, but they don't ever have pain. It's not the heel spur that is giving you pain, but the inflammation of the plantar fascia. The heel spur is a result of the inflammation. Doctor's will typically remove the heel spur when they perform the partial cut of the fascia (PF surgery).
I also used a few different anti-inflammatory medications and wore a night splint every night which made a big difference when it was time to get on the feet in the morning. Good luck!
I am/was an athletic 29 year old male who just had surgery 4 weeks ago. You can see my posting on the surgery message board. I would give yourself another year before surgery. This condition is VERY frustrating and takes a long time to heal. Unfortunately, for me it did not, but I always end up on the extreme of any illness :-(
I hope that my surgery will eliminate my pain. I do know that I did everything I could in terms of treatment before electing to have surgery. Sounds like you can do quite a bit more before you go under the knife (Orthodics, night splint, stretching, no bare feet, medication, cortisone, heel cups, taping, ice, ultrasound, removable cast). Good luck and e-mail me with any other questions. Hopefully, I gave you some good information.


Re: Just found out, and have some questions...

Robin on 3/31/99 at 00:00 (005907)

Personally, I would be cautious about leaping into surgery. But it's a personal decision.

Let me also caution you about stretching. It's great for maybe 90 ot 95% of the people reading this board. There is a handful it doesn't work for. I'm in that handful. Stretching (using the typical stretches outlined for calf muscles and/or foot muscles) can effectively cripple me for 2-3 days at a time. I certainly advocate trying it -- but if you find yourself in worse pain, cut it back or cut it out.

I've had PF almost a year. I am 50 and it just about stopped my life dead last spring. Couldn't even hobble around the house. I am far from cured, but I am much better now. I take 2000 mgs glucosamine sulfate each day, and 2000-3000 mgs vitamin C. I use Birkenstocks exclusively on my feet. For exercise I use a stationery bike.

Dawn, I know you feel you don't have the time now to research PF and try various combinations of remedies with a busy family life. But if you don't take the time now to do your own homework, you will probably have to make that time in the future. Very few people on this board have experienced complete recovery following the suggestions of one doctor. For most people, this is a long and tough physical debilitation that requires lots of investigation, compromise and coping. Also a lot of trial and error to see what works best. Good luck to you.


Re: Just found out, and have some questions...

Dawn Stosch on 3/31/99 at 00:00 (005916)

Robin,
Thank you for your frankness and honesty--I appreciate it. I am trying to research as must as I can right now, but my time is very limited. My husband is gone from 7 am - 7 pm, I work from home as a freelance writer/editor, if my son naps, my soon is in speech therapy 2 times a week...as you can see, my days are busy. I am trying to take as much time as possible to research before I go in monday, but it is not easy--i guess, I could have gotten up the past 2 nights, while I lay in bed in agony, but that would have woken my husband! te he he.

Anyway, I don't think stretching will help me. I have done it the pst 2 days and I feel worse. My asics did help today, and I started Daypron tonight.

This just seems like such a terrible thing to have to live with--i guess the quick fix seems the easy way out, but as I read more and more about this, there is no easy way out.

What seems to work for you Robin? The vitamins? Are you taking any other meds for this? How about shots?

I feel so helpless with this, and really want to learn all I can.

Again, thank you so much for your honesty!

Tootles.


Re: Just found out, and have some questions...

Dawn on 3/31/99 at 00:00 (005917)

hi Ed. Thanks also to you. I am curious, where was your pain? In the bottom of the heel or in the back? mine is always in theback of the heel where the tendion meets the heel. I rememeber, at least 2 years ago, when I think this first started--I reached up to get something from my top shelf (I'm only 5'2') and heard a terrible crackling sound in both of my tendons. I wasn't sure if I could move, but I did. I truly think that is what started this.

I had bunions removed when I as 15, and during the surgery, they found my joints completely deteriorated with arthritis, so I am not surprised of this.

