Home The Book Dr Articles Products Message Boards Journal Articles Search Our Surveys Surgery ESWT Dr Messages Find Good Drs video

Heel spur hell

Posted by Maureen on 5/18/04 at 22:53 (150806)

I have scanned posts on this board for awhile now. I have PF in both feet but my left foot is the worst of the two. I have been under a podiatrists care for over three years time. When my condition began it was mild, and helped with the cortisone injections and rest.

I am now in pain all day practically. It hurts to stand in the shower and I hate baths. I am so tired from the little effort it takes to do anything like stand and do dishes. I am still working at school but it is such a struggle physically. I am trying to make it to summer vacation and get surgery perhaps.

I have tried icing in my foot bath. I wear a great pair of New Balance walking sneakers and custom orthotics that I can't rave enough about. My life is governed by pain and I take ibuprofen constantly and do stretches.

My podiatrist suggested surgery over a month ago. I wanted to look into ESWT at that time. It turns out now that I am insured for the ESWT procedures but since the PF worsened while we waited to hear, I am to the point where I don't want to waste any more time and wonder if surgery is my best bet.

I am going for an MRI of my left foot this weekend (to check for stress fractures) and blood tests to rule out Rheumatoid arthritis and Lymes, etc... I just feel so defeated and tired from tolerating pain all the time. I tried NSAIDS--NAprosen without results in the beginning. I was even given a pain medication which I had a scary allergic reaction to.

Wondering if i should just stop working for June and do the surgery because I hear the recovery takes six weeks.

I think I would want the more invasive surgery--a larger cut --over the endoscopic surgery--my podiatrist said the more invasive had better results--and I definitely want PF release.

Would love to hear from others with PF or cured from PF

Re: Heel spur hell

Steve G on 5/18/04 at 23:19 (150809)

Maureen - Don't consider surgery until you have had a least 2 rounds of ESWT, especially if your insurance will pay. In fact, I am amazed that your pod is will to cut your feet before trying ESWT. I would regard any pod with a treatment approach like that as highly dubious.

Not to scare you but the surgery is serious business and can take up to a year to heal. And all you have to do is read a post like the following to realize that if the surgery does not go well you are in a hell of a fix.


Do yourself a favor and go for the ESWT. There is virtually no risks and it has a higher success rate than surgery

Re: Heel spur hell

Christine on 5/19/04 at 07:28 (150813)

Maureen, Have you checked out my 'surgery 4-16-04- one week later'? I had the larger cut, not endoscopic. It's been a month now, and things are getting a little better, a little stronger, every day. As I said in my post, I work with someone who had pf surgery 2 yrs. ago and is working as a mailman now. My surgeon also did the same surgery on a woman who works at the hospital, and she's doing pretty well, a year later. Remember, every case is unique. I still don't know how much I'll recover, and have heard few horror stories and many success stories. I read that PF surgery has a 70% success rate, when you're in contant pain, exhausted from it, can't walk,and cannot support youself, 70% is much better odds than continuing to be crippled! Good luck and many prayers to you!

Re: Heel spur hell

Kristen on 5/19/04 at 08:05 (150819)


I feel your pain. I have suffered with PF in both feet and 2 heel spurs in each foot for years now. I have been under the treatment of a podiatrist for about a year and have tried everything except for orthodics because of the low success rate and the cost. On April 1st of this year I had an operation. I had my PF cut and my bottom spur removed on my left foot since that one was the worst. Now 6 weeks later I have more pain in the bottom and back of my heel than I did before the operation. Everyone is different and maybe surgery would work for you. I would not recommend it. I can't even stand to do the dishes or anything anymore. It was so hard before to get through a 7 hour work day on my feet, and now I am wondering if I will be able to do it. I go to see my doctor in about 45 min. Just explore all of your options before you go for the surgery. Good Luck and I hope you have much better success than I did.

Re: Heel spur hell

Maureen on 5/19/04 at 14:34 (150856)


You said that you had your PF cut and the bottom spur removed --does that mean that the PF part was released???? I am still waiting to try shock wave therapy when the insurance is verified. I feel like you--that work is nearly impossible and I have to take turns with one day doing dishes and next day doing laundry (because my laundry room is in the basement).. I feel my family is sick of hearing me moan about my feet and coworkers are not happy either--but on the other hand--they don't want me going out on disability. One comment was 'Perhaps you can get a walking cast or one of those scooter things' My husband pushes me to keep going, keep moving because we need the income. Did you ever try shockwave therapy???

