Plantar Fasciitis

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I have SEVERE Planter's Fasciitis.   I have had this condition on and off for the last six years in both feet.  It is extremely painful.  Honestly, it feels like someone has taken a hammer to the bottom of my heel.  After walking or standing for about 20 minutes, my feet start to throb and the pain gets to be almost unbearable.  If I continue to stay active, the pain will start to tighten up different muscles in my legs and back and I get so uncomfortable that I can't even feel the heel pain.  For now, things have settled down and the pain is primarily in the heel area on both feet.
I've worked with my doctor and we have tried every possible conservative approach to heal the inflammation but we just can't get it to stay away.  RX orthotics, ultrasound treatments, Electro stim, massage, ice, night splints, walking boot, Yoga, acupuncture, rest, cortisone shots, stretching, I've tried going barefoot (against doctors orders), spent hundreds on a variety of shoes and have been to Physical Therapy at least 60 times in the last year. I've had a pattern of having "hope" for a new treatment to work, only to find that it always comes back.  So basically for the last six years I've had times that I have felt no pain, and times that I have had quite a bit of pain. 
 I did have a short period of time that I was able to exercise and lost 25 pounds.  I was able to train for about a year and a half thanks to the wonders of RX anti-inflammatory medication.  After a while, the medication started to irritate my stomach (hence the endoscopy a few weeks ago).  So I had to stop taking that and rely on Physical Therapy and Tylenol, ice and stretching to manage my pain.  However, since October of 2010, the pain went to a new level and we just can't get it to go back down.  It's to the point that  I can't do basic daily activities.  Grocery shopping, house work,  anything that requires me to be on my feet causes pain and leaves my feet throbbing feet at the end of the day.  I have been super grouchy and stressed the last six months.  I have been having problems with depression and anxiety during this time, my body just hurts.
I wasted quite a bit of time with a very conservative podiatrist who didn't seem to take me seriously.  I changed doctors in December and she was floored that I had been allowed to continue with the pain for so long.  She immediately ordered an MRI and confirmed that I have acute/chronic Planter Fasciitis.  So basically my doctor suggested that I have planter's release surgery.  The doctor is going to cut the ligament 50-75% and then cast my foot at a 90 degree angle.  From there, I will be on complete bed rest for the next 2 to 3 weeks depending on how I am healing.  She will then remove the cast and weeks 4 to 7 will consist of being in a walking boot and I will be permitted to walk from one room to the couch, keeping my foot elevated whenever possible.  My goal is to put absolutely NO pressure on my foot during the first three weeks.
There are several different approaches to correcting the problem and as many different approaches to recovery.  Every doctor is different, every theory is different.  This is the third doctor that I have seen and I feel really good about our plan.  The success rate for the surgery is about 85-90%.  I would love to think that I could run again, but realistically, I would be very happy to be able to walk and participate in life without being in constant pain.


I am scheduled to arrive in the hospital at 6:45am in the morning. The doctor said it would take about 15 minutes for the procedure, but obviously I will need time to recover from the anesthesia.  I am hoping to be home by noon.  She said that I should expect quite a bit of pain the first few days.


So here is my current set-up.  I have moved the computer to my bedroom and have a HUGE pile of books and magazines and small projects to keep me busy.  I am only permitted to get up to go to the bathroom or to shower (every three days).  I am not allowed to put any weight on my left foot.  I am planning on using crutches to get to the bathroom.  Sorry if this is too much information, my teenager would be mortified by me sharing this....but hey, we are all here with the same problem and just want to learn from one another.  So, today I spent $40 on a toilet seat riser and borrowed a walker from an older gentleman from our church.  There is no way that I can sit on a toilet without putting both feet on the ground.  The raised toilet seat and walker will allow me to go to the bