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I got my 2nd opinion

Posted by Valerie S on 4/06/01 at 10:59 (043815)

Hi.
I went to see the ortho yesterday for 2nd opinion. I wasn't surprised when she didn't have anything new to say. Because I provided her with a complete history of my treatment, she didn't ask me a lot of repeat questions. She had me stand, poked at my feet, looked at my orthotics, looked at my Birk's...told me the Birks looked better because of the deep heel cup & the way that they keep the fat pad at the bottom of the foot. She referred me to an orthotist that can alter my Birk footbed because I need a higher arch and support along inside of foot.

Basicly, she told me to get better support under my feet and to lose weight. She told me to give it at least a year before I even consider surgery. About what I expected, I guess. I really wish I could go to a doctor and they could make me feel better! Such is life... She said the PT and the night splint were good.

I had initially made this appointment because I was worried that I was going to have some trouble with my pod. By the time I went to the appointment, I had made some peace with my current situation. I realize that I am doing all that I can right now, and have tried just about everything. Just getting a fresh set of eyes helped in its own way.

My feet hurt. This is so frustrating. Oh well, this whole episode is a learning experience... won't kill me, so it will make me stronger, right? Provided that I can eventually walk again...

Thanks for listening.
Val

Re: I got my 2nd opinion

Beverly on 4/06/01 at 16:11 (043855)

Val,

I'll be very curious what you learn from the orthodist altering your Birk footbed. I'm not aware of being able to build up a Birk footbed. I have seen ads for orthodists who can customize a Birk footbed. That means tearing off the old one and rebuilding it from scratch. I've seen ads for this in 'Biomechanics' magazine. It looks like a kit that Birk sells pods and orthodists. It works on the Arizona, Florida, and Boston, I think the Milano. At least that is what's in the ad's picture.
Best luck,
Beverly

Re: I got my 2nd opinion

Julie on 4/06/01 at 17:02 (043858)

Hi Val

I'm glad you've had your second opinion, and in a way I'm glad too that it concurred with the first. That should give you more trust in your pod, with whom you have the ongoing relationship, and it must reaffirm your feeling that you're handling this thing as well as you possibly can. It sounds as though you've shifted into a different gear.

You will walk again. Just be patient, use the time to be active in your treatment, and have faith that you will get better. If it's any help, or gives you hope, my PF is about 95% better now, after five months of stretching, icing, taping, ultrasound and intrasound, and, above all, rest. Which for me - as it was never painful enough to keep me altogether immobile - meant walking only when it was necessary: counting my steps, as it were, thinking about whether I could or should make it to the mailbox, or the paper shop. Now I'm pain free most of the time, and only get mild soreness when I really overdo things. At the beginning, I thought, as you have, 'This will never get better'. It is so insidious. But it has got better. And yours will too.

I can't remember whether we discussed taping for you. I tried to search on your name to see if I could pick up an old post where it might have been mentioned, but 'Val' brought up hundreds of posts with every word containing those three letters in blue (like Evaluate, Invalid, etc). So I gave up, and will just ask you: have you tried taping? If not, I would suggest you consider it. Scott calls it the 'best method of resting the fascia' which means it is getting a chance to heal, and I think it is. If you have tried it and it didn't seem to help, a different technique might. It has been very helpful to me - I taped every day for about four months, and still do when I know I'm going to be on my feet a lot. If Birkenstocks help you, taping ought to also.

Let me know.

All the best, Julie

Re: I got my 2nd opinionv- PS

Julie on 4/06/01 at 17:13 (043859)

I forgot two things I meant to mention. First: the ortho was firm in her view that you should wait at least a year before considering surgery, and that should be useful ammunition in any further discussions with your employer and co-workers.

Also: you'll find, I think, that your recovery will go in stages. For a long time you'll think nothing much is happening, and that there has been little improvement, and then something will happen that makes you realize that you are in fact a bit better, and that will give you heart. One example of that, for me, was our trip to Berlin last November - I went with great trepidation and anxiety, because I knew we'd be doing a fair amount of walking through galleries and museums, not to mention the city itself. I was very worried and timorous about that prospect. But I found I could manage it. My heel always hurt at night when we got back to the hotel, but it was always better the following morning. I came back from that trip confident that I was getting better, and would continue to get better. It really was a turning of a corner, and gave the whole process a momentum it had lacked before. Two months after that I went to India, and found I could cope with everything there: another corner turned. Those are just examples. Your recovery will follow a different pattern, obviously, but I think you'll find that occasionally something will happen that will shift things for you.

Re: I got my 2nd opinion- PS

Valerie S on 4/06/01 at 18:37 (043870)

Thank you, Julie. You always have the words of wisdom that reach me.

