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PLEASE HELP!!!

Posted by Sarah T. on 5/12/03 at 23:56 (118496)

I need some info and direction! I am miserable...During my pregnancy I became allergic to my child. Eventually, 4 months postpartum I was treated with steroids and gained a tremendous amount of weight. I believe this to be the reason I have developed PF. About a year ago, I had a cortisone shot and had orthotics made through my podiatrist. My pain has returned with a vengence in the original foot and is beginning in the other. I am currently trying to get back in to see my pod. I need some info or personal direction in taping, night splints, exercises and just general pity!! Seriously, I would like to hear individual remedies for pain management because I am becoming so disheartened...the inactivity certainly is not helping with my weight. Currently, I wear my orthotics and New Balance tennies. I try stretches and soaks. Have not tried any oral or topical meds...please lend me your ideas.

Re: PLEASE HELP!!!

Suzanne D on 5/13/03 at 07:29 (118509)

Bless your heart, Sarah! I am sorry for your pain.

Have you read The Heel Pain Book on this site? (Just click on the blue link here.) It is full of suggestions and advice and instructions on taping, etc.

I am sorry to not be able to give you a more complete response right now, but I have a room full of first graders who are almost ready to start the day. But I just couldn't NOT answer you - at least with a short reply to let you know we understand and care and that there ARE things you can do to help alleviate your pain.

Hang in there...Others will post with suggestions and support.

Suzanne :)

Re: PLEASE HELP!!!

marie on 5/13/03 at 10:25 (118525)

Oh sweetie...I hope you get to feeling better soon. Your child is going to need a healthy mom. Do you have help lined up for when the baby is born? I had horrific back problems with my second pregnancy so i understand how frightened you might be. Stya here as long as you need too....We'll do our best to support you.

marie

Re: thorough advice copied from someone else!

Suzanne D on 5/13/03 at 12:29 (118538)

Sarah, Judy S. posted such a good, thorough message some days ago. I DO hope she won't mind my copying it here for you. As I said earlier, I am pressed for time, but having a short break now and seeing that you still need some information, I am taking the liberty to copy Judy's earlier post with the hopes that it provides you with some needed information.

Good luck!
Suzanne :)

Below is Judy's advice:

