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How long will PF last?

Posted by Jean H. P. on 9/07/02 at 20:31 (094724)

(I've been posting under Jean P and changed to Jean H. P. to avoid confusion). Quickly, I contracted PF in Oct '01, did PT, it went pretty much away, was jumping in June '02 and on beach swimming /walking in July '02 and it has hurt constantly since July. Nothing seems to help the pain abate except Motrin which I can't take forever. Lots of walking makes it worse. I'm committing myself to as much rest as practically possible being a single parent, and recently bought the hands-free crutch because I can't use regualr crutches. Tried one cortizone shot, taping, have orthotics, etc.

Yet when I turn to this web page and read how people have this for years and are crippled by it, they can't walk, they try multiple treatments and nothing works, I feel like my mind is beginnning to play tricks. Maybe it isn't productive to read this-- Maybe only the what--10% of real chronics end up here???? Why doesn't this go away? Will I have this forever? Why isn't anything working? Is my athletic life over? (I usually xc ski a marathon each winter.)

Can there be emotional conditions that prohibit healing? Dr. Sarno wrote Healing Back Pain based on the premise buried emotions (usually hidden anger)are causing the back pain. Has anyone read Why People Don't Heal by Caroline Myss? Just wondered. I've never read it.

Re: How long will PF last?

Carole C in NOLA on 9/07/02 at 20:57 (094725)

Jean, although some of the people who post here have had PF for a long time, most people who get PF heal completely and go back to their normal lives.

Some of us who post here are healed, or essentially healed. On a scale of 1-10, my foot pain was as high as 8-9 last December. But now it ranges from a level of 0 to 1/2. I can do everything that I was able to do before PF. If I am unusually rough on my feet, at the end of the day they ache and feel a little bruised. Then I put them on ice and by the next day they are fine. Last Spring I went to sea on working cruises (I'm an oceanographer), and just recently I chose to buy a new home and to move into it by myself (with three men to move the furniture for me, but for me moving is a big challenge even with healthy feet). So life does go on!

It just takes a period of time to heal first. Time and effort are both necessary, for some of us, since it can take a while to find the exact combination of conservative treatments that help each individual. Once you find the right combination of treatments, the feet begin to heal faster. They do not heal overnight and it can take weeks or more before you can do everything you could before.

Emotions and PF are closely entangled. PF can cause a lot of depression, because it is depressing to lose mobility. And yes, I believe that PF can get worse due to emotions that can cause your muscles and tissues to tighten and so on. Nevertheless, PF is real and not something to dismiss as being 'all in the head'. It's not.

I haven't read the book, but then I'm nearly healed at this point. I'll never forget how hideous it was to have PF, so I'll probably always wear good supportive shoes and I'll probably always be a little more aware of my feet than I was and avoid over-doing it in the way that caused me to get PF to begin with.

I am not a foot professional but I hope this helps.

Carole C

Re: How long will PF last?

Julie on 9/08/02 at 01:32 (094741)

I'd like to second everything Carole has said, Jean.

I hear a desperate note in your voice, so I'd also like to say that I believe it IS productive to read these message boards. Yes, you will see a great deal of pain and confusion, but you will also get a great deal of information and help. And you should certainly read the heel pain book if you haven't already.

Like Carole, I have got over my PF, and have been fine for the last 18 months. It took six months, during which I stayed off my feet as much as was practicable, which for me meant eliminating all recreational walking.
I found taping extremely helpful, and icing when I needed it. The right shoes are also vital (see below).

You say you have orthotics, but are you sure they're right for you? If you don't get relief from them, it's possible you didn't need them in the first place (they correct biomechanical faults, but you may not have any of those) or they may not have been properly casted and/or correctly made. It would certainly be worth returning to your podiatrist and getting them checked out.