I haven't tried taping... can you do it with Birkenstocks? I know it sounds silly probably, but just wondered if the tape fits with the shoes.

I will try it and see, I guess.

Thanks for sharing your success stories, and reminding me about the 'baby steps.' I get so frustrated, feeling crippled all the time. I feel like I might be getting better, so slowly that I don't even know it's happening. I spend a lot less time crying and whining (my husband is relieved, I'm sure hee hee hee). I don't know if this reduction in pain is solely from being off work, since that's where I experienced the most pain. I have 2 weeks left on my leave now, and I am starting to worry already about going back. I know that bridge is around the corner a ways, but I am concerned about keeping my boss informed.

I try to keep my feet, calves, ankles flexible as much as possible... should I feel it pulling along my arch when I stretch, or is that what I should be avoiding? Just wondering.

Tonight I get to try out my night splint... wheeee. So sexy, my husband can't wait! hee hee hee... whatever works or might work, I will try it all!

Thanks again, your insight helps me more than you might know. Have a great weekend.

Val.
P.S: I use the name 'Valerie S' for every post, so if you want to get any dirt on me, just look up my full name... :)

Re: I got my 2nd opinion

Valerie S on 4/06/01 at 18:41 (043871)

Beverly:

I haven't called the orthotist yet about the alterations. The shoes that I brought with me to the appt were Medford (Footprints line), with the removable footbed. She says that the orthotist can first add cushions in the places that she says (arch, inside heel, 1st metatarsal) as a trial. Then if that helps, he can take an impression and add onto the existing shoe. She said it cost around $150, but I'm not sure how much the surgeon knows about what the shoe guy does.... we will see. I am curious, too. If I wasn't so broke, being off work and all, I would run over there. But my insurance has already paid what it will on the orthotic solution. They will only buy one pair. Of course, I haven't asked them about altering shoes... maybe there is a separate code for that...

I will let you know what I find out.

Val.

Re: I got my 2nd opinion- PS

Steve P on 4/06/01 at 19:26 (043879)

Hi Valerie. Listen, I hope you don't think that I'm jumping on you here because I don't mean to.......but something is bothering me about your first post in this thread. You said that you knew you were doing all that you can.

Agreed.......but will that still be true if you go back to work? It seems to me, based on all you've written, that you're setting yourself up for a setback. Do you really think you have ANY chance of being able to stand 40 hr/wk & get away with it? How can this even be a consideration?

I don't mean to upset you, but this is how I feel. My own experience tells me I must tell you this.

Best.............Steve

Re: Taping and Work

Julie on 4/07/01 at 03:26 (043895)

Val, actually the heading should be Work and Taping, because first I'm going to second what Steve has said to you. Two weeks is nothing. You will not be better enough in two weeks to go back to that job. Please put all thought of it out of your mind. You have to be patient. Healing is going to take time, and if you don't give it whatever time it needs, you will be in worse trouble further down the line. I guess you are still in the 'I've got to get better in two weeks mode', but it's really time to change that. You can't put a time limit on the healing process.

A job is only a job. You are dealing with a disease that has the potential to disable you. So see if you canget your priorities right.

What does your husband think, and say?

Now: taping. I almost hesitate to encourage you, in case you get relief from it and think it's ok to go back to work! But here goes. Taping may give you some relief from pain, but that isn't all it does. It provides the support for the arches that they have lost due to the tearing of the fascia (the plantar fascia's function, unlike other fascia in the body, is to support the arches, not only to encapsulate the muscles). In doing this, it contributes to the resting that the fascia needs in order to heal. IT IS NOT A PERMANENT SOLUTION, only an aid.

I've used, very helpfully, the simplest of the techniques that Scott describes in the heel pain book part 2. It consists of two strips of tape that connect the ball of the foot and the heel. I found this about as supportive as the wrapping method my podiatrist used, which took about half of an expensive roll of tape and - to make it worthwhile - had to be kept on for several days, causing endless post-shower hassle. Then when it eventually came off my foot had turned white and wrinkly - ugh. The simple technique is economical on tape, and easy to remove, so that you can take it off at night and reapply new tape in the morning. If the two-strip method doesn't give you enough support, there are several others described in the book.

You need a good quality tape that sticks well and doesn't stretch I use Leuko tape, made by Beiersdorf (3 1/2cm) It needs to feel firm and supportive, but not too tight, when applied. You need to experiment with the tension - if it's too tight, you'll know immediately because it will pull and probably hurt. For me, the right tension is achieved by dorsiflexing my foot (bending it back at the ankle) while I apply the tape. Then when I stand up it feels good: firm and supportive, neither too loose nor too tight. If I hold my foot in neutral the tape is much too tight when I stand (I did this only once, and took the tape off instantly).

