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6 months on....

Posted by vanessa on 10/04/02 at 21:53 (096905)

its been 6 months now since i developed PF and its still hurting so much. I can't even walk down the street without it hurting. i was just wondering what amount of pain other people were experiencing at 6 months and how much it limited your life...

Re: 6 months on....

Suzanne D on 10/05/02 at 08:18 (096913)

Hi, Vanessa. I know how it feels to still be hurting 6 months after the onset of PF! It makes you feel that you will NEVER improve!

Everyone's case is so individual, but I just wanted to let you know that at 6 months I was still hurting very much as well. It was at about 9 months that I really begin to notice improvement. It's been 16 months now for me, and - while I still have some pain - it is SO much better, and I am very thankful.

When I was first diagnosed with PF, my daughter's fiance mentioned that his mom had had the same condition but was much improved although she still had to 'be careful'. I asked him how long it took her to get noticeably better. He said, 'I really can't remember exactly'. I thought that was odd, but since he was in college at the time, I thought maybe he really didn't know. Much later he told me that he just couldn't bring himself to say, 'A year' as he knew that would discourage me.

So, I certainly don't want to discourage you, Vanessa, but to encourage you that while you still hurt, there is hope to get better!

Have you read the Heel Pain Book here? I trust you are implementing a treatment plan and have found shoes to wear that work for you.

Best wishes!
Suzanne :-)

Re: Hang in there!

Carole C in NOLA on 10/05/02 at 10:00 (096917)

Six months after I got PF would be March 22nd of this year. Most of my improvement took place between mid-February and mid-March. By 'most of my improvement', I'd estimate I went from a pain level of 7 to 2 on a scale of 1-10, during that time.

Five months after I got PF, I was purposely doing less than I thought I could do and mostly just sitting around. I think I went to Wal-Mart towards the end of that month a couple of times for the first time since PF, and was really thrilled to be able to do that again, if my memory is correct about the timing of my Wal-Mart excursions. The third week in March, six months after I got PF, I went to sea on a working cruise (I'm an oceanographer), and much to my delight I was able to handle it without much further injury, though just barely.

It does take a lot of time for PF to heal, for many of us! It also takes a lot of self-treatment. In my case, I rested my feet quite a bit, wore Birkenstocks or my custom orthotics all the time, and never went barefoot (even in the shower). I also iced using a bag of frozen mixed veggies when I felt pain, and did gentle sitting-down stretches before standing.

Each of us seems to find our own path to healing, but I'd say that for me, the resting and custom orthotics were the most helpful. Also, 'getting in tune with my feet' and figuring out what was re-injuring them and how to keep from re-injuring them was essential. At the beginning, even wiggling my toes hard could re-injure them and I really needed to be careful and rest a lot, but as I healed I could do more.

I believe that my PF was a result of repetitive injury during an injudicious new exercise program of my own design. In my case, I don't think that I have major biomechanical problems although I may have some minor ones. There was a distinct beginning to my PF... it didn't just sneak up on me gradually over the years like it does for some people. I'm just about completely healed now.

Carole C

Re: 6 months on....

Carole C in NOLA on 10/05/02 at 10:12 (096918)

Suzanne, I just realized in reading your post that I MISSED my one year PF anniversary on September 22nd! I think I was watching Tropical Storm Isidore and I just forgot. Like you, I'm so thankful to have had this much improvement.

If anyone had told me at the outset that PF would last so long, I'd have been even more depressed than I was (if that's possible!) The time that it takes to heal does seem to vary a lot from person to person, but it doesn't seem uncommon to still be experiencing a lot of pain after six months. I was lucky to have relatively rapid healing.

Finding this site and reading what other people had to say, helped me to set my priorities, and get started on my self-treatment program pretty promptly after getting PF, as well as to get diagnosed and get good footwear and soft custom orthotics. The more promptly treatments are begun, the faster the healing from PF, according to some of the foot professionals on these message boards.

