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Are Heel Spurs or PF considered an injury?

Posted by Dianna B. on 5/29/02 at 14:51 (085632)

I have a heel spur and PF in my left foot. I never had foot problems until my present job, which is walking alot quickly and standing on cement (kennel work-animal attendant). I've been doing this almost 2 years. The pain started this past Fall, after I was at work for a few hours. It is now constant, gets much worse each hour I work, I can hardly walk to my car after work. I get burning and stinging and throbbing in my heel even when I sit. I never sit at work, always on my feet. I am worried about losing my job and especially not being able to do it, my foot hurts very much at work, I walk on my toes, or outer edge of foot, can't stand to put weight on my heel on my left foot, limp badly. I have been told (by my doctor)I can't get worker's comp while I am being treated, so I can stay off my foot long enough for it to heal, because it isn't a work injury, it's a degenerative disease. Is this always true? I don't know what to do. I have no other income. I have good insurance at work, but no short term disability. If I lose this job or can't do it, who else will hire me if I have this bad foot? I'll appreciate any information, thanks. ~~Dianna

Re: Are Heel Spurs or PF considered an injury?

Ed Davis, DPM on 5/29/02 at 15:26 (085637)

Dianna:

Keep in mind that most people with PF keep on working while being treated via conservative modalities. PF needs to be treated agressively via conservative modalities. Ideally, one should not have to wait so long that you have to alter your gait before getting definitive treatment.

There are times that one must take time off though. It is not necessary to take time off for something to be classified as a work related injury.

I would consider PF to be a 'repetitive strain injury' similar to carpal tunnel sundrome. States workers comp. systems are very different with some states being fairly generous in such interpretations and some not.

Basically, you need a doc who is willing to stand behind his decision to consider it a work related injury and sometimes a good worker's comp. attorney. Occasionally, consider discussing the issue with a worker's comp. attorney first since they may know the docs who are willing to stand behind their patients in such issues.

What state do you live in?
Ed

Re: Are Heel Spurs or PF considered an injury?

Dianna B. on 5/29/02 at 18:12 (085653)

Thank you Ed, for your response. I live in Pennsylvania. Unfortunately, I did not see a doctor until the pain was nonstop and I was limping. I just had my second appointment this past Tuesday. He wants me to buy his custom made inserts for my shoes, and he checked my insurance, they won't cover those, and I can't afford them. I have purchased another insert he recommended. I missed a day at work last week due to pain in my foot and I don't get sick pay, so I'm already losing money. He prescribed Celebrex 200 mg. twice a day. I had tried that for 9 days, couldn't really notice a difference in my foot, but my neck pain eased up alot! On my own, I am trying the icing and stretching exercises. He also wants to try shots, but I'm a bit leery of them after doing some reading, what do you think? All I know, is it keeps getting worse more rapidly. I dread walking anywhere, my life has changed. Oh, I am 54 years old, but in pretty good shape, my co workers average 18-22 years and I do the same work they do. Also, I have never had or worn a pair of high heels in my life, always had comfortable shoes. Thanks. ~~~Dianna

Re: Are Heel Spurs or PF considered an injury?

BrianG on 5/29/02 at 19:01 (085662)

Hi Dianna,

I'm not a doc, but I am your age, and have spent a good part of my life working on concrete, and tar. After 8 years of toughing it out, I finally couldn't take t any longer, left work, and applied for SSD. I'd hate to see you go down the same road I did. The expenses are only going to become worse, much worse, if you don't heal soon. There are some people that can continue to work, and are healed by conservative measures. Unfortuntly this message board is full of people that could not do it.

I think you should seriously look for a sit down, type of job, before it's too late, and no one will hire you (it's what happened to me). Try for a job with a full benefits package, including short term disability. I was in a job like yours, minimal medical, with no disability or sick days. Those jobs are fine for healthy folks, or people who get their insurance from their spouse. I'm now living off my savings / retirement, which is a whole other story. Anyways, I hope you do feel better, and if not, get another job asap. The concrete is a killer!

BrianG

Re: Are Heel Spurs or PF considered an injury?

Ed Davis, DPM on 5/29/02 at 22:29 (085704)

The shots can provide some relief but you will really need the orthotics if you plan on trying to work while getting treatment. It really is not reasonable for an employer to expect you to work on your feet with PF but not provide coverage for orthotics, in my opinion.

Workers compensation insurance will cover the orthotics if your standard health insurance plan does not, and will reimburse you for time loss incurred while off your feet. Another reason to consider going the worker's comp route.

I do not know the specifics of the worker's comp. system in PA -- perhaps some of the other docs who post here in proximity to or in PA are more familiar with that system. Hopefully, your doc will support a workers comp. claim--- speak to him or her about that. Also consider speaking to a workers comp attorney. Have your attorney contact me to discuss how PF can be work related at (email removed)

Best of luck
Ed

Re: Are Heel Spurs or PF considered an injury?