There are so many variables, including some we wouldn't class as 'treatment' but which are very important. Like shoes. Are you quite sure that the shoes you wear are giving you enough support? There aren't many that do, and fashion shoes certainly don't. Even 'comfortable' flat shoes, like the basic Ecco style, are too soft, and bend too easily in the middle (a shoe should bend only at the metatarsal, not at the arch). Many, especially women, feel they have to wear more dressy shoes at work - could that be part of your problem? I'm guessing. I don't know what shoes you wear. But I would suggest that it would be useful for you to do your research in this area. Birkenstocks have been helpful to many, including me. A good, stable trainer (sneaker) is another option. New Balance shoes are highly thought of here, but there are dozens of models for different types of feet and you need to know which might be right for you. Shoes also have to be the right size. Obvious, but not always recognised. Feet tend to spread as we age, and most of us need a bigger size than the one we wore when we were 25.

Everything that happens to us happens to us in totality, on all levels: physical, mental, emotional. But some things are more physical than emotional, and PF is probably one of them, though of course it can be depressing. I wouldn't get too entangled in the worry about emotional 'causes' - that could lead you down an unproductive, self-blaming route. Be practical. Address the physical issues. If you aren't sure that your podiatrist has 'got it right', diagnosis-wise and treatment-wise, see another. The important thing now is to get a treatment plan in place that addresses the cause(s) of your PF.

Good luck.

Re: How long will PF last?

Jean H. P. on 9/08/02 at 21:25 (094782)

Thanks--to both replies. Yes, this is going to take time. It has only been 6 weeks since the second 'injury' this summer. It feels the same but I found a physical therapist that does osteopathic techniques and he feels the origin may be in my hips. As the conventional stretches aren't helping much, I've started to use Julie's stretches (I do yoga also not daily-- I will do more yoga as time allows) And I'm resting much more. My 12 year old is being an enormous help. For now appts seem to be taking up my time. My chiropractor asked to see me weekly. I have switched podiatrists and like the second one better... all takes time. I live in a rural area so all these appts involve a 1.5 hour drive round trip... The first podiatrist wouldn't go for PT, but the second one gave me the script for that:) Good ideas on the second look at orthotics. I think I found an excellent PT also. Thanks immensely for your responses. I'm certainly not depressed but discouraged!!

Re: How long will PF last?

Jean H. P. on 9/08/02 at 21:33 (094784)

Thanks--see my reply to other helpful email. I do wear good sneakers--I bought new Asics and Nike. I never wear tight dress shoes as I dropped a cinder block years ago on my other foot that does not have PF. I always buy supportive shoes. I'll consider Birkenstocks. I have a 'copy' from LLBean I wear. How do you wear heal pads in Birkies? Won't they fall out?

Yes, I've read heal book on web-- SOmewhere I read 75% of cases resolve in 6 months. Since June , almost 3 mos ago, I've just not made any real progress despite seeing orthopedist, 2 podiatrists, prednisone(nasty stuff), one cortisone shot (won't let them give me anymore). But I will (patiently) give it more time.
Thanks again.

Re: How long will PF last?

Julie on 9/09/02 at 02:30 (094798)

Your two posts sound very positive, Jean. That's good!

Just a couple of quick points.

I just noticed in your first post that you said 'lots of walking makes it worse'. Of course it does. That's probably the main key to your healing and getting better, which I'm sure you will.

I've never worn Nikes, and don't know much about them, but I've gathered from long reading of these boards that they're not thought to be the best shoes for PF. Asics are more in favour. As I said earlier, New Balance seem to be the favourites in sneakers. And Birkenstocks are excellent if the hills and valleys in your feet happen to match those in the Birk footbed. (I've been lucky there.) I like North Face Targas - a hiking shoe. It has thick soles, good tread, and a generous, high toebox which is useful if you wear orthotics or have bunions. (All shoes should have a generous toebox, IMHO.)

You can't wear heel pads in Birk sandals unless you glue them in. I tried for awhile, and was constantly retrieving them from all over the place. Birkenstock do make closed shoes, if you really need heel pads - are you sure you do?