Carole C

Re: Hang in there!

Andrue on 10/05/02 at 11:09 (096923)

I agree so much with need to work out what your feet are trying to tell you. I've got pretty good at that and seem to be making very good progress these last few months. Last night's set back is a bit annoying but I had a similar sharp pain in my heel in Spring and it went away in a couple of days. My guess is I've just annoyed something (like, perhaps catching a scab before a cut is properly healed) and it will settle soon enough.

Re: Hang in there!

Jan H. on 10/05/02 at 11:38 (096927)

You know, everyone is different, and what works for one person may not work for you. I have had PF now for at least 10 years-with a break of about 3 years with no pain. Do not quit treatment until you are better. I think that is where I went wrong. I would get so discouraged when something didn't work that I would try to just work through the pain. Now, I'm back in treatment again and I will not stop until the pain is GONE!!

Re: Hang in there!

Carole C in NOLA on 10/05/02 at 12:44 (096932)

That's a good point. Never, never give up and keep putting 100% effort into your own self-treatment.

Sometimes something doesn't seem to work but if you keep trying, you find a way to make it work. Here's an example. Ice didn't work for me, until I took John H's advice to ice for a lot longer than I had been. Instead of a few minutes on a baggie of ice cubes, I started icing in cycles of maybe five minutes on, a minute or so off (to avoid frostbite), for half an hour or even longer with a bag of mixed veggies that would fit the shape of my foot better than the baggie of ice cubes.

If something doesn't work, keep trying to figure out what does work.

Working through the pain is fine for HEALTHY pain as in building muscles. Working through the pain is not for PF pain which is due to injury and is not a healthy pain. When the difference is clear, this is a no-brainer.

Carole C

Re: Hang in there!

Jan H. on 10/05/02 at 15:14 (096935)

I guess I should have said, 'working in spite of the pain' instead of 'working through' it. It's hard when your income is counted on in your family.

Re: Hang in there!

nancy s. on 10/05/02 at 20:04 (096948)

carole, i just want to say how great i think you are to hang in here and help people. your pf case turned out to last the more normal length of time than is true for a lot of people here, yet when i catch up on my heelspurs.com reading i always find you here being helpful. i know there are others too -- such as suzanne -- and my hat is off to all of you!
nancy

Re: thanks, Nancy

Carole C in NOLA on 10/05/02 at 21:32 (096952)

Nancy, thank you for saying such nice things. I almost feel guilty to read it, because to be completely truthful, I get a lot out of staying here. Helping people is its own reward, of course, and that is a wonderful feeling, but my reasons aren't entirely altruistic. Sometimes I'm not sure I'm helping anybody else although I really try hard to help. But I still come back because there are some selfish advantages too.

PF is such a monster. I guess the monster scared me! By posting, I can reassure myself that I am better and that I know what to do if this nightmare should ever come back.

Pretty gruesome psychology, huh? Major insecurities. LOL

Carole C

Re: Hang in there!

Carole C in NOLA on 10/05/02 at 21:37 (096953)

Oh, now I understand. Sure, sometimes we have to deal with what life hands us. I thought you meant like marathon runners ignoring their pain so that they can break through it and get a faster time.

Carole C

Re: thanks, Nancy

Suzanne D on 10/06/02 at 06:30 (096965)

...And in this sometimes rushing, impersonal world, it's nice to have a group of friends to keep in touch with, isn't it?! I find that I not only want to help others but also truly care about my friends here and want to keep up with their new jobs, houses, pets, weather, and other experiences. Plus, I continue to learn new ideas about shoes and so forth.

Thanks also for the kind words, Nancy.

Suzanne :-)

Re: thanks, Nancy

Carole C in NOLA on 10/06/02 at 08:05 (096973)

That is so true, too! I want to come back and read about how everyone is doing, and what they're up to. If one of my heelspurs.com friends is improving, it makes me feel so happy! And if one of us has a setback, I don't want him or her to have to face it alone.