I know I should try other forms of treatment, but, well, I just can't imagine loosing these days with my son. I will research more and see what I find, and what my doc recomends.

The shots, don't seem to help.

I will write back here soon, I am beat, I haven't slept well the past 2 nights, and my son was in bed tonight by 8, so I am going to take advantage of this.

Thanks ED--I will email you with any questions--how are you feeling? Did you get both heels done?

GOod luck to you as well.


Re: Just found out, and have some questions...

Robin on 4/01/99 at 00:00 (005921)

Dawn -- take heart, girl. There are people who have beaten this condition, and many here who have found workable methods of attacking it.

In my short year with PF, I have come to believe that the only people who understand it are people who have it. Doctors don't fully understand it, and their training leads them to believe that a single cure should work for all. Family and friends understand it the first two or three times you can't participate because your feet hurt too much. After that, understanding diminishes. Aside from the pain, one of the hardest parts of this condtion is the emotional isolation of living with it. As helpful as this board is, none of the people I interact it face-to-face every day HAVE PF so none of them fully understands it.

Believe me--if there WERE a quick fix, dozens of people on this board would be getting on the bandwagon. Of course, people HAVE been fixed quickly. But the long-termers on this board aren't among them so you may be reading a biased perspective.

I do suggest you read Scott's main document and the archived message board. Acupuncture has worked for some; surgery has worked for some, taping for some. Most people try combinations of orthotics or specific shoe types, vitamins or supplements or both, a certain type of physical activity.

Birkenstocks have diminished my pain by about 50%. I used to walk 4 miles a day and that's gone; I have definitely made adjustments in lifestyle and for me, the loss of daily walks is huge. But Birks are great. Last Dec. I had 1 pair. I have 5 now. That's all I wear. I wear rubber shoes in the shower (I found some at KMart that have pretty good arch support). I stretch almost not at all. Glucosamine, vitamin c, as healthy a diet as I can manage. We KNOW cortisone is not a remedy. Before you leap into surgery, you might try orthotics. Or taping. You might consider changing from athletic shoes to Birks or Mephistos. (I wore athletics shoes for the first 5 months and they really didn't help.) You also might consider an orthopedic specialists rather than a podiatrist. It genuinely IS a matter of personal research, personal decision and a ton of trial-and-error. Good luck Dawn.


Re: Just found out, and have some questions...

Ed on 4/02/99 at 00:00 (005960)

Hi Dawn. My pain has been right in the middle of the heel although I have experienced some pain occasionally in the base of the heel where the achilles tendon would attach to the heel. Do you have pain especially during the first few steps in the morning or after you try to walk after being off your feet for awhile? This is the most common sign of plantar facilitis. If not, I'm thinking that you may have slightly torn your achilles tendon when you stretched years ago? Maybe arthritis has set in and that is the origin of your pain? These are a couple of suggestions that I would talk to your doctor about. I know two friends of mine who completely tore their achilles tendons while playing sports and they described that same crackling sound when the injury occured.

I am doing well. I'm on my 5th week post-surgery and I am able to walk a little more each day before I have to take a break. I only had my left heel done as my right heel hasn't hurt nearly as bad as the left. I probably won't have surgery on the right until the pain got to the point of where my left heel was at. I also would not suggest having surgery on both feet at once regardless of the surgery unless you plan on using a wheelchair. Using crutches for one injured foot was hard enough let alone trying to use the crutches as stilts with two injured feet that could not touch the ground!

Write back. I'm curious to know when exactly you experience your pain.


Re: Just found out, and have some questions...