Re: Heel spur hell

Ed Davis, DPM on 5/19/04 at 15:04 (150863)

Surgery is quick and simple (for the doctor) but can take months to heal for the patient. ESWT is a far better option.

Re: Heel spur hell

Kristie on 5/20/04 at 09:04 (150898)


I tried ESWT it really din't seem to work for me. But everyone is differnt. That's why I ended up having the surgery. Best of Luck making your decision.

Re: Heel spur hell

Kristen on 5/20/04 at 14:19 (150914)


Yes, the PF was released. When I went to the doctor yesterday he said that alot of the swelling I had went down and that the PF was not as tight as what it was. I have a walking cast that paid $350 for because insurance would not cover it. After a little while my foot started to hurt as bad in that as it was without it. But that's what he wants me to do again for the next few weeks while trying another new medication. It is really hard to not complain about it. My husband and I have arguments on a regular basis because he expects me to do more than I am capable of anymore. Boy I wish even if for just one day we could let the people we know feel how bad this is so that they understand. Leaving work was very hard for me because I am highly relied upon. My boss is so relieved to have me back in a week and a half. I just hope I can do it. My laundry room is in the basement also..I am so tired of getting clothes that had too much detergent added to them.
I have not tried shockwave therapy, but I went through physical therapy for about with ultrasoud machines, icing, stretching, the whole nine yards and it didn't do a thing for me. My insurance probably would not cover it anyway with the stack of medical bills that I have on things they did not cover.

Re: Heel spur hell

Kristie on 5/20/04 at 17:44 (150922)


Look into going on disablity for a while. Get this foot problem under control. Your in this much pain now it;s only going to get worse if you don't take care of yourself.

Also try and make a deal with your husband: he does the laudrey and you do the dishes. I put a chair next the the sink when I was doing the dishes. I would bend my bad foot and rested my knee on the chair.

Re: Heel spur hell

Maureen on 5/21/04 at 05:53 (150941)


I wish I could go on disability. The problem is I work in a school. I only get paid through June 25 and then I am off without pay for July and August. So I will have time to rest if I can make it until June 25. Every day gets harder to maintain a normal lifestyle. I am thinking of printing up some of the posts and PF info online and let my husband read what PF is all about from other people. The strange thing is he has heel spurs too and had the podiatrist make him orthotics--which have been sitting at the doctors office for months now--so he has no clue what true heel spurs can inflict on a person.

The idea about doing the dishes with a chair to rest the sore foot is a wonderful idea and I plan to try this. I got the confirmation from the podiatrists office for the ESWT but unfortunately the nurse who does the claims and scheduling there never returned my call yesterday--I have questions of where they are doing this--did I get approved for high or low density, etc... Tomorrow is the MRI for the left foot too.

My 23 yr old daughter graduates on Sunday and it is an all day affair outside at the college with crowds of people. I know I will be suffering all day with my feet but have to attend and try to sit as much as I can.

Thanks for all the support!!! It means alot!!


Re: Heel spur hell

Julie V on 5/28/04 at 12:39 (151484)

Maureen, I had the surgery for my heel spur on May 13, 2004. I am also a teacher and plan to return to work on June 7. The stitches came out on May 26 and so far everything is going well. Yes there has been quite a lot of pain, (the pain medication is a great help along with the anti-inflammitory meds) but after over a year of constant pain, this is do-able. I have had more problems trying to stay immoble. You sound like you have help at home, that is good. If you are off work for the summer (I start summer school on June 21) you should be doing pretty well by the time school starts again in the fall. My doctor said most patients have continuing pain and problems because they try to walk too soon. My only advise is to take advantage of the time off this summer and get over the major disabled period when you can be off work. You will be on crutches for quite awile and parcially impared (my doctor gave me a six month disabled parking plackard and said I was to use it, stay off my feet and use the crutches until he told me to stop) In other words take the time to fully recover and let your body heal. Good Luck.

Re: Heel spur hell

Maureen on 5/28/04 at 19:45 (151512)


I was curious if you had the high density shock wave therapy before resorting to the surgery??? It appears I was approved for this therapy and will be doing it soon.

Re: Heel spur hell

BarbaraM on 5/30/04 at 22:37 (151612)

Just had the endoscopic plantar fasciotomy on my right foot. couldnt take the pain. It's been 2 days so far since surgery..so far all is going smoothly.