The sticky residue comes off with cotton and lighter fluid - this is the only tiresome part of the procedure. But someone (I think it was Bill E) said he used a tape that didn't leave a residue).

So do try it. You may find it gives you enough relief to make you more comfortable getting around the house and doing short outside errands. But I repeat IT IS NOT A PERMANENT SOLUTION so don't use it as an excuse to go back to work.

Val, if anything I've said has been able to help you at all, I am really glad. That's what we're all here for.

I wish you all the best,

Julie

Re: Taping and Work - PS

Julie on 4/07/01 at 03:33 (043896)

Another PS. I seem to make a habit of this.

Could you let us know exactly what stretching you've been doing? It's hard to answer your question and advise without knowing this.

Re: Taping and Work and Stretching

Valerie s on 4/07/01 at 13:07 (043923)

Hi.

I tried taping my foot with some cheap sterile tape that we already have here. It seemed to help with that pulling feeling that I was having in my arch. I now need to find better tape to use.
Thanks for telling me how to get that ugh off the bottom of my foot. I have to stick my feet in my PT's face 3 times a week, and I have a hard enough time trying to get the callused skin off the bottom of my feet. I wonder though... the tape also sticks to my arch. Is this supposed to happen? Can I wrap my arch with ace wrap before taping, or am I maybe doing it too loosely? I don't have low arches... should the tape stick to my arches?

About work: I agree that I won't be able to go back to work in 2 weeks. I have been off for 3 now, and keep hoping for the day when I get up and sing 'pain free!' Even then, I know that I probably shouldn't go back to that job. Right now, I am living a couple of weeks at a time, because that is what my doc is giving me. I am the source of health insurance and the main source of income in this household right now, because my husband is in school. He will be graduating at the end of April in Computer Science, and I am praying that he will find his dream job right away, get great benefits, and take me away from this job altogether. I will then be able to change jobs, or even work part-time at a couple of jobs. I won't have to worry so much about finding a job that pays at least $12/hour. Until then, I am really just buying time. I don't want to quit and lose my benefits. I am using my short-term disability insurance to get by for now, but am banking on the idea that soon my husband is going to rescue me from this situation. He wants the money I was making while I was working, of course, but we are going to get by, and he is supportive of my decision to stay off my feet. He sometimes brings up my going back 'just for 2 pay periods,' because he would like to see some more of that money that I make there... but we are starting to deal with reality here. I just feel so worthless, like I'm not doing what I should be.

As fas as stretching goes, I do the wall stretch. When I am sitting, I try to dorsal flex my foot as much as possible. Like in a chair at the computer, I put my feet flat on the floor and put them back as far as I can. When I sit down, I put my foot up with it flexed back. I have been having some flexibilty improvement and issues in PT. He tells me that my ankle is blocking itself and he has been working on getting it to 'glide' better. Yesterday he seemed very impressed with my flexibility. He thinks it is working, the manipulations that he is doing. When I do the wall stretch, I feel some pressure on the front of my ankle, and my ankle seems to get sore a lot when I am walking around.

Thanks again.

Val.

Re: Taping and Work and Stretching

Nancy N on 4/07/01 at 15:07 (043930)

Val--

Before I forget, let me say that you are NOT worthless, and you ARE doing what you should be--unless being able to move under your own steam is NOT something you'd like to do for the rest of your life. You have to take care of yourself, in this and everything else in your life. If you don't take care of yourself, there certainly isn't anyone else out there who'll do it for you. I think you understand this, but your comment about worthlessness worried me a litle.

Now, about the stretching--do be sure that you're not in pain while you're doing the wall stretch (or any other weight-bearing stretch). If it bothers you, you could well just be making the situation worse. I am convinced that that's what happened to me, both with the wall stretch and the stair stretch. I felt much better after I stopped doing weight-bearing stretches and started doing the non-weight-bearing variety (i.e., stretch with a towel, or use a device like the PFT or the Acu-Flex to help with the stretching).

Just my two cents... hang in there, and don't let anyone talk you into anything you know isn't good for you!

Re: Taping and Work and Stretching

Julie on 4/07/01 at 19:01 (043936)

Hi Val

The tape is meant to stick along the entire length of your foot. And as I said, you need to experiment until you get the tension right: not so tight that it pulls and hurts, not so loose that it fails to give your arches the support they need.

I can only echo what Nancy said to you. Of course you aren't 'worthless'. What ever gave you such a silly idea? And of course you are doing what you should be doing.