Ed on 3/31/99 at 00:00 (005903)

Dawn,

First, you need to be fitted for orthodics. Although it didn't completely rid me of my pain, it was the single best treatment for my heel pain. I haven't worn a shoe/sneaker without orthodics in years.
I would also suggest stretching your calf as often as possible. I would stretch first thing in the morning, during the day, and right before I went to sleep. Not sure about the birkenstocks, but I DEFINITELY agree that you should never walk around with bare feet. Walking bare foot hurt me more than anything else. I would suggest purshasing a pair of sneakers just for your house so your not tracking in dirt from the outside with your outdoor pair. Remember not to have more than 2 cortisone shots in one year as this deteriorates the fatty cushion which makes up your heal. These shots did help me, but only for a few weeks to a couple months. Also, many people have heel spurs, but they don't ever have pain. It's not the heel spur that is giving you pain, but the inflammation of the plantar fascia. The heel spur is a result of the inflammation. Doctor's will typically remove the heel spur when they perform the partial cut of the fascia (PF surgery).
I also used a few different anti-inflammatory medications and wore a night splint every night which made a big difference when it was time to get on the feet in the morning. Good luck!
I am/was an athletic 29 year old male who just had surgery 4 weeks ago. You can see my posting on the surgery message board. I would give yourself another year before surgery. This condition is VERY frustrating and takes a long time to heal. Unfortunately, for me it did not, but I always end up on the extreme of any illness :-(
I hope that my surgery will eliminate my pain. I do know that I did everything I could in terms of treatment before electing to have surgery. Sounds like you can do quite a bit more before you go under the knife (Orthodics, night splint, stretching, no bare feet, medication, cortisone, heel cups, taping, ice, ultrasound, removable cast). Good luck and e-mail me with any other questions. Hopefully, I gave you some good information.


Re: Just found out, and have some questions...

Robin on 3/31/99 at 00:00 (005907)

Personally, I would be cautious about leaping into surgery. But it's a personal decision.

Let me also caution you about stretching. It's great for maybe 90 ot 95% of the people reading this board. There is a handful it doesn't work for. I'm in that handful. Stretching (using the typical stretches outlined for calf muscles and/or foot muscles) can effectively cripple me for 2-3 days at a time. I certainly advocate trying it -- but if you find yourself in worse pain, cut it back or cut it out.

I've had PF almost a year. I am 50 and it just about stopped my life dead last spring. Couldn't even hobble around the house. I am far from cured, but I am much better now. I take 2000 mgs glucosamine sulfate each day, and 2000-3000 mgs vitamin C. I use Birkenstocks exclusively on my feet. For exercise I use a stationery bike.

Dawn, I know you feel you don't have the time now to research PF and try various combinations of remedies with a busy family life. But if you don't take the time now to do your own homework, you will probably have to make that time in the future. Very few people on this board have experienced complete recovery following the suggestions of one doctor. For most people, this is a long and tough physical debilitation that requires lots of investigation, compromise and coping. Also a lot of trial and error to see what works best. Good luck to you.


Re: Just found out, and have some questions...

Dawn Stosch on 3/31/99 at 00:00 (005916)

Robin,
Thank you for your frankness and honesty--I appreciate it. I am trying to research as must as I can right now, but my time is very limited. My husband is gone from 7 am - 7 pm, I work from home as a freelance writer/editor, if my son naps, my soon is in speech therapy 2 times a week...as you can see, my days are busy. I am trying to take as much time as possible to research before I go in monday, but it is not easy--i guess, I could have gotten up the past 2 nights, while I lay in bed in agony, but that would have woken my husband! te he he.

Anyway, I don't think stretching will help me. I have done it the pst 2 days and I feel worse. My asics did help today, and I started Daypron tonight.

This just seems like such a terrible thing to have to live with--i guess the quick fix seems the easy way out, but as I read more and more about this, there is no easy way out.

What seems to work for you Robin? The vitamins? Are you taking any other meds for this? How about shots?

I feel so helpless with this, and really want to learn all I can.

Again, thank you so much for your honesty!

Tootles.


Re: Just found out, and have some questions...