Carole

Re: To Vanessa

Kathy G on 10/07/02 at 09:40 (097011)

Hi Vanessa,

I have PF but I also have assorted other problems with my feet which my doctors say they lump together as PF because it's just easier. I've had active problems with my feet for over seven years now but only in the last three have they become more debilitating. I'm one of those cases that's the exception rather than the rule so no one should base their prognosis on me. I recently had to bring my orthotics for a 're-tread' and the doctor told me that 90% of all PF cases get cured. Assume you're in that 90%!

My finding has been that the Heel Pain book has been incredibly helpful in my recovery. As Carole said, it's very individual and you have to figure out what works for your feet through trial and error. I found that Julie's stretches, icing and rest did the most good for me, along with my custom Foot Max orthotics. I have been without them for 12 days now and I can't believe how quickly my feet have reverted back to the old, awful symptoms. I gues I would say the orthotics and the stretching are the best means, for me, to maintain my feet. I am never without pain but the pain had become much more liveable in the last six months. I am optimistic that once my orthotics are back in place, I'll start to feel better.

It seems as though everyone who has gotten to a place where they are able to function almost normally has spent a period of time really concentrating on their feet through the methods suggested in the Foot Pain book. Then, once they get to that place, they are at a kind of maintenace level which is much less restrictive. How long it takes to get there is varies from person to person. One of the most encouraging things I can tell you is that once you get to that place, you'll find that set-backs last for less and less time. You might have to baby your feet for a few days but it won't take them as long to 'bounce back' as they take now.

And in answer to your question, for me personally, my foot problems have definitely changed my life. I had to give up my part-time job. I am grateful that I don't have to work for us to survivebut I hate not working. What I have done is acknowledged the problem with my feet and have accommodated it as much as I am willing and as much as I am forced to. If I walk or stand up for too long, I know that I will experience pain. That doesn't mean that I don't do it, it just means that I avoid it if possible and realize that consequences if I overdo.

Good luck and keep us posted. You'll find great help and support on these boards.

Re: 6 months on....

Suzanne D on 10/05/02 at 08:18 (096913)

Hi, Vanessa. I know how it feels to still be hurting 6 months after the onset of PF! It makes you feel that you will NEVER improve!

Everyone's case is so individual, but I just wanted to let you know that at 6 months I was still hurting very much as well. It was at about 9 months that I really begin to notice improvement. It's been 16 months now for me, and - while I still have some pain - it is SO much better, and I am very thankful.

When I was first diagnosed with PF, my daughter's fiance mentioned that his mom had had the same condition but was much improved although she still had to 'be careful'. I asked him how long it took her to get noticeably better. He said, 'I really can't remember exactly'. I thought that was odd, but since he was in college at the time, I thought maybe he really didn't know. Much later he told me that he just couldn't bring himself to say, 'A year' as he knew that would discourage me.

So, I certainly don't want to discourage you, Vanessa, but to encourage you that while you still hurt, there is hope to get better!

Have you read the Heel Pain Book here? I trust you are implementing a treatment plan and have found shoes to wear that work for you.

Best wishes!
Suzanne :-)

Re: Hang in there!

Carole C in NOLA on 10/05/02 at 10:00 (096917)

Six months after I got PF would be March 22nd of this year. Most of my improvement took place between mid-February and mid-March. By 'most of my improvement', I'd estimate I went from a pain level of 7 to 2 on a scale of 1-10, during that time.

Five months after I got PF, I was purposely doing less than I thought I could do and mostly just sitting around. I think I went to Wal-Mart towards the end of that month a couple of times for the first time since PF, and was really thrilled to be able to do that again, if my memory is correct about the timing of my Wal-Mart excursions. The third week in March, six months after I got PF, I went to sea on a working cruise (I'm an oceanographer), and much to my delight I was able to handle it without much further injury, though just barely.