If you're going to practise more yoga, you should really avoid the standing poses for now. Concentrate on seated poses and floor work.

Re: How long will PF last?

Jean H. P. on 9/09/02 at 09:48 (094810)

I can't tell if heal pads help or not--it alwys seems to hurt! I'm trying not to walk. I went grocery shopping last night, my 12 year old did most of the running through the store but she didn;t know how to pick out the meat,so I made the long trek and taught her what I like to buy. SHe is handling this so well--I'm not!! And needless to say, I paid for the walking. Tomorrow I have to start walking into and out of large schools twice per week. I seem to feel the ups and downs of this PF emotionally. I'm resting as much as possible today--

Re: How long will PF last?

Carole C in NOLA on 9/07/02 at 20:57 (094725)

Jean, although some of the people who post here have had PF for a long time, most people who get PF heal completely and go back to their normal lives.

Some of us who post here are healed, or essentially healed. On a scale of 1-10, my foot pain was as high as 8-9 last December. But now it ranges from a level of 0 to 1/2. I can do everything that I was able to do before PF. If I am unusually rough on my feet, at the end of the day they ache and feel a little bruised. Then I put them on ice and by the next day they are fine. Last Spring I went to sea on working cruises (I'm an oceanographer), and just recently I chose to buy a new home and to move into it by myself (with three men to move the furniture for me, but for me moving is a big challenge even with healthy feet). So life does go on!

It just takes a period of time to heal first. Time and effort are both necessary, for some of us, since it can take a while to find the exact combination of conservative treatments that help each individual. Once you find the right combination of treatments, the feet begin to heal faster. They do not heal overnight and it can take weeks or more before you can do everything you could before.

Emotions and PF are closely entangled. PF can cause a lot of depression, because it is depressing to lose mobility. And yes, I believe that PF can get worse due to emotions that can cause your muscles and tissues to tighten and so on. Nevertheless, PF is real and not something to dismiss as being 'all in the head'. It's not.

I haven't read the book, but then I'm nearly healed at this point. I'll never forget how hideous it was to have PF, so I'll probably always wear good supportive shoes and I'll probably always be a little more aware of my feet than I was and avoid over-doing it in the way that caused me to get PF to begin with.

I am not a foot professional but I hope this helps.

Carole C

Re: How long will PF last?

Julie on 9/08/02 at 01:32 (094741)

I'd like to second everything Carole has said, Jean.

I hear a desperate note in your voice, so I'd also like to say that I believe it IS productive to read these message boards. Yes, you will see a great deal of pain and confusion, but you will also get a great deal of information and help. And you should certainly read the heel pain book if you haven't already.

Like Carole, I have got over my PF, and have been fine for the last 18 months. It took six months, during which I stayed off my feet as much as was practicable, which for me meant eliminating all recreational walking.
I found taping extremely helpful, and icing when I needed it. The right shoes are also vital (see below).

You say you have orthotics, but are you sure they're right for you? If you don't get relief from them, it's possible you didn't need them in the first place (they correct biomechanical faults, but you may not have any of those) or they may not have been properly casted and/or correctly made. It would certainly be worth returning to your podiatrist and getting them checked out.

There are so many variables, including some we wouldn't class as 'treatment' but which are very important. Like shoes. Are you quite sure that the shoes you wear are giving you enough support? There aren't many that do, and fashion shoes certainly don't. Even 'comfortable' flat shoes, like the basic Ecco style, are too soft, and bend too easily in the middle (a shoe should bend only at the metatarsal, not at the arch). Many, especially women, feel they have to wear more dressy shoes at work - could that be part of your problem? I'm guessing. I don't know what shoes you wear. But I would suggest that it would be useful for you to do your research in this area. Birkenstocks have been helpful to many, including me. A good, stable trainer (sneaker) is another option. New Balance shoes are highly thought of here, but there are dozens of models for different types of feet and you need to know which might be right for you. Shoes also have to be the right size. Obvious, but not always recognised. Feet tend to spread as we age, and most of us need a bigger size than the one we wore when we were 25.