First, and most important, put yourself in charge of this. Because the fact is that, even though it doesn't feel like it, you really are in charge, your feet aren't.
Second, follow religiously what we refer to as the traditional methods of treatment.
They are: Stretching in the morning before you get up. You know that the first steps in the morning are the most painful and, in fact, the most damaging because your feet have had all night to stiffen up. Remember, this stretching is for the sake of warming up the muscles/tendons, not for the sake of actually stretching them out. There's a huge difference. There is a section on this website with AM stretching information provided by a woman named Julie. It's perfect. Many feel that PF is caused by a tightening/shortening of the calf muscle which in turn 'pulls' on the Plantar Fasciitis. Because the PF is a tendon it cannot stretch the way the calf muscle can. That's why you'll find so many PF stretchs that target the calf area.
Also stretch another two or three times a day. Here's a warning - make all of your stretching non weight-bearing. That is, don't do the wall stretch, don't do the Step Stretch (I'm sure your doc has given those stretches to you by now). Everyone here has learned that the hard way. And remember that you're stretching just to keep loose for now - not to actually be aggressive about getting those muscles longer. Julie's stretches, plus the towel stretch, etc. are perfect.
Also, ice your feet regularly - a few times a day. The absolute easiest way to do that is with the gel ice wraps you can get at a drugstore. They're great. Remember though, don't get up and walk around for 5 or ten minutes after you've iced. Maybe you could do the icing while the baby is napping.
Take Ibuprofen regularly - it's an anti-inflammatory and PF is not a mystery - it's an inflammation. It becomes chronic because we must be on our feet constantly.
About shoes - a lot of folks here swear by Birkenstocks. Some of us find other brands that we like like Clarks, Josef Seibel, Ecco....but they're all expensive. And well worth it. You may notice that I haven't mentioned athletic shoes. Some of us feel that athletic shoes are just too soft and can only wear them for a couple of hours at a time. It's also a good idea to switch your shoes once or twice a day.
When you get your nite splint it will be a little bit of a challenge at first but try not to fight it. Let us know what kind you get because we've had them all! If you find it too difficult at first during the night, then use it for a couple of hours in the evenings if you're sitting and watching TV. Don't worry, you'll get used to it and it really is helpful. It's purpose is to keep your foot at 90 degrees during the night to help keep the PF from stiffening and to help 'stretch' the calf area.
There is an ongoing discussion here about rest - how much is enough, how much is too much. I went from one extreme to another with that - at first I made my problem really bad by continuing to run, play ball, etc. That wasn't smart. But I also found, as have a few others, that too much rest is also bad. It leads to atrophy and it allows the PF and other muscles to stiffen up too much. Sometimes we get to the point where we advise against too much rest but, frankly, you'll draw an understanding based on your own lifestyle. Yes, it will hurt when you're walking around the house and taking care of the baby so you learn to do what is the most important and to let other things go. Just keep in mind that you need to keep the lower legs and feet as limber as you can without making the PF worse. Yes, it's a bit of a balancing act.
There are two schools of thought here about casting. One, it can hold the foot at 90 degrees which forces the elongation of the calf muscle and disallows the contracting/stiffening of the PF. But the other is that it lends itself to atrophy and some of us just wound up in the same PF boat because of weakened muscles. And some of us, like both my husband and myself, walked on the cast anyway.......which of course just didn't help!
Honestly, if you are religious about stretching, icing, Ibuprofen, good shoes, etc, if you set up your own program to follow religiously, you stand a good chance of healing. The problem is that it takes time so patience is the key. Remember, PF is not a mystery, it's an inflammation - just as with any other 'pulled' muscle. It's just that it's at the bottom of your foot and has to work all day! It will not go away overnight but it will, if you work at it, get better gradually. You'll have the occasional good day followed by a day or two of not-so-good days and vice-versa. Many, many podiatrists feel that PF will go away in time - but the time can be quite long.
Some folks, like my husband, choose not to wait for conservative methods to 'work'. He waited the prescribed nine months, then had PF release surgery. He had the MIS procedure and recovered well except that he must use orthotics regularly.
Some folks, like me, wanted to avoid surgery like the plague. I'd read too much about surgery causing other problems so I just didn't want to do it. However, in most cases, surgery is successful. I elected to do three things after (finally) putting myself in charge mentally. One, I became a slave the the above-mentioned traditional therapies. Two, I had a couple of months of a deep massage therapy called ART. Because I'd developed a huge amount of scarring by then, that helped a lot. And, three, I had two ESWT treatments with Dr. Z in New Jersey. Since then I've continued to be a slave to stretching, icing, Ibuprofen and I can actually go running again. Even though it's just one twelve-minute mile! But at least, after four years, I can lead a normal life and can be up and about all day now instead of just for a half/hour at a time. Like you, there was a time when I couldn't do a darn thing like shopping, standing, walking much, etc. Like you I'd cry just trying to take a shower. I even found myself crawling a few times. Much easier. I honestly don't know how I'd have gone if I hadn't just decided one day to quit 'resting', to quit feeling like a victim of my feet, etc. and to be assertive about my treatment and progress.

Re: PLEASE HELP!!!

Sandra D on 5/13/03 at 13:11 (118544)

Dear Sarah, my heart goes out to you. I just found this web site a few weeks ago and I have already learned so much. Like what exercises not to do and taping. My doctor never even told me about using ice and heat. What you will have to have is patience and I know how hard this must be. God Bless you and I will pray for you.
Sandra

Re: PLEASE HELP!!!

Kathy G on 5/14/03 at 09:33 (118671)

Sarah,

Like everyone here, I am so sorry to read of your difficulties. I can't even imagine how difficult it must be to have PF and a young baby to care for! You've received some great advice from others and I have little to add. I do encourage you to come back to this board for support and advice. No question is stupid and it's amazing how much it helps to hear from people who have 'been there, done that'. It makes one feel so much less isolated.

One thing that hasn't been mentioned is massage. My husband, bless him, uses a cheap lotion he bought at WalMart and occasionally will rub my feet for me at night, when we're watching TV. I find those massages to be just wonderful! Maybe your husband would be willing to do the same!

Hang in there. You will get better. It takes time to find just the right combination of things that works personally. Everyone pretty much agrees that icing, stretching and rest (hard for you!) are most beneficial. After that, it's trial and error to find out what shoes, orthotics, meds, etc. help you. By the way, you said you haven't tried any medications, right? Some people find Vioxx or Celebrex to be helpful; some find it does nothing. If your doctor's willing, it might be worth a try!

Good luck and please come back!

Re: PLEASE HELP!!!

Sarah T. on 5/14/03 at 23:59 (118792)

It's wonderful to hear everyone's support and suggestions. I will certainly try each and every one!! I have an appointment with the pod. June 2...that will be after almost a year of trying to heal...although I must admit, after my cortisone shot I did almost nothing to protect my feet. Now I know better and will continue to return to this site for info and support!

Re: PLEASE HELP!!!

Kathy G on 5/16/03 at 08:56 (118953)

Good luck with the Pod, Sarah and please keep us posted!