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Are both injuries related?

Posted by Cindy N on 12/21/03 at 10:17 (140469)

Hi there

Three months ago I injured my lower back. I've been diagnosed with 2 inflamed discs. Within a day or two of my back injury (I was walking off balance due to back pain) my foot became inflamed and very painful. X-rays showed a heel spur. I've been diagnosed with plantar faciatis.

I've never had a back or foot problem in my life prior to this. Present treatment for my foot consists of custom insoles for my shoes and physio therapy 3 times a week (whirlpool, ultrasound, lazer). To be honest the pain persists.

I have 2 questions. Firstly, do you think that my foot problems arose as a result of my back injury and my walking incorrectly following? Secondly, how long can the healing process be?

Sincerely
Cindy

Re: Are both injuries related?

Julie on 12/21/03 at 15:32 (140494)

Cindy

It really depends upon what kind of back injury you've suffered, but in principle, yes, the two can certainly be related. It's possible one of your damaged discs is pressing on the sciatic nerve, which has branches that supply the lower leg and the foot. That is what triggered my PF three and a half years ago, and my podiatrist was of the opinion that many cases of PF originate with a lower back injury. This is the most likely explanation, I think, but as you suggest, the way you adjusted your gait following the back injury could also have affected your feet.

How long will it take to heal? Again it depends: on how bad it is, and how you treat it. Mine took five months to clear up (long after my back has settled down). You should read the heel pain book (click on the link here) for information and advice about conservative treatments for PF. Don't go barefoot, make sure you always wear good, supportive shoes, and rest your foot as much as you can. You may find taping helpful: there are instructions and illustrations in the heel pain book. Your physical therapist will have prescribed exercises for you. Avoid weight-bearing stretches, but keep mobile with gentle exercise such as the yoga foot exercises (click on yoga).
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Re: PS

Julie on 12/21/03 at 15:33 (140495)

I should have said, I'm not a doctor, but a (previous) fellow sufferer with a similar experience.
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Re: Are both injuries related?

Scott R on 12/21/03 at 18:53 (140508)

I had replied to cindy via email....here were my comments in case the doctors want to review my thoughts for her:

It sounds like it could be related to the back injury, but i do not know if that can cause inflammation in the foot. Pain and tingling, yes, but inflammation i don't know. Also, if the pain after sitting is NOT present after LAYING down for the same amount of time, then i would strongly consider that it IS caused by the back problem.