I'm relieved to hear you've made up your mind that you can't go back to that job. (You sound relieved too, actually!) And I'm glad your husband is supportive. And it's good to hear that he finishes school at the end of this month. Perhaps, even if his dream job isn't immediately forthcoming, he'll be able to take a short term job to take the pressure off you and give you the time you need to heal without feeling guilty about it (guilt is awfully counter-productive to healing). Meanwhile, I'll bet you can cajole your pod to keep signing you off in two-week instalments, to buy you more time until your husband can take over the main financial support of the household. Your feet are his problem too, after all.

Do be careful with the wall stretch. It is not easy to do it correctly: as well as keeping your feet and legs in the right position, you need to keep your pelvis aligned both vertically and horizontally, with your tailbone tucked under so that you don't put pressure on your lumbar and add back problems to your woes. I would question whether you should be doing this stretch at all. I know it's the classic stretch that's always recommended for PF, but I've come to the conclusion that it can do more harm than good if it isn't done correctly. What's more, not everyone needs it . If the calf muscles aren't tight, and don't need to be stretched, the wall stretch can start pulling on the Achilles tendon and even the fascia. Saying this may make me unpopular with those who love this stretch, but it's my experience and my observation, and I'm sticking to it. I'm not saying it isn't right for anybody, just that it isn't right for everybody. Yet everybody seems to get told to do it.

You didn't say if you are doing the stair stretch, but if you are, don't! There is no way of controlling this stretch, and it makes no sense to have the entire weight of your body bearing down on your feet while they are hanging in space. I think this one can do a lot of damage (I'm surprised more people don't get Achilles tendonitis from it).

Non weight-bearing stretching will be better for you while you're still in pain. Bending the feet backwards and forwards at the ankles, circling the ankles, and curling and stretching the toes (a good strengthener, this one) and using a strap or a towel to dorsiflex the feet. And as Nancy suggested you might like to investigate the Acu-Flex and the Personal Foot Trainer (PFT) - they're both good systems for strengthening as well as stretching.

Hope this helps. Good night now and all the best,

Julie

Re: I got my 2nd opinion

Paula G. on 4/08/01 at 12:43 (043984)

Yes, Val the hurting feet. Endless and forever and always with us! Glad your 2nd opinion went well. I have gone nights without my night splints and really tell the difference! I, like you, wondered if they were fitting right because your foot doesn't stay put. But, it does work. You are right..it is just learning to sleep.
Sounds like this doctor really helped you. Wouldn't it be wonderful to have some magic treatment???? I guess in the meantime it is just learning not to be superperson and just taking a pace that you can live with. IT is very hard for me to sit down during the day and just relax and keep my feet up and rest them! So much to do..But I am learning that the saying my sister has posted in her house is true! 'Dull women have immaculate houses..' Sorry, gentlemen, no insult intended.
I am learning to do just that. If I go to the store...I must sit down and can't be on my feet for an hour...I guess with the busy lifestyle almost everyone has now...rest is so impossible to get. I have a foot massager from Dr. Scholl and don't even have time to sit and use that.
We all must treat ourselves, be good to ourselves..and get some foot rest.
As far as the losing weight..I have read that everywhere about PF..It does make sense..
How about exercise?? How does anyone do that? Like we can go for long walks!

Re: My feet hurt

Valerie S on 4/09/01 at 08:47 (044057)

Thanks, Paula.
I know exactly what you are saying. If I go to the store, my feet hurt for a whole day afterward. It left for a couple of days, but now that broken glass is back in my heels. I love being stabbed in the foot with every step! My left seems to be trying to catch up with my right, as far as the heel pain is concerned.

Exercise: my husband & I are going to start our bike riding, as soon as it stops raining here... hee hee. I am so sick of the stationery bike, and our pool is not open yet. Anything to be mobile! I wish I could walk, it would be so convenient. When I see those powerwalkers going by the house, I am so jealous!

Try to have a good day. I wish for everyone to feel better soon.

Val.

Re: Taping and Work and Stretching

ellen on 4/09/01 at 10:47 (044080)

Hi Val,

I don't have experience with taping my feet, but I have taped my knees for several different problems. I buy my tape directly from my physical therapist's office, and use 2 different types. One is a white soft stretchy type that is softer on the skin, and the other is brown with a stronger adhesive that is placed on top of the stretchy tape and provides the support. Both are made from Bielsdorf. If you are having a hard time finding good tape, ask you PT if you can buy it there.
ellen

Re: My feet hurt

Barbara O on 4/09/01 at 16:41 (044106)

I know how you feel.....I am going for a cortisone injection tomorrow, I hope it works!!!