It does take a lot of time for PF to heal, for many of us! It also takes a lot of self-treatment. In my case, I rested my feet quite a bit, wore Birkenstocks or my custom orthotics all the time, and never went barefoot (even in the shower). I also iced using a bag of frozen mixed veggies when I felt pain, and did gentle sitting-down stretches before standing.

Each of us seems to find our own path to healing, but I'd say that for me, the resting and custom orthotics were the most helpful. Also, 'getting in tune with my feet' and figuring out what was re-injuring them and how to keep from re-injuring them was essential. At the beginning, even wiggling my toes hard could re-injure them and I really needed to be careful and rest a lot, but as I healed I could do more.

I believe that my PF was a result of repetitive injury during an injudicious new exercise program of my own design. In my case, I don't think that I have major biomechanical problems although I may have some minor ones. There was a distinct beginning to my PF... it didn't just sneak up on me gradually over the years like it does for some people. I'm just about completely healed now.

Carole C

Re: 6 months on....

Carole C in NOLA on 10/05/02 at 10:12 (096918)

Suzanne, I just realized in reading your post that I MISSED my one year PF anniversary on September 22nd! I think I was watching Tropical Storm Isidore and I just forgot. Like you, I'm so thankful to have had this much improvement.

If anyone had told me at the outset that PF would last so long, I'd have been even more depressed than I was (if that's possible!) The time that it takes to heal does seem to vary a lot from person to person, but it doesn't seem uncommon to still be experiencing a lot of pain after six months. I was lucky to have relatively rapid healing.

Finding this site and reading what other people had to say, helped me to set my priorities, and get started on my self-treatment program pretty promptly after getting PF, as well as to get diagnosed and get good footwear and soft custom orthotics. The more promptly treatments are begun, the faster the healing from PF, according to some of the foot professionals on these message boards.

Carole C

Re: Hang in there!

Andrue on 10/05/02 at 11:09 (096923)

I agree so much with need to work out what your feet are trying to tell you. I've got pretty good at that and seem to be making very good progress these last few months. Last night's set back is a bit annoying but I had a similar sharp pain in my heel in Spring and it went away in a couple of days. My guess is I've just annoyed something (like, perhaps catching a scab before a cut is properly healed) and it will settle soon enough.

Re: Hang in there!

Jan H. on 10/05/02 at 11:38 (096927)

You know, everyone is different, and what works for one person may not work for you. I have had PF now for at least 10 years-with a break of about 3 years with no pain. Do not quit treatment until you are better. I think that is where I went wrong. I would get so discouraged when something didn't work that I would try to just work through the pain. Now, I'm back in treatment again and I will not stop until the pain is GONE!!

Re: Hang in there!

Carole C in NOLA on 10/05/02 at 12:44 (096932)

That's a good point. Never, never give up and keep putting 100% effort into your own self-treatment.

Sometimes something doesn't seem to work but if you keep trying, you find a way to make it work. Here's an example. Ice didn't work for me, until I took John H's advice to ice for a lot longer than I had been. Instead of a few minutes on a baggie of ice cubes, I started icing in cycles of maybe five minutes on, a minute or so off (to avoid frostbite), for half an hour or even longer with a bag of mixed veggies that would fit the shape of my foot better than the baggie of ice cubes.

If something doesn't work, keep trying to figure out what does work.

Working through the pain is fine for HEALTHY pain as in building muscles. Working through the pain is not for PF pain which is due to injury and is not a healthy pain. When the difference is clear, this is a no-brainer.

Carole C

Re: Hang in there!

Jan H. on 10/05/02 at 15:14 (096935)

I guess I should have said, 'working in spite of the pain' instead of 'working through' it. It's hard when your income is counted on in your family.

