I've been posting all over the board during the last few weeks so you have probably seen my stuff. I can tell you that I had a wicked nasty case of PF, to the point where every move I made even at home, I calculated based on my feet. For example, if I went to the kitchen for a soda, I made sure that I brought out to the kitchen anything that might need to be brought out, simply to avoid 2 trips. It was horrible. It was 24-hour pain, all the time, every day. Often I was in tears.
I am far from cured, but I can today walk through stores, run all kinds of daily errands and maintenance chores, shop, etc. without much discomfort at all. On a scale of 1 to 10, I have gone from a 9 down to about a 2 or 3. It's wonderful; I'm thrilled to pieces with the progress.
I can seriously vouch for bromelain. I started taking it (you take it between meals, not with meals) at the end of July and noticed the difference within 7-10 days. Also, I eat a low-carb diet (except I eat fruit unlike many people here) -- no pasta, no rice, no bread, no flour, no wheat -- and no caffeine either. It makes a notable difference. Some daily aerobic exercise is also very helpful. It doesn't have to be a ton -- 20-30 minutes seems to work fine. And of course, the most important thing is to find shoes that deliver some comfort and all the support you need. If not Birks, maybe Mephistos or Naots or clogs. I really believe it is important to get your feet as comfortable as you can while you work on other approaches.
Vicki, if you have been to several doctors and no one has alleviated your pain, please please be ACTIVE in your treatment, not passive. Please DIRECT your treatment yourself. The best doc I found was an orthopedic surgeon specializing in lower extremities; the first words out of his mouth were, 'Don't let anybody cut on your feet.'
Most doctors who CAN perform surgery WANT to perform surgery. Doctors are treatment-oriented and surgery is the grand-daddy of treatments. Please don't go into surgery lightly, and certainly not because some doc wants to do it. He's not the one suffering. There are so many other things you can try that don't rot your stomach, ruin the fat pads in your feet or cause other side effects. Please consider either a moderate or radical change of diet, bromelain (or pancreatin) for anti-inflam, aerobic activity, massage, PT, ultrasound,etc.
Wishing you the best. I know how painful PFis; it's enough to completely depress you and run your whole life. But keep trying. It's really worth it to find the right combo that works for you.