J. King on 5/30/02 at 06:16 (085727)

I would try to get a sit down job like BrianG says because once you file for workers compensation your employer is going to start to try and get rid of you. It may be illegal but they have their ways to get you out.
Also, other potential employers will steer clear of you because you are an injured worker and they don't want to have to pay increased insurance premiums because your condition gets worse on their watch. Of course, if you have to file just be sure you have your stuff together so that you can win your case. I found that unless your condition is almost terminal work comp won't let you sit at home and collect a check for long. They may pay medical bills however.

Re: Are Heel Spurs or PF considered an injury?

Ed Davis, DPM on 5/29/02 at 15:26 (085637)

Dianna:

Keep in mind that most people with PF keep on working while being treated via conservative modalities. PF needs to be treated agressively via conservative modalities. Ideally, one should not have to wait so long that you have to alter your gait before getting definitive treatment.

There are times that one must take time off though. It is not necessary to take time off for something to be classified as a work related injury.

I would consider PF to be a 'repetitive strain injury' similar to carpal tunnel sundrome. States workers comp. systems are very different with some states being fairly generous in such interpretations and some not.

Basically, you need a doc who is willing to stand behind his decision to consider it a work related injury and sometimes a good worker's comp. attorney. Occasionally, consider discussing the issue with a worker's comp. attorney first since they may know the docs who are willing to stand behind their patients in such issues.

What state do you live in?
Ed

Re: Are Heel Spurs or PF considered an injury?

Dianna B. on 5/29/02 at 18:12 (085653)

Thank you Ed, for your response. I live in Pennsylvania. Unfortunately, I did not see a doctor until the pain was nonstop and I was limping. I just had my second appointment this past Tuesday. He wants me to buy his custom made inserts for my shoes, and he checked my insurance, they won't cover those, and I can't afford them. I have purchased another insert he recommended. I missed a day at work last week due to pain in my foot and I don't get sick pay, so I'm already losing money. He prescribed Celebrex 200 mg. twice a day. I had tried that for 9 days, couldn't really notice a difference in my foot, but my neck pain eased up alot! On my own, I am trying the icing and stretching exercises. He also wants to try shots, but I'm a bit leery of them after doing some reading, what do you think? All I know, is it keeps getting worse more rapidly. I dread walking anywhere, my life has changed. Oh, I am 54 years old, but in pretty good shape, my co workers average 18-22 years and I do the same work they do. Also, I have never had or worn a pair of high heels in my life, always had comfortable shoes. Thanks. ~~~Dianna

Re: Are Heel Spurs or PF considered an injury?

BrianG on 5/29/02 at 19:01 (085662)

Hi Dianna,

I'm not a doc, but I am your age, and have spent a good part of my life working on concrete, and tar. After 8 years of toughing it out, I finally couldn't take t any longer, left work, and applied for SSD. I'd hate to see you go down the same road I did. The expenses are only going to become worse, much worse, if you don't heal soon. There are some people that can continue to work, and are healed by conservative measures. Unfortuntly this message board is full of people that could not do it.

I think you should seriously look for a sit down, type of job, before it's too late, and no one will hire you (it's what happened to me). Try for a job with a full benefits package, including short term disability. I was in a job like yours, minimal medical, with no disability or sick days. Those jobs are fine for healthy folks, or people who get their insurance from their spouse. I'm now living off my savings / retirement, which is a whole other story. Anyways, I hope you do feel better, and if not, get another job asap. The concrete is a killer!

BrianG

Re: Are Heel Spurs or PF considered an injury?

Ed Davis, DPM on 5/29/02 at 22:29 (085704)

The shots can provide some relief but you will really need the orthotics if you plan on trying to work while getting treatment. It really is not reasonable for an employer to expect you to work on your feet with PF but not provide coverage for orthotics, in my opinion.

Workers compensation insurance will cover the orthotics if your standard health insurance plan does not, and will reimburse you for time loss incurred while off your feet. Another reason to consider going the worker's comp route.

I do not know the specifics of the worker's comp. system in PA -- perhaps some of the other docs who post here in proximity to or in PA are more familiar with that system. Hopefully, your doc will support a workers comp. claim--- speak to him or her about that. Also consider speaking to a workers comp attorney. Have your attorney contact me to discuss how PF can be work related at (email removed)

Best of luck
Ed

Re: Are Heel Spurs or PF considered an injury?

J. King on 5/30/02 at 06:16 (085727)

I would try to get a sit down job like BrianG says because once you file for workers compensation your employer is going to start to try and get rid of you. It may be illegal but they have their ways to get you out.
Also, other potential employers will steer clear of you because you are an injured worker and they don't want to have to pay increased insurance premiums because your condition gets worse on their watch. Of course, if you have to file just be sure you have your stuff together so that you can win your case. I found that unless your condition is almost terminal work comp won't let you sit at home and collect a check for long. They may pay medical bills however.