Re: Hang in there!

nancy s. on 10/05/02 at 20:04 (096948)

carole, i just want to say how great i think you are to hang in here and help people. your pf case turned out to last the more normal length of time than is true for a lot of people here, yet when i catch up on my heelspurs.com reading i always find you here being helpful. i know there are others too -- such as suzanne -- and my hat is off to all of you!
nancy

Re: thanks, Nancy

Carole C in NOLA on 10/05/02 at 21:32 (096952)

Nancy, thank you for saying such nice things. I almost feel guilty to read it, because to be completely truthful, I get a lot out of staying here. Helping people is its own reward, of course, and that is a wonderful feeling, but my reasons aren't entirely altruistic. Sometimes I'm not sure I'm helping anybody else although I really try hard to help. But I still come back because there are some selfish advantages too.

PF is such a monster. I guess the monster scared me! By posting, I can reassure myself that I am better and that I know what to do if this nightmare should ever come back.

Pretty gruesome psychology, huh? Major insecurities. LOL

Carole C

Re: Hang in there!

Carole C in NOLA on 10/05/02 at 21:37 (096953)

Oh, now I understand. Sure, sometimes we have to deal with what life hands us. I thought you meant like marathon runners ignoring their pain so that they can break through it and get a faster time.

Carole C

Re: thanks, Nancy

Suzanne D on 10/06/02 at 06:30 (096965)

...And in this sometimes rushing, impersonal world, it's nice to have a group of friends to keep in touch with, isn't it?! I find that I not only want to help others but also truly care about my friends here and want to keep up with their new jobs, houses, pets, weather, and other experiences. Plus, I continue to learn new ideas about shoes and so forth.

Thanks also for the kind words, Nancy.

Suzanne :-)

Re: thanks, Nancy

Carole C in NOLA on 10/06/02 at 08:05 (096973)

That is so true, too! I want to come back and read about how everyone is doing, and what they're up to. If one of my heelspurs.com friends is improving, it makes me feel so happy! And if one of us has a setback, I don't want him or her to have to face it alone.

Carole

Re: To Vanessa

Kathy G on 10/07/02 at 09:40 (097011)

Hi Vanessa,

I have PF but I also have assorted other problems with my feet which my doctors say they lump together as PF because it's just easier. I've had active problems with my feet for over seven years now but only in the last three have they become more debilitating. I'm one of those cases that's the exception rather than the rule so no one should base their prognosis on me. I recently had to bring my orthotics for a 're-tread' and the doctor told me that 90% of all PF cases get cured. Assume you're in that 90%!

My finding has been that the Heel Pain book has been incredibly helpful in my recovery. As Carole said, it's very individual and you have to figure out what works for your feet through trial and error. I found that Julie's stretches, icing and rest did the most good for me, along with my custom Foot Max orthotics. I have been without them for 12 days now and I can't believe how quickly my feet have reverted back to the old, awful symptoms. I gues I would say the orthotics and the stretching are the best means, for me, to maintain my feet. I am never without pain but the pain had become much more liveable in the last six months. I am optimistic that once my orthotics are back in place, I'll start to feel better.

It seems as though everyone who has gotten to a place where they are able to function almost normally has spent a period of time really concentrating on their feet through the methods suggested in the Foot Pain book. Then, once they get to that place, they are at a kind of maintenace level which is much less restrictive. How long it takes to get there is varies from person to person. One of the most encouraging things I can tell you is that once you get to that place, you'll find that set-backs last for less and less time. You might have to baby your feet for a few days but it won't take them as long to 'bounce back' as they take now.

And in answer to your question, for me personally, my foot problems have definitely changed my life. I had to give up my part-time job. I am grateful that I don't have to work for us to survivebut I hate not working. What I have done is acknowledged the problem with my feet and have accommodated it as much as I am willing and as much as I am forced to. If I walk or stand up for too long, I know that I will experience pain. That doesn't mean that I don't do it, it just means that I avoid it if possible and realize that consequences if I overdo.

Good luck and keep us posted. You'll find great help and support on these boards.