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Ganglion cyst and plantar fasciitis

Posted by Scott R on 3/09/05 at 16:40 (170817)

Hi Scott,
Thanks for taking so much time to give such good
information about plantar fasciitis (PF). I'd like to
share my story about a ganglion cyst that mimicked PF.
It was successfully removed from my ankle 11/04 by my
current podiatrist. The cyst was pressing on a nerve
bundle, mimicking not only PF and several other foot
problems (Achilles tendonitis, bursitis, nerve
entrapment, neuropathy and tarsal tunnel syndrome).
Last spring (5/04), when my former doctor, an
orthopedist specializing in feet, supposed to be one
of the best in the country, diagnosed me with PF, I
found your website and read it, believing that I truly
had PF. I did what he recommended and what you
recommended, then after several months, when the pain
didn't go away, he gave up on me. Originally I went
to him in 11/03 because of a heel fracture (developed
in 9/03, probably from running on concrete) that was
still causing me problems and I needed advice on how
to treat it. My first orthopedist was not very bright
and simply told me to wear a boot, ignoring my concern
for swelling and extreme pain between 9/03 and 11/03.

By 6/04, my heel was causing excruciating pain and I
had to use crutches to walk any distance further than
100 feet, otherwise I needed a cane. The foot
orthopedist finally referred me to another doctor who
does ESWT but since this doctor was very far from
home, I decided to find a podiatrist closer to home
that did ESWT and it's the best decision I have ever
My current podiatrist listened to my symptoms and said
that although it sounds like PF, it also sounds like
something else is going on, like nerve entrapment, but
he wanted me to try orthotics, physical therapy and an
anti-inflammatory that is known for helping PF. My
former orthopedist had not prescribed any of these
even though I requested it. Three months later, I
discovered Z-Coil shoes (the only things that really
helped me to function normally and worth every penny
and more) and was able to walk without crutches for
several blocks. The Z-Coils literally changed my life
at that time because I no longer needed crutches or a
cane. The inflammation seemed to decrease, things
seemed to be getting better because I was still taking
it slow but eventually, the pain came back with
increased activity (because the cyst was still there).
This time, my podiatrist sent me for an MRI (11/04)
to a place where he knew the doctor reading the films
was an excellent radiologist. He found a 2.5 cm
ganglion cyst, which was very obvious on the films,
deep in a nerve bundle, wreaking all sort of havoc on
surrounding tissues. It had to be removed surgically.
This radiologist who read my MRI in 11/04, compared
it to two previous MRIs (9/03 and 5/03) prescribed by
my former doctors who barely looked at them, but
mainly read the accompanying reports. When he
compared, he said that the cyst looked the same on the
previous MRIs even the one from 9/03! Sure enough,
when I checked them, now that I knew what to look for,
there was a white glob that was referred to as 'mild
ankle effusion' by the radiologist who read them. I
had asked each of my other doctors what the
radiologist meant in her report by 'mild ankle
effusion' and they simply said it's swelling and not
to worry about it.
It made me sick to think that the first two MRIs were
ignored by my doctors because of negligence by the
radiologist, and ignorance by the doctors and that I
went for over a year with this pain and was
undiagnosed, then misdiagnosed. This did not only
cause physical pain, it caused numerous problems at my
job, my home life, my relationships with everyone
around me and my emotional well being. No one thought
there was anything really wrong with me, that plantar
fasciitis couldn't possibly be causing me to need
crutches, that I was making it up for attention and
only to get short term disability from work. Nothing
could have been further from the truth. I had been a
very active person, I was training for a marathon and
when I fractured my heel, I took up cycling to avoid
impact. I simply would not stop because 1) I love
exercise 2) I believed my doctor when he said riding
my bike wouldn't hurt the PF, but now that I know
there was a cyst, I think the bike probably aggravated
it. But I won't get into any more details about the
issue of how the doctors helped to prolong my agony.
It's been nearly four months since I had the cyst
removed, and I am feeling more like a normal person
again, I can go grocery shopping and on other errands,
and am able to walk two miles about once a week, on
top of my commute of half a mile a day and my usual
walking at work, without too much pain. I still wear
the Z-Coils because there continues to be a lot of
swelling around both sides, rear and bottom of my heel
for which I take Indocin and also Neurontin for the
burning in my sural nerve which was pressed on by the
cyst and now by the swelling. My podiatrist is
hopeful that things will continue to improve over the
next few months and that I will be able to run again,
go on long walks, and return to a normal life and I
believe him.
I hope that sharing this story will help someone else
who has been misdiagnosed but will not give up trying
to find an understanding doctor who pays attention and
makes a correct diagnosis.
Julie Z

Re: Ganglion cyst and plantar fasciitis

Terri on 3/10/05 at 15:18 (170896)

Thanks for giving hope to those of us that have seem some of the 'best' medical professionals in the country and still continue to suffer with no resonable explanation.