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Three Years Later - Same Surgery/Different Foot (PF/Nerve)

Posted by Scott M. Reeves on 4/20/04 at 12:20 (149224)

Hello to my fellow foot researchers, patients, and doctors. I am back here because I had surgery on my other foot almost three years to the day of my first surgery (good thing I am out of feet to operate on).

Vitals/Patient Info:

Gender/Age: Male, 36 years young
Surgeries: PF release and nerve entrapment correction February 2001 for the left foot and February 2004 for the right foot
Health: Excellent, no other medical conditions
Non-Invasive Treatment: everything else including ESWT

To read my other posts from 2001, use the search tool and type Scott2 for the search criteria. I posted my comments under that name. You'll get a lot of other messages, but my core ones are there between February 2001 and 2002 including 30, 60, 90, six-month and one year status reports.

This post is long and covers my thoughts/reflections for my most recent surgery and comparisons to the first one three years ago.

I mention in many of these posts how pain started developing in my non-surgery foot and I was never able to completely get rid of it and eventually it got worse.

I tried ESWT about a year ago for what was diagnosed as plantar fascitis that was not responding to other treatments (ibuprofen, night splint, rest, ice, orthotics, cortisone shots). It was pretty much the same thing as the other foot.

Personally, I do not think the doctor that did the ESWT was thorough and was in it more for the money, but that's another story. I just say it here so others know that it's a treatment that is met with varying degrees of success and is very specific to one's condition.

It was something I tried because I trusted the doctor's opinion and it was non-invasive. After all of the rehab I did for it, nothing improved and it got worse. Then on one of my visits after no improvement, he decided to give me an injection of another steroid that backfired even more. This doctor only met with me maybe two times throughout my rehab and to resort to an injection after ESWT proved to me he had no answers.

In his defense, I will say part of the reason it did not work is because I had nerve problems that was separate from the plantar fascia. I think my right foot did have some plantar fascitis to a degree, but it was more nerve-related than anything else.

I went back to my podiatrist who did the surgery on my left foot for PF and nerve entrapment in 2001. His name is Dr. Richie in Los Alamitos, CA. He is a wonderful doctor and I highly recommend him.

The same surgery was performed on my right foot, February 13, 2004. The surgery went well and the doctor said my nerve was in a worse position as compared to my left foot surgery in 2001 to the best of his memory.

My rehab and recovery this time has gone much better mainly because I was able to take a week off of work and I stayed off of my feet in a supine position. As a result, I was able to get to the walking stage much faster. My incision healed a lot quicker and I had most of the stitches removed one week after surgery.

IMPORTANT REHAB NOTE: The first week is critical and staying off your feet in a supine position with your feet up is highly recommended from my experience with doing this and not doing this. In 2001, I needed to go back to work the following week after three days. Don't try to be a hero even if you feel like you can do more. Read, watch TV/movies, etc but stay off your feet!

After three months, I can ride my road and mountain bike short distances with minor discomfort. My foot still fatigues easily and my walking/standing is limited. I have pain in the heel from the surgery but I am hoping I can start running again in early June.

As with my other surgery, I have done my own rehab including stretching, strengthening, icing, and massage.

I do not think I will ever be 100% again with my feet and standing still will always be a problem because of stress it puts on my feet. But what I can do that I could not do if I did not have surgery is run, hike, and participate in short triathlons (which I did before the heel pain started).

The original pain in late 1999 started when I was training for a marathon and I may have to scratch doing one of those off my list for the future. I wear orthotics to work and use a more cushioned version when I exercise.

If any of you would like to ask me any questions about my two surgeries, please feel free to respond and I will do my best to answer your questions. I would like to point out once again as I do in most of my posts that this condition is very unique to each person based on many factors (age, activity, current health, walking gait, one's anatomy, lifestyle, etc.). Take the information everyone here has to offer and use it to the best of your ability keeping in mind that something that worked for someone else may not work for you and vice versa.

One other piece of advice I give you is to exhaust all other methods of non-invasive surgery before doing surgery (this may include ESWT even though I had a poor experience). Go through the stages of resting and icing your foot, wearing orthotics, possibly using a night splint or casting, tests (x-rays, MRI, nerve conduction, bone scan, etc.), cortisone shots and if all that fails and you are miserable, then do surgery. I know it's hard with money, time and insurance so it's different for each person.

Thanks for listening and may you all enjoy good health.

Re: Three Years Later - Same Surgery/Different Foot (PF/Nerve)

penny on 4/26/04 at 15:55 (149579)

I am just recently diagnosis with TTS and have been on the anti flammatory medication and wearing a brace on right foot for a month and half. My foot so far is not any better. When it first started I was not really sure of why my foot was hurting.. I have always been very active and now going to a store shoping is painful, about 10 min in a store and I am ready to leave. I am used to going to the gym, walking and weight bearing excerise. Now it has been since December since I have been to the gym on a regular basis. How long is it suggested to try the non surgical tech before giving up? I have read some of the artical and I am concerned that for some the surgeries has not helped. I would like to get back to my routine. I try to stay off my feet in the evening and ice, as to massage my foot is to painful to touch. Can you give me any insight.

Thanks

Re: Three Years Later - Same Surgery/Different Foot (PF/Nerve)

Pat S on 5/02/04 at 19:33 (149916)

My husband is scheduled for TTS surgery and we are scared but it is his only option. He has SEVERE plantar fascia and this is the first doctor who has given him any hope of living a normal life. Your suggestions in your article about after surgery are helpful. If you were to do it again, is it worth it??? My husband has been off work for three years now and went through all the conventional treatments with no help. Mayo CLinic says they know of only one other case as bad as his. If he doesn't have surgery, the foot will only get worse. What to we expect in the days after surgery? I have read: keep foot elevated, keep up on the pain medication, take Vitamin C; etc. Anything else to help with recovery?
thanks for your comments.

Re: Three Years Later - Same Surgery/Different Foot (PF/Nerve)

Scott M. Reeves on 5/12/04 at 15:39 (150476)

Pat,

The key right after surgery is to stay off your feet and keep the feet elevated at heart level. Only get up when it is absolutely necessary. Take meds as needed and ice pain increases.

After the third day, sitting up is ok, but the foot should be elevated to at least hip level and staying off of it as much as possible is still highly recommended.

When I had my left foot done three years ago, I had to go back to work after three days and my recovery took much longer than my most recent surgery to my right foot because I stayed home for an entire week.

You cannot rush through or work through the pain on this type of surgery. You have to let the surgery and affected tissue heal properly or it will always bother you.

Would I do it again? Absolutely. The left foot was a success from three years ago and this one I feel will be too. I also ran out of non-invasive options so surgery was something that I wanted to do.

Re: Three Years Later - Same Surgery/Different Foot (PF/Nerve)

Scott M. Reeves on 5/12/04 at 15:45 (150477)

Penny,

Sorry I cannot be more specific but your recovery and time table varies based on what you do, past history, and the severity of your injury.

I can tell you my heel pain started on my left foot in December of 1999 and I finally had surgery on it in February of 2001.

Then my right foot started shortly after that and I had surgery three years later. For both, I exhausted the non-invasive methods. That's what you have to do first and it takes time to do this as well as allowing proper rest time.

In the mean time, you can still go to the gym and exercise - just minimize or find alternatives to weight bearing exercises. This was really hard for me because I enjoyed running and playing basketball. But it's something I had to do to get through this period.

I still am six weeks away from any type of light running, but it is worth this time if I can get it back and run pain-free or even minimal pain as compared to before surgery.

Hope that helps.

scott