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Almost healed, but...

Posted by Jim C on 11/11/02 at 22:33 (099845)

Hi,

Just read a post in the foot surgery section about how alot of people who are opting for e.s.w.t., are ones who have very low levels of pain basicaly maintained by avoiding activities that aggravate the condition.
This would describe me very well. My pain levels rarely go above a 1 and most days I am pain free. But my heels are still tender to the touch and if I poke hard enough I can still find a few spots with that stone bruised feeling, I also experience what I call ghost pains (comes and go, moves around, lasting no more than a few seconds). I do know what my limits are and often take premptive rests through out the day, but I know my PF is still there and can be easily aggravated.
I seemed to have plateaued at this point in my healing. I do still practice my regimine of conservative treatments, namely, stretching, night splint, always wearing good shoes, a low dose of ibruprofen and avoiding over doing it!
I geuss by most standards, I'm a success story!, and I'm very grateful for having gotten this far in 6 months. But having led a very physicaly active lifestyle my PF still affects my quality of life as I live a life of avoidance of the things I love.
My thoughts are to somehow shock my system into further healing. Perhaps with non weight bearing strengthing of the legs and feet, or take a break from treatment then resume, or maybe even (gulp) shots to get me over the hump. Somehow, I suspect I need to just lay low and pratice patients!
Any thoughts?

Jim

Re: thoughts

Carole C in NOLA on 11/12/02 at 19:45 (099964)

Jim, I can truly relate to what you are saying. From your description of your heels still feeling tender to the touch, I'd say your pain level of 1 is probably what I've been calling my pain level of 2. Also, that's what I had six months after getting PF; a pain level that I called a 2-3 (probably your level 1 to 2 or so), and I was able to do a lot. I could go grocery shopping, to Super Wal-Mart, and to SAMS all in one day, for example, and still feel fine. I went to sea on a working cruise and did all right too. But the rate at which I was healing really slowed down a lot.

In the next six months, I continued to heal though it did not seem as fast. It's been a year now, and I can do everything that I could do before PF without pain except really super strenuous stuff (like when I moved to a new house, I had a very very mild bruised feeling). Now, I go barefoot a lot, even in the shower, and I wear the same shoes I wore before PF. I only stretch when I need it. I can stand in line, or walk, without worrying about it. But it took six more months to get from where you are to here. I still have more room for improvement.

For you, in the next six months, you will probably have to exercise a lot of patience and continue with your conservative treatment regimen as necessary. But you will probably find that you are able to do more and more, if you continue to use good sense.

If you try to shock your system yourself, try little shocks first and see how it goes. You don't want to cause a lot of damage that will set you back.

For me it just took a lot longer for the last part of the healing than for the first part. That may have been due to the fact that I was doing more (because I could do things again!). When you think of your activity level when you were at your worst, and compare that with what you are doing now, you have probably come a long way. Now your feet need to get used to a your present activity level again.

Lots of people get ESWT, but considering how much recovery you've experienced in six months I wonder if you really need it. Well, sure, I don't know if you have a bank account the size of Donald Trump, and if you do I'd say 'hey, why not?' But if you work for a living like most of us, I'd tend to suggest that you wait until you haven't had any improvement at all for a while longer. You may find that your improvement continues on and though it may be slow, you will get to where you want to be by next spring or summer.

Carole C

Re: thoughts

Jim C on 11/13/02 at 19:33 (100079)

Hi Carole,

Thanks for your insight and encouragment. I'm very fortunate to have gotten this far in such a short bit of time, as some people have had extreme pain for years!
I think my shock treatment will be tape. I have use tape sparsely in the past with good results, but couldn't use it long term because of skin irratations. But I'm going to try different brands and use less, maybe keep it on a couple of days instead of changing it daily. Also, perhaps soaking it before removle will help.
I taped today with just two peices in a X fashion, and I had much less fatigue and tenderness, even after a unusauly long day on my feet!

Again, Thanks!!!

Jim

Re: thoughts

Julie on 11/14/02 at 02:25 (100110)

Jim

(I think I might have told you this before - please forgive me if I'm repeating myself, but I can't remember!).

I used Leuko tape without skin problems for several months. It is available on line if you can't find it elsewhere, and if john h sees this, he will give you the url. It's strong and holds its tension well.

It must be removed carefully, peeling it slowly from the ball of the foot back to the heel. Pulling it off quickly may pull skin with it.

I wouldn't recommend keeping it on for more than one day. It should really be removed at night 'to allow the skin to breathe and heal' as Scott says. If it gets wet and remains on, the skin softens and weakens.

The less tape used the better, in my opinion (as long as the technique used is effective). Less danger of irritation, less expensive, and more likelihood of persevering. I used the two-strip method too, but not crossed over, just slightly overlapping. It was a life-saver.

Re: thoughts

Carole C in NOLA on 11/14/02 at 17:38 (100168)

Jim, I'm glad to hear that taping seems to have helped today!! Good luck and I hope this helps to 'shock' your feet into continued healing. :)

Carole C

Re: thoughts

R C on 11/14/02 at 20:58 (100182)

I second the motion to keep up with your regimen. My belief is that you do not need a 'shock', but rather to simply persevere, and the PF will eventually go away. Several health care professionals have expressed the view that this sort of injury takes something like a year to 'set' after it has seemed to go away. During this time the most important thing is to be careful not to re-injure yourself. My experience tends to bear out these ideas.

Re: thoughts

Jim C. on 11/14/02 at 22:53 (100200)

RC,
Thanks for your input! I hope I didn't imply that I would be brutal when I said 'shock my system'! In the past I noticed when I stopped taking a nsaid and then resumed the dosage, it was much more effective. Same thing with iceing and stretching, Maybe sometimes your body responds to the change.
Was your experience positive?