Dawn on 3/31/99 at 00:00 (005917)

hi Ed. Thanks also to you. I am curious, where was your pain? In the bottom of the heel or in the back? mine is always in theback of the heel where the tendion meets the heel. I rememeber, at least 2 years ago, when I think this first started--I reached up to get something from my top shelf (I'm only 5'2') and heard a terrible crackling sound in both of my tendons. I wasn't sure if I could move, but I did. I truly think that is what started this.

I had bunions removed when I as 15, and during the surgery, they found my joints completely deteriorated with arthritis, so I am not surprised of this.

I know I should try other forms of treatment, but, well, I just can't imagine loosing these days with my son. I will research more and see what I find, and what my doc recomends.

The shots, don't seem to help.

I will write back here soon, I am beat, I haven't slept well the past 2 nights, and my son was in bed tonight by 8, so I am going to take advantage of this.

Thanks ED--I will email you with any questions--how are you feeling? Did you get both heels done?

GOod luck to you as well.


Re: Just found out, and have some questions...

Robin on 4/01/99 at 00:00 (005921)

Dawn -- take heart, girl. There are people who have beaten this condition, and many here who have found workable methods of attacking it.

In my short year with PF, I have come to believe that the only people who understand it are people who have it. Doctors don't fully understand it, and their training leads them to believe that a single cure should work for all. Family and friends understand it the first two or three times you can't participate because your feet hurt too much. After that, understanding diminishes. Aside from the pain, one of the hardest parts of this condtion is the emotional isolation of living with it. As helpful as this board is, none of the people I interact it face-to-face every day HAVE PF so none of them fully understands it.

Believe me--if there WERE a quick fix, dozens of people on this board would be getting on the bandwagon. Of course, people HAVE been fixed quickly. But the long-termers on this board aren't among them so you may be reading a biased perspective.

I do suggest you read Scott's main document and the archived message board. Acupuncture has worked for some; surgery has worked for some, taping for some. Most people try combinations of orthotics or specific shoe types, vitamins or supplements or both, a certain type of physical activity.

Birkenstocks have diminished my pain by about 50%. I used to walk 4 miles a day and that's gone; I have definitely made adjustments in lifestyle and for me, the loss of daily walks is huge. But Birks are great. Last Dec. I had 1 pair. I have 5 now. That's all I wear. I wear rubber shoes in the shower (I found some at KMart that have pretty good arch support). I stretch almost not at all. Glucosamine, vitamin c, as healthy a diet as I can manage. We KNOW cortisone is not a remedy. Before you leap into surgery, you might try orthotics. Or taping. You might consider changing from athletic shoes to Birks or Mephistos. (I wore athletics shoes for the first 5 months and they really didn't help.) You also might consider an orthopedic specialists rather than a podiatrist. It genuinely IS a matter of personal research, personal decision and a ton of trial-and-error. Good luck Dawn.


Re: Just found out, and have some questions...

Ed on 4/02/99 at 00:00 (005960)

Hi Dawn. My pain has been right in the middle of the heel although I have experienced some pain occasionally in the base of the heel where the achilles tendon would attach to the heel. Do you have pain especially during the first few steps in the morning or after you try to walk after being off your feet for awhile? This is the most common sign of plantar facilitis. If not, I'm thinking that you may have slightly torn your achilles tendon when you stretched years ago? Maybe arthritis has set in and that is the origin of your pain? These are a couple of suggestions that I would talk to your doctor about. I know two friends of mine who completely tore their achilles tendons while playing sports and they described that same crackling sound when the injury occured.

I am doing well. I'm on my 5th week post-surgery and I am able to walk a little more each day before I have to take a break. I only had my left heel done as my right heel hasn't hurt nearly as bad as the left. I probably won't have surgery on the right until the pain got to the point of where my left heel was at. I also would not suggest having surgery on both feet at once regardless of the surgery unless you plan on using a wheelchair. Using crutches for one injured foot was hard enough let alone trying to use the crutches as stilts with two injured feet that could not touch the ground!

Write back. I'm curious to know when exactly you experience your pain.