Re: I got my 2nd opinionv- PS

Rose L on 4/10/01 at 10:50 (044170)

Hi, Julie

I enjoyed reading your encouraging words - about your trip to Berlin, etc. I've had pf for 16 months. It hit just when I was reaching a point in my life where I felt I could finally go to Europe - and do some additional traveling. However, my feet are so bad I can't make it through an airport without a wheelchair. Don't want to travel like that. I'm not a baby about pain at all, it's just that my feet are so bad after so little walking they are literally screaming 'Get off of me - I'm hurt and you're making it worse'. How long did it take until you could travel with confidence and relative confort?
Thanks for listening. Rose

Re: I got my 2nd opinion

Beverly on 4/06/01 at 16:11 (043855)

Val,

I'll be very curious what you learn from the orthodist altering your Birk footbed. I'm not aware of being able to build up a Birk footbed. I have seen ads for orthodists who can customize a Birk footbed. That means tearing off the old one and rebuilding it from scratch. I've seen ads for this in 'Biomechanics' magazine. It looks like a kit that Birk sells pods and orthodists. It works on the Arizona, Florida, and Boston, I think the Milano. At least that is what's in the ad's picture.
Best luck,
Beverly

Re: I got my 2nd opinion

Julie on 4/06/01 at 17:02 (043858)

Hi Val

I'm glad you've had your second opinion, and in a way I'm glad too that it concurred with the first. That should give you more trust in your pod, with whom you have the ongoing relationship, and it must reaffirm your feeling that you're handling this thing as well as you possibly can. It sounds as though you've shifted into a different gear.

You will walk again. Just be patient, use the time to be active in your treatment, and have faith that you will get better. If it's any help, or gives you hope, my PF is about 95% better now, after five months of stretching, icing, taping, ultrasound and intrasound, and, above all, rest. Which for me - as it was never painful enough to keep me altogether immobile - meant walking only when it was necessary: counting my steps, as it were, thinking about whether I could or should make it to the mailbox, or the paper shop. Now I'm pain free most of the time, and only get mild soreness when I really overdo things. At the beginning, I thought, as you have, 'This will never get better'. It is so insidious. But it has got better. And yours will too.

I can't remember whether we discussed taping for you. I tried to search on your name to see if I could pick up an old post where it might have been mentioned, but 'Val' brought up hundreds of posts with every word containing those three letters in blue (like Evaluate, Invalid, etc). So I gave up, and will just ask you: have you tried taping? If not, I would suggest you consider it. Scott calls it the 'best method of resting the fascia' which means it is getting a chance to heal, and I think it is. If you have tried it and it didn't seem to help, a different technique might. It has been very helpful to me - I taped every day for about four months, and still do when I know I'm going to be on my feet a lot. If Birkenstocks help you, taping ought to also.

Let me know.

All the best, Julie

Re: I got my 2nd opinionv- PS

Julie on 4/06/01 at 17:13 (043859)

I forgot two things I meant to mention. First: the ortho was firm in her view that you should wait at least a year before considering surgery, and that should be useful ammunition in any further discussions with your employer and co-workers.

Also: you'll find, I think, that your recovery will go in stages. For a long time you'll think nothing much is happening, and that there has been little improvement, and then something will happen that makes you realize that you are in fact a bit better, and that will give you heart. One example of that, for me, was our trip to Berlin last November - I went with great trepidation and anxiety, because I knew we'd be doing a fair amount of walking through galleries and museums, not to mention the city itself. I was very worried and timorous about that prospect. But I found I could manage it. My heel always hurt at night when we got back to the hotel, but it was always better the following morning. I came back from that trip confident that I was getting better, and would continue to get better. It really was a turning of a corner, and gave the whole process a momentum it had lacked before. Two months after that I went to India, and found I could cope with everything there: another corner turned. Those are just examples. Your recovery will follow a different pattern, obviously, but I think you'll find that occasionally something will happen that will shift things for you.

Re: I got my 2nd opinion- PS

Valerie S on 4/06/01 at 18:37 (043870)

Thank you, Julie. You always have the words of wisdom that reach me.

I haven't tried taping... can you do it with Birkenstocks? I know it sounds silly probably, but just wondered if the tape fits with the shoes.

I will try it and see, I guess.

Thanks for sharing your success stories, and reminding me about the 'baby steps.' I get so frustrated, feeling crippled all the time. I feel like I might be getting better, so slowly that I don't even know it's happening. I spend a lot less time crying and whining (my husband is relieved, I'm sure hee hee hee). I don't know if this reduction in pain is solely from being off work, since that's where I experienced the most pain. I have 2 weeks left on my leave now, and I am starting to worry already about going back. I know that bridge is around the corner a ways, but I am concerned about keeping my boss informed.