Re: Heel spur hell

Lisa H on 6/01/04 at 03:10 (151671)

I had EPF surgery on my right foot on May 19. I had about 2 inches of gauze over the incisions, my foot was wrapped in an ace bandage, was given slipper-socks and a cast boot.

My pod told me to keep my foot elevated for the most part, but to get up every two hours to prevent blood clots. Ew.

My stitches will come out on Thursday. Yay! :D

As for complications...

Had a reaction to the tape. Minor skin irritation.
Muscles in my right calf were sore from limping.
Achilles tendon still feels tight.

Of course most of those aren't really complications....They're just annoying.

I think it was harder on me when I had the EPF on my left foot in October. This time I knew what to expect and how to take care of myself.

Good luck to you!

Re: Heel spur hell

Terry on 6/07/04 at 07:52 (152200)

I had the same situation and the orthopeadic doctor gave me a cortisone shot which almost immediately removed the pain...I have bee pain free for 1 week now..I had been in pain for almost 6m onths...have you tried the cortisone shot? The orthopeadic doctor stated that he refuses to do surgeries for this...according to him it does not make a difference. the spur is not what causes the pain it is the PF.

Re: Heel spur hell

Maureen on 6/07/04 at 16:31 (152271)

In response to Terry: YES I have had many cortisone shots, usually making my foot better for a day or two, but then it would just start hurting again. I am still waiting to find out when the Shockwave will be--but thank goodness--some of the pain has alleviated to where I am not so crippled I can't think of anything but the pain. I am not taking Ibuprofen every few hours like before. Still, I need the shockwave because the PF can get debilitating at times.

I have been trying to lose some weight doing a semi-Atkins diet. At lunchtime at work, I eat no carbs if I can help it and I have seen my clothes getting slightly looser so very excited on this front. I haven't totally eliminated carbs, just reduced them.

Re: Heel spur hell

Christine on 6/11/04 at 20:05 (152789)

I had PF surgery on Apr.16, on my right foot.I'd asked my Dr. if hecould do both feet at the same time; he said no- that I'd literally need to have a leg to stand on and get around. So I had the plantar fascia cut about 1/3 of the way across my right foot.Got a similar wrapping and open-toed boot. My doctor said he would not remove the heel spur. For the first month after, I felt depressed, as if I'd never walk normally again, wondering if I'd have to sell my home (a tri-level). But realize that the meds (Percocet, then Vicodin)and the continuing swelling and pain at the incision site are what's caused this. My Dr. said to pull up on my toes immediately- to stretch the tendon into its new position, and I'd think, to keep some scar tissue from forming. (The pain was gone immediately from the area from the incision site to my big toe- yay! some relief) But I asked about therapy and he said, no. I decided to rub the incision site with hand cream, because the nerves felt 'wierd' and it seems to have made a difference. I got so tired of the crutches and hopping around that I resorted to crawling around like a toddler. Much easier and good for stretching the muscles all over your body that are atrophying.
If someone' spouse/family thinks that this surgery is quickly resolved, they're sadly mistaken. I've now talked with 4 people who've had PF surgery (1/3 to 1/2 of the tendon) 1-2 years ago, and they said that it ached to stand for any period of time for about the first YEAR. But that they were now doing much better. And I'm doing much better. Back to doing my own grocery shopping and walking, leaning on a cart, rather than driving the handicapped one. (but thank God for those handicapped carts!!)
Orthotics, individually made, also really helped to allay my surgery for the last couple of years. I still have heel pain, but can get around as long as I have my orthotics in my shoes. I go back to work- limited duty (sitting) for the next 3 weeks. Then PF surgery on the left foot- here we go again!
Has anyone had the Extracorporeal Shock wave treatment on heel spurs? A phys.therapist said they were told that it gives some relief about 1/2 of the time? Anyone??
So hang in there!

Re: Heel spur hell

Pauline on 6/12/04 at 05:59 (152801)

If you read the ESWT board on this site you will find several posts from people that have had ESWT. Some report relief, but we also hear from others that they haven't had any improvement.

You need to read that board for a while and ask questions directly to those people who have had ESWT. Right now there is little insurance coverage for this procedure so like everything else tht you'd pay for yourself, from orthotics to new shoes, one must decide if they want to spend the money.