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Is is true that TTS never gets better?

Posted by Lolly O on 3/04/03 at 11:24 (111735)

Is is true that TTS never gets better on its own? Only chance is surgery?

In July 2002 I did aerobics on my basement floor-barefooted. (yes I am stupid) I have had pain ever since. I finally went to a Podiatrist in Oct. He said: heelspurs and PF. After months on Viox and stretching I saw no improvement. I finally went to an Orth surgen who tapped my ankle and daigonosed TTS. This was confirmed by a nerve conduction test.

Re: Is is true that TTS never gets better?

Sharon W on 3/04/03 at 11:56 (111746)


No, that is not true -- at least not completely true. Without treatment of ANY kind, TTS rarely goes away. And there is no one treatment that always takes care of the problem. In fact, noone really knows what treatment(s) may work for you until you try them. But other treatments for TTS should certainly be tried before considering surgery. Using (prescription) orthotics can help this condition. Some patients are helped by physical therapy. For others, wearing a cast or cam walker for a while can help a lot. Some people get relief from anti-inflammatory pain medications and/or from steroid ('cortisone') injections into the inner ankle by a foot specialist. And there are several drugs that can help control nerve pain but (probably) do not cure the problem. Probably the most commonly prescribed is Neurontin, but others take Elavil or drugs specifically intended for pain such as Ultram or Vicodin.

Surgery is not a 'magic bullet' either -- TTS surgery is risky (some patients are made WORSE by surgery) and the recovery takes a LONG time.


Re: Is is true that TTS never gets better?

lara t on 3/04/03 at 12:21 (111753)

Once again, Sharon gave an excellent summary. The only thing I would add is that for me, compression socks is the treatment that made things better. They don't work for everyone. It seems from an unscientific study of looking at responses to my posts about compression socks, that most people on this board have not found them successful. HOwever, I suspect that's because this board is not representative of all cases of PF/heelspurs/TTS, but rather represents tough cases. My podiatrist says she has a alot of success (but not 100%) with compression socks for her TTS patients (and she sees a few every week, so has a significant # of patients with TTS). For me, I went from dreaming of amputation and avoiding eating and drinking so I wouldn't have to walk to the bathroom in a few hours, to a reasonable and pleasant life, although I traded sports for art for my entertainment and relaxation. However I can do enough exercise, if chosen carefully, to allow for cardiovascular health (now if I can just heal my various joints so I can do the exercises).

It sometimes takes awhile (and it seems like an eternity) to find what works for you, what aggravates and what provides relief, and it takes time to come to accept certain changes in one's lifestyle, etc. but most of us find something.

Re: Is is true that TTS never gets better?

Sharon W on 3/04/03 at 12:22 (111754)

Thanks, Lara, I forgot to mention that one. (I wear compression socks, too.)


Re: Is is true that TTS never gets better?

Lolly O on 3/04/03 at 12:58 (111760)

I have actually thought about amputation.

As far as exercise:
I was getting really frustrated and sorely missed my beloved treadmill. I finally broke down and ordered that super duper ultra elite GAZELLE. I started with only 15 minutes and then iced. This morning I did 45 minutes and iced. I may be lying to myself, but I don't think using the GAZELLE is causing my heels/ankles to hurt more. But I have used it (4) times.

Re: Is is true that TTS never gets better?

Sharon W on 3/04/03 at 13:31 (111765)


I've thought about amputation too, at times when the pain got really bad. I am an example of a person who tried all those non-surgical treatments without success, and finally ended up having surgery (it seemed like a better idea than amputation!)

Please don't take this as a lecture, but before you use the treadmill I hope you'll type 'treadmill' into the 'search' function on this website (you can see the 'search' box when the index of all heel pain categories are displayed on the page). Treadmills have been discussed before, and some of the doctors have made some discouraging comments about them.


Re: Is is true that TTS never gets better?

Jessie W. on 3/04/03 at 14:22 (111769)

Sharon and Lara, I have been diagnosed with TTS and Achilles Tendonitis and was wondering if you had any more info on compression socks - type to buy etc. Also, I'm scheduled for a nerve conduction test on Thurs. I know it is a painful test and not always reliable- do you think it is worthwhile? Thanks for any advice!

Re: Is is true that TTS never gets better?

Lolly O on 3/04/03 at 14:41 (111771)

I had a nerve conduction test a few weeks ago. It was really not that bad. I have heard people compare it to sticking your finger in a socket. Believe me it is no where near that bad.

I am interested in buying compression socks also.

Re: Is is true that TTS never gets better?

Lolly O on 3/04/03 at 14:44 (111772)

I hope to go back to the treadmill one day. (maybe years)
But for now I am pretty happy with my new GAZELLE. Have you heard anything negative on this forum about the Gazelle?

Re: Is is true that TTS never gets better?

Sharon W on 3/04/03 at 15:22 (111778)

No, and I'm really not familiar with it. Perhaps if you post this question on the 'Ask the Foot Doctors' page, one of them will respond with an expert opinion.


Re: compression socks & NCV test

lara on 3/04/03 at 17:28 (111795)

I agree. I had the NCV test. It wasn't a bad. Easier than the colonoscopy I had several years ago - which was more unpleasant than painful - and better than the root canal - both of which I survived just fine.

The NCV tests are pretty reliable, and valid for positive findings. Negative results for TTS doesn't mean you don't have TTS, but a positive result is pretty reliable that you do have TTS.

There are various 'strengths' of compression socks. Some can be bought over-the-counter. I can find them in Vermont Country Store catalogue, our local supermarket, and shoe stores. I'm not sure they would be strong enough.

The rest are prescription and you get them either from your doctor, or by getting a prescription from your doctor - generally filled at a medical supply store. They come in 'mild', 'moderate', and something stronger.

Mild's come in anklets & knee-highs. They are about $20.00/pair (or is it $20.00/sock). Expensive for socks, especially when you consider they don't work for socks so you have to put something over them - but as a treatment they are very inexpensive!

Moderates come in knee-highs (perhaps panty hose, I'm not sure). The moderates are a little more expensive - under $50.00 if I remember correctly, maybe well under $50.00.

the strongest ones come in pantyhose and I believe are VERY expensive. A friend got them for a different reason, and paid (rather insurance paid) near $100.00. HOwever, I've never even been tempted to get the strongest. The milds and moderates have served me very well, and are covered by my insurance.

Not all doctors are aware of compression socks for TTS. Among the several orthopedists I have seen over the years, most weren't aware of using compression socks for TTS. One (the TTS surgery guru) frowned upon compression socks as a quick and dirty solution of podiatrists (my description of his attitude). The others weren't aware of it, but thought if they worked, to keep with it and avoid surgery (guess what the TTS surgery guru wanted to do?). I've only been to one podiatrist since getting diagnosed (since the first one told me it was peripheral neuropathy and the first sign of impending diabetes, and the second one said it was in my head when he ran out of treatment options - when the third one knew what I had after I finished my history I stuck with him) and he knew of compression socks - so I don't know if most podiatrists are aware of it.