I try to keep my feet, calves, ankles flexible as much as possible... should I feel it pulling along my arch when I stretch, or is that what I should be avoiding? Just wondering.

Tonight I get to try out my night splint... wheeee. So sexy, my husband can't wait! hee hee hee... whatever works or might work, I will try it all!

Thanks again, your insight helps me more than you might know. Have a great weekend.

Val.
P.S: I use the name 'Valerie S' for every post, so if you want to get any dirt on me, just look up my full name... :)

Re: I got my 2nd opinion

Valerie S on 4/06/01 at 18:41 (043871)

Beverly:

I haven't called the orthotist yet about the alterations. The shoes that I brought with me to the appt were Medford (Footprints line), with the removable footbed. She says that the orthotist can first add cushions in the places that she says (arch, inside heel, 1st metatarsal) as a trial. Then if that helps, he can take an impression and add onto the existing shoe. She said it cost around $150, but I'm not sure how much the surgeon knows about what the shoe guy does.... we will see. I am curious, too. If I wasn't so broke, being off work and all, I would run over there. But my insurance has already paid what it will on the orthotic solution. They will only buy one pair. Of course, I haven't asked them about altering shoes... maybe there is a separate code for that...

I will let you know what I find out.

Val.

Re: I got my 2nd opinion- PS

Steve P on 4/06/01 at 19:26 (043879)

Hi Valerie. Listen, I hope you don't think that I'm jumping on you here because I don't mean to.......but something is bothering me about your first post in this thread. You said that you knew you were doing all that you can.

Agreed.......but will that still be true if you go back to work? It seems to me, based on all you've written, that you're setting yourself up for a setback. Do you really think you have ANY chance of being able to stand 40 hr/wk & get away with it? How can this even be a consideration?

I don't mean to upset you, but this is how I feel. My own experience tells me I must tell you this.

Best.............Steve

Re: Taping and Work

Julie on 4/07/01 at 03:26 (043895)

Val, actually the heading should be Work and Taping, because first I'm going to second what Steve has said to you. Two weeks is nothing. You will not be better enough in two weeks to go back to that job. Please put all thought of it out of your mind. You have to be patient. Healing is going to take time, and if you don't give it whatever time it needs, you will be in worse trouble further down the line. I guess you are still in the 'I've got to get better in two weeks mode', but it's really time to change that. You can't put a time limit on the healing process.

A job is only a job. You are dealing with a disease that has the potential to disable you. So see if you canget your priorities right.

What does your husband think, and say?

Now: taping. I almost hesitate to encourage you, in case you get relief from it and think it's ok to go back to work! But here goes. Taping may give you some relief from pain, but that isn't all it does. It provides the support for the arches that they have lost due to the tearing of the fascia (the plantar fascia's function, unlike other fascia in the body, is to support the arches, not only to encapsulate the muscles). In doing this, it contributes to the resting that the fascia needs in order to heal. IT IS NOT A PERMANENT SOLUTION, only an aid.

I've used, very helpfully, the simplest of the techniques that Scott describes in the heel pain book part 2. It consists of two strips of tape that connect the ball of the foot and the heel. I found this about as supportive as the wrapping method my podiatrist used, which took about half of an expensive roll of tape and - to make it worthwhile - had to be kept on for several days, causing endless post-shower hassle. Then when it eventually came off my foot had turned white and wrinkly - ugh. The simple technique is economical on tape, and easy to remove, so that you can take it off at night and reapply new tape in the morning. If the two-strip method doesn't give you enough support, there are several others described in the book.

You need a good quality tape that sticks well and doesn't stretch I use Leuko tape, made by Beiersdorf (3 1/2cm) It needs to feel firm and supportive, but not too tight, when applied. You need to experiment with the tension - if it's too tight, you'll know immediately because it will pull and probably hurt. For me, the right tension is achieved by dorsiflexing my foot (bending it back at the ankle) while I apply the tape. Then when I stand up it feels good: firm and supportive, neither too loose nor too tight. If I hold my foot in neutral the tape is much too tight when I stand (I did this only once, and took the tape off instantly).

The sticky residue comes off with cotton and lighter fluid - this is the only tiresome part of the procedure. But someone (I think it was Bill E) said he used a tape that didn't leave a residue).

So do try it. You may find it gives you enough relief to make you more comfortable getting around the house and doing short outside errands. But I repeat IT IS NOT A PERMANENT SOLUTION so don't use it as an excuse to go back to work.

Val, if anything I've said has been able to help you at all, I am really glad. That's what we're all here for.