Everything that happens to us happens to us in totality, on all levels: physical, mental, emotional. But some things are more physical than emotional, and PF is probably one of them, though of course it can be depressing. I wouldn't get too entangled in the worry about emotional 'causes' - that could lead you down an unproductive, self-blaming route. Be practical. Address the physical issues. If you aren't sure that your podiatrist has 'got it right', diagnosis-wise and treatment-wise, see another. The important thing now is to get a treatment plan in place that addresses the cause(s) of your PF.

Good luck.

Re: How long will PF last?

Jean H. P. on 9/08/02 at 21:25 (094782)

Thanks--to both replies. Yes, this is going to take time. It has only been 6 weeks since the second 'injury' this summer. It feels the same but I found a physical therapist that does osteopathic techniques and he feels the origin may be in my hips. As the conventional stretches aren't helping much, I've started to use Julie's stretches (I do yoga also not daily-- I will do more yoga as time allows) And I'm resting much more. My 12 year old is being an enormous help. For now appts seem to be taking up my time. My chiropractor asked to see me weekly. I have switched podiatrists and like the second one better... all takes time. I live in a rural area so all these appts involve a 1.5 hour drive round trip... The first podiatrist wouldn't go for PT, but the second one gave me the script for that:) Good ideas on the second look at orthotics. I think I found an excellent PT also. Thanks immensely for your responses. I'm certainly not depressed but discouraged!!

Re: How long will PF last?

Jean H. P. on 9/08/02 at 21:33 (094784)

Thanks--see my reply to other helpful email. I do wear good sneakers--I bought new Asics and Nike. I never wear tight dress shoes as I dropped a cinder block years ago on my other foot that does not have PF. I always buy supportive shoes. I'll consider Birkenstocks. I have a 'copy' from LLBean I wear. How do you wear heal pads in Birkies? Won't they fall out?

Yes, I've read heal book on web-- SOmewhere I read 75% of cases resolve in 6 months. Since June , almost 3 mos ago, I've just not made any real progress despite seeing orthopedist, 2 podiatrists, prednisone(nasty stuff), one cortisone shot (won't let them give me anymore). But I will (patiently) give it more time.
Thanks again.

Re: How long will PF last?

Julie on 9/09/02 at 02:30 (094798)

Your two posts sound very positive, Jean. That's good!

Just a couple of quick points.

I just noticed in your first post that you said 'lots of walking makes it worse'. Of course it does. That's probably the main key to your healing and getting better, which I'm sure you will.

I've never worn Nikes, and don't know much about them, but I've gathered from long reading of these boards that they're not thought to be the best shoes for PF. Asics are more in favour. As I said earlier, New Balance seem to be the favourites in sneakers. And Birkenstocks are excellent if the hills and valleys in your feet happen to match those in the Birk footbed. (I've been lucky there.) I like North Face Targas - a hiking shoe. It has thick soles, good tread, and a generous, high toebox which is useful if you wear orthotics or have bunions. (All shoes should have a generous toebox, IMHO.)

You can't wear heel pads in Birk sandals unless you glue them in. I tried for awhile, and was constantly retrieving them from all over the place. Birkenstock do make closed shoes, if you really need heel pads - are you sure you do?

If you're going to practise more yoga, you should really avoid the standing poses for now. Concentrate on seated poses and floor work.

Re: How long will PF last?

Jean H. P. on 9/09/02 at 09:48 (094810)

I can't tell if heal pads help or not--it alwys seems to hurt! I'm trying not to walk. I went grocery shopping last night, my 12 year old did most of the running through the store but she didn;t know how to pick out the meat,so I made the long trek and taught her what I like to buy. SHe is handling this so well--I'm not!! And needless to say, I paid for the walking. Tomorrow I have to start walking into and out of large schools twice per week. I seem to feel the ups and downs of this PF emotionally. I'm resting as much as possible today--