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My Interesting Case History

Posted by Lee M on 8/11/02 at 09:15 (092180)

Scott,

As many have before, thank you for your
comprehensive and useful site. Everyone
with plantar fasciitis should study its contents.

I have an interesting case to report which may
help others. It is particularly interesting in
that (1) I am quite sure what caused my heel
pain, (2) I tried several treatment methods
without benefit, (3) I had a successful outcome
without ESWT.

At this time I don't have the patience to find
the right spot on the message boards to put
this, so maybe you can do it (with or without
editing) for me.

At the end of May 2001 I was moving furniture
in my late father's home prior to an estate sale.
A large couch-bed was refusing to move across
the carpet a few inches. I was being careful
with my back, so I took a different approach.
I sat on the floor with my back against a wall,
knees bent, and feet at the bottom side of the
couch where the wood support structure was.
Slowly I straightened my knees. The couch
moved rather easily and I went on to something
else.

A day later I noticed what felt like a small rock
in my right shoe at the center of my heel. But
there was nothing there! I studied the shoe
more closely, removed some fake leather at
the heel, and found a nail head sticking up just
a bit. I had been walking on it for two days at
that point.

I clipped off the shoe nail with a hand tool, but
when walking it still felt like something was there.
Over the next week the 'something' turned into
a minor pain, then a sensitive spot, and it wasn't
long before I was limping. You all know the story.

Some Dr. Scholl's foam helped a little but not very
much. I started looking around the Web, saw
this site, and got more knowledgeable and more
worried at the same time. I ordered a pair of the
well-rated squishy German silicone heel pads and
started stretching exercises. The soft pads were
more comfortable but I was still limping. It was
now more than a month, self-help was going
nowhere, and I started to plan for ESWT.

But for ESWT you need (or should have) six
months of conservative treatment; even the
Canadian services appear to want some history
of a podiatry visit. So off I went to my internist.
He took an X-ray, saw a heel spur, and sent me
on to the podiatrist. Based on the heelspurs.com
postings I did not expect much help from the
podiatrist but thought of him as my ESWT gateway.

He confirmed the diagnosis of plantar fasciitis and
taped my foot rather thoroughly, differently from
Scott's images. It helped a lot. I could now
walk with much less limp and pain. I nursed his
tape and kept it on for a whole week, meanwhile
buying some of my own.

A week later he inspected my foot and measured
me for orthotics. I thought that would be more
money down the drain but remembered the
ESWT-gateway plan. Because of the beginnings
of a rash on my foot he would not tape it again.
Instead he wanted me to use ice and stretches.

He had a clever way of managing the ice: You
take a Styrofoam coffee cup, fill it with water,
and freeze it. Then you use it directly on the heel
like a giant Popsicle; as it melts down, you peel off
the Styrofoam. Ice it about 10 minutes, twice a
day. I did. It helped. I also did his version of the
stretch exercises, pushing against a doorway at
two different levels to stretch two different areas.
As I am not good at physical exercise description
I won't try explaining them, but there is something
like them on heelspurs.com.

Having tasted taping, I was not about to give
it up. Following Scott's pictures I used 3 long
pieces of tape. The results were nearly as good
as the podiatrist's; the tape would last 2 or 3
days even with showering. Fortunately, Scott's
tape pattern did not go near where the rashes
were from the podiatrist's tape. And during all
this I was still using the squishy silicone heel
pads in my shoes.

After two weeks the orthotics were ready. They
are hard plastic inserts, not really very thick
(thinner at the heels than the silicone pads),
that extend only partway into the shoe. I put
on my shoes and was AMAZED. It was the
best, nicest, most comfortable feeling that you
can imagine--far, far better than the silicone pads.
The pain was significantly less as I walked.

I stopped using tape but kept up the icing and
stretching. The orthotics were always in the
shoes. At home I was able to go barefoot
because our carpet is on a thick 'commercial'
pad rather than the more common soft shredded
urethane pad. Surprise! My heels were getting
better week after week. The podiatrist checked
my feet and the fit of the orthotics and agreed
with my own assessment: It was working.

My plan had been to aim for ESWT in December,
when I could make a 'vacation' trip to Canada.
But my podiatrist had essentially cured me by
October. I was walking painlessly at full stride,
not thinking about my heels at all except when
I put the orthotics into my shoes. I even stopped
visiting heelspurs.com! And I was totally amazed
when my health insurance paid for the orthotics.

The final test came last April, when my wife and
I walked and stood for hours on vacation. (This
unathletic Southern Californian uses his car to
get around; it's only on trips that I really walk
a lot.) Even with luggage the feet stayed happy.

So here's my take: Give a good podiatrist a
chance. He or she may be able to help you.

I am happy to give the name of mine:

Dr. Jeffrey A. Klemes
Diplomate, American Board of Podiatric Surgery
Fellow, American College of Foot Surgeons
8920 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 320
Beverly Hills, CA 90211
(310) 657-4080

By the way, we did talk about ESWT; he is open
to it and uses an OssaTron facility in the San
Fernando Valley. Whether I would have used
that or gone to Canada for ESWT I cannot now
say.

Good luck, perseverance, patience, and hope,

Lee M
Los Angeles, California

Re: My Interesting Case History

Kathy G on 8/12/02 at 13:45 (092296)

Hi Lee,

It's so heartening to read success stories like yours! Thanks for sharing your story with us and may you continue to have happy feet!

Re: My Interesting Case History

Kathy G on 8/12/02 at 13:45 (092296)

Hi Lee,

It's so heartening to read success stories like yours! Thanks for sharing your story with us and may you continue to have happy feet!