I wish you all the best,

Julie

Re: Taping and Work - PS

Julie on 4/07/01 at 03:33 (043896)

Another PS. I seem to make a habit of this.

Could you let us know exactly what stretching you've been doing? It's hard to answer your question and advise without knowing this.

Re: Taping and Work and Stretching

Valerie s on 4/07/01 at 13:07 (043923)

Hi.

I tried taping my foot with some cheap sterile tape that we already have here. It seemed to help with that pulling feeling that I was having in my arch. I now need to find better tape to use.
Thanks for telling me how to get that ugh off the bottom of my foot. I have to stick my feet in my PT's face 3 times a week, and I have a hard enough time trying to get the callused skin off the bottom of my feet. I wonder though... the tape also sticks to my arch. Is this supposed to happen? Can I wrap my arch with ace wrap before taping, or am I maybe doing it too loosely? I don't have low arches... should the tape stick to my arches?

About work: I agree that I won't be able to go back to work in 2 weeks. I have been off for 3 now, and keep hoping for the day when I get up and sing 'pain free!' Even then, I know that I probably shouldn't go back to that job. Right now, I am living a couple of weeks at a time, because that is what my doc is giving me. I am the source of health insurance and the main source of income in this household right now, because my husband is in school. He will be graduating at the end of April in Computer Science, and I am praying that he will find his dream job right away, get great benefits, and take me away from this job altogether. I will then be able to change jobs, or even work part-time at a couple of jobs. I won't have to worry so much about finding a job that pays at least $12/hour. Until then, I am really just buying time. I don't want to quit and lose my benefits. I am using my short-term disability insurance to get by for now, but am banking on the idea that soon my husband is going to rescue me from this situation. He wants the money I was making while I was working, of course, but we are going to get by, and he is supportive of my decision to stay off my feet. He sometimes brings up my going back 'just for 2 pay periods,' because he would like to see some more of that money that I make there... but we are starting to deal with reality here. I just feel so worthless, like I'm not doing what I should be.

As fas as stretching goes, I do the wall stretch. When I am sitting, I try to dorsal flex my foot as much as possible. Like in a chair at the computer, I put my feet flat on the floor and put them back as far as I can. When I sit down, I put my foot up with it flexed back. I have been having some flexibilty improvement and issues in PT. He tells me that my ankle is blocking itself and he has been working on getting it to 'glide' better. Yesterday he seemed very impressed with my flexibility. He thinks it is working, the manipulations that he is doing. When I do the wall stretch, I feel some pressure on the front of my ankle, and my ankle seems to get sore a lot when I am walking around.

Thanks again.

Val.

Re: Taping and Work and Stretching

Nancy N on 4/07/01 at 15:07 (043930)

Val--

Before I forget, let me say that you are NOT worthless, and you ARE doing what you should be--unless being able to move under your own steam is NOT something you'd like to do for the rest of your life. You have to take care of yourself, in this and everything else in your life. If you don't take care of yourself, there certainly isn't anyone else out there who'll do it for you. I think you understand this, but your comment about worthlessness worried me a litle.

Now, about the stretching--do be sure that you're not in pain while you're doing the wall stretch (or any other weight-bearing stretch). If it bothers you, you could well just be making the situation worse. I am convinced that that's what happened to me, both with the wall stretch and the stair stretch. I felt much better after I stopped doing weight-bearing stretches and started doing the non-weight-bearing variety (i.e., stretch with a towel, or use a device like the PFT or the Acu-Flex to help with the stretching).

Just my two cents... hang in there, and don't let anyone talk you into anything you know isn't good for you!

Re: Taping and Work and Stretching

Julie on 4/07/01 at 19:01 (043936)

Hi Val

The tape is meant to stick along the entire length of your foot. And as I said, you need to experiment until you get the tension right: not so tight that it pulls and hurts, not so loose that it fails to give your arches the support they need.

I can only echo what Nancy said to you. Of course you aren't 'worthless'. What ever gave you such a silly idea? And of course you are doing what you should be doing.

I'm relieved to hear you've made up your mind that you can't go back to that job. (You sound relieved too, actually!) And I'm glad your husband is supportive. And it's good to hear that he finishes school at the end of this month. Perhaps, even if his dream job isn't immediately forthcoming, he'll be able to take a short term job to take the pressure off you and give you the time you need to heal without feeling guilty about it (guilt is awfully counter-productive to healing). Meanwhile, I'll bet you can cajole your pod to keep signing you off in two-week instalments, to buy you more time until your husband can take over the main financial support of the household. Your feet are his problem too, after all.