Jim

Re: thoughts

R C on 11/15/02 at 21:07 (100332)

Jim,

My experience was a long frustrating battle (2.5 years), but it ended positively. Today, my foot appears to be normal in every way. (See my response to Leon in a post today). I no longer run for exercise, and I am very careful when lifting anything heavy. I still tape my foot as a precaution. I have turned to swimming as my main source of exercise, and have become quite an enthusiast (especially shocking given that I couldn't swim until I decided I just needed to do something for my body). Anyway, If I make it to next May without a setback (that's the one year period for the healing to 'set'), I'll be quite joyous.

R C

Re: thoughts

Carole C in NOLA on 11/12/02 at 19:45 (099964)

Jim, I can truly relate to what you are saying. From your description of your heels still feeling tender to the touch, I'd say your pain level of 1 is probably what I've been calling my pain level of 2. Also, that's what I had six months after getting PF; a pain level that I called a 2-3 (probably your level 1 to 2 or so), and I was able to do a lot. I could go grocery shopping, to Super Wal-Mart, and to SAMS all in one day, for example, and still feel fine. I went to sea on a working cruise and did all right too. But the rate at which I was healing really slowed down a lot.

In the next six months, I continued to heal though it did not seem as fast. It's been a year now, and I can do everything that I could do before PF without pain except really super strenuous stuff (like when I moved to a new house, I had a very very mild bruised feeling). Now, I go barefoot a lot, even in the shower, and I wear the same shoes I wore before PF. I only stretch when I need it. I can stand in line, or walk, without worrying about it. But it took six more months to get from where you are to here. I still have more room for improvement.

For you, in the next six months, you will probably have to exercise a lot of patience and continue with your conservative treatment regimen as necessary. But you will probably find that you are able to do more and more, if you continue to use good sense.

If you try to shock your system yourself, try little shocks first and see how it goes. You don't want to cause a lot of damage that will set you back.

For me it just took a lot longer for the last part of the healing than for the first part. That may have been due to the fact that I was doing more (because I could do things again!). When you think of your activity level when you were at your worst, and compare that with what you are doing now, you have probably come a long way. Now your feet need to get used to a your present activity level again.

Lots of people get ESWT, but considering how much recovery you've experienced in six months I wonder if you really need it. Well, sure, I don't know if you have a bank account the size of Donald Trump, and if you do I'd say 'hey, why not?' But if you work for a living like most of us, I'd tend to suggest that you wait until you haven't had any improvement at all for a while longer. You may find that your improvement continues on and though it may be slow, you will get to where you want to be by next spring or summer.

Carole C

Re: thoughts

Jim C on 11/13/02 at 19:33 (100079)

Hi Carole,

Thanks for your insight and encouragment. I'm very fortunate to have gotten this far in such a short bit of time, as some people have had extreme pain for years!
I think my shock treatment will be tape. I have use tape sparsely in the past with good results, but couldn't use it long term because of skin irratations. But I'm going to try different brands and use less, maybe keep it on a couple of days instead of changing it daily. Also, perhaps soaking it before removle will help.
I taped today with just two peices in a X fashion, and I had much less fatigue and tenderness, even after a unusauly long day on my feet!

Again, Thanks!!!

Jim

Re: thoughts

Julie on 11/14/02 at 02:25 (100110)

Jim

(I think I might have told you this before - please forgive me if I'm repeating myself, but I can't remember!).

I used Leuko tape without skin problems for several months. It is available on line if you can't find it elsewhere, and if john h sees this, he will give you the url. It's strong and holds its tension well.

It must be removed carefully, peeling it slowly from the ball of the foot back to the heel. Pulling it off quickly may pull skin with it.

I wouldn't recommend keeping it on for more than one day. It should really be removed at night 'to allow the skin to breathe and heal' as Scott says. If it gets wet and remains on, the skin softens and weakens.

The less tape used the better, in my opinion (as long as the technique used is effective). Less danger of irritation, less expensive, and more likelihood of persevering. I used the two-strip method too, but not crossed over, just slightly overlapping. It was a life-saver.

Re: thoughts

Carole C in NOLA on 11/14/02 at 17:38 (100168)

Jim, I'm glad to hear that taping seems to have helped today!! Good luck and I hope this helps to 'shock' your feet into continued healing. :)

Carole C

Re: thoughts

R C on 11/14/02 at 20:58 (100182)

I second the motion to keep up with your regimen. My belief is that you do not need a 'shock', but rather to simply persevere, and the PF will eventually go away. Several health care professionals have expressed the view that this sort of injury takes something like a year to 'set' after it has seemed to go away. During this time the most important thing is to be careful not to re-injure yourself. My experience tends to bear out these ideas.

Re: thoughts

Jim C. on 11/14/02 at 22:53 (100200)

RC,
Thanks for your input! I hope I didn't imply that I would be brutal when I said 'shock my system'! In the past I noticed when I stopped taking a nsaid and then resumed the dosage, it was much more effective. Same thing with iceing and stretching, Maybe sometimes your body responds to the change.
Was your experience positive?

Jim

Re: thoughts

R C on 11/15/02 at 21:07 (100332)

Jim,

My experience was a long frustrating battle (2.5 years), but it ended positively. Today, my foot appears to be normal in every way. (See my response to Leon in a post today). I no longer run for exercise, and I am very careful when lifting anything heavy. I still tape my foot as a precaution. I have turned to swimming as my main source of exercise, and have become quite an enthusiast (especially shocking given that I couldn't swim until I decided I just needed to do something for my body). Anyway, If I make it to next May without a setback (that's the one year period for the healing to 'set'), I'll be quite joyous.

R C