Do be careful with the wall stretch. It is not easy to do it correctly: as well as keeping your feet and legs in the right position, you need to keep your pelvis aligned both vertically and horizontally, with your tailbone tucked under so that you don't put pressure on your lumbar and add back problems to your woes. I would question whether you should be doing this stretch at all. I know it's the classic stretch that's always recommended for PF, but I've come to the conclusion that it can do more harm than good if it isn't done correctly. What's more, not everyone needs it . If the calf muscles aren't tight, and don't need to be stretched, the wall stretch can start pulling on the Achilles tendon and even the fascia. Saying this may make me unpopular with those who love this stretch, but it's my experience and my observation, and I'm sticking to it. I'm not saying it isn't right for anybody, just that it isn't right for everybody. Yet everybody seems to get told to do it.

You didn't say if you are doing the stair stretch, but if you are, don't! There is no way of controlling this stretch, and it makes no sense to have the entire weight of your body bearing down on your feet while they are hanging in space. I think this one can do a lot of damage (I'm surprised more people don't get Achilles tendonitis from it).

Non weight-bearing stretching will be better for you while you're still in pain. Bending the feet backwards and forwards at the ankles, circling the ankles, and curling and stretching the toes (a good strengthener, this one) and using a strap or a towel to dorsiflex the feet. And as Nancy suggested you might like to investigate the Acu-Flex and the Personal Foot Trainer (PFT) - they're both good systems for strengthening as well as stretching.

Hope this helps. Good night now and all the best,

Julie

Re: I got my 2nd opinion

Paula G. on 4/08/01 at 12:43 (043984)

Yes, Val the hurting feet. Endless and forever and always with us! Glad your 2nd opinion went well. I have gone nights without my night splints and really tell the difference! I, like you, wondered if they were fitting right because your foot doesn't stay put. But, it does work. You are right..it is just learning to sleep.
Sounds like this doctor really helped you. Wouldn't it be wonderful to have some magic treatment???? I guess in the meantime it is just learning not to be superperson and just taking a pace that you can live with. IT is very hard for me to sit down during the day and just relax and keep my feet up and rest them! So much to do..But I am learning that the saying my sister has posted in her house is true! 'Dull women have immaculate houses..' Sorry, gentlemen, no insult intended.
I am learning to do just that. If I go to the store...I must sit down and can't be on my feet for an hour...I guess with the busy lifestyle almost everyone has now...rest is so impossible to get. I have a foot massager from Dr. Scholl and don't even have time to sit and use that.
We all must treat ourselves, be good to ourselves..and get some foot rest.
As far as the losing weight..I have read that everywhere about PF..It does make sense..
How about exercise?? How does anyone do that? Like we can go for long walks!

Re: My feet hurt

Valerie S on 4/09/01 at 08:47 (044057)

Thanks, Paula.
I know exactly what you are saying. If I go to the store, my feet hurt for a whole day afterward. It left for a couple of days, but now that broken glass is back in my heels. I love being stabbed in the foot with every step! My left seems to be trying to catch up with my right, as far as the heel pain is concerned.

Exercise: my husband & I are going to start our bike riding, as soon as it stops raining here... hee hee. I am so sick of the stationery bike, and our pool is not open yet. Anything to be mobile! I wish I could walk, it would be so convenient. When I see those powerwalkers going by the house, I am so jealous!

Try to have a good day. I wish for everyone to feel better soon.

Val.

Re: Taping and Work and Stretching

ellen on 4/09/01 at 10:47 (044080)

Hi Val,

I don't have experience with taping my feet, but I have taped my knees for several different problems. I buy my tape directly from my physical therapist's office, and use 2 different types. One is a white soft stretchy type that is softer on the skin, and the other is brown with a stronger adhesive that is placed on top of the stretchy tape and provides the support. Both are made from Bielsdorf. If you are having a hard time finding good tape, ask you PT if you can buy it there.
ellen

Re: My feet hurt

Barbara O on 4/09/01 at 16:41 (044106)

I know how you feel.....I am going for a cortisone injection tomorrow, I hope it works!!!

Re: I got my 2nd opinionv- PS

Rose L on 4/10/01 at 10:50 (044170)

Hi, Julie

I enjoyed reading your encouraging words - about your trip to Berlin, etc. I've had pf for 16 months. It hit just when I was reaching a point in my life where I felt I could finally go to Europe - and do some additional traveling. However, my feet are so bad I can't make it through an airport without a wheelchair. Don't want to travel like that. I'm not a baby about pain at all, it's just that my feet are so bad after so little walking they are literally screaming 'Get off of me - I'm hurt and you're making it worse'. How long did it take until you could travel with confidence and relative confort?
Thanks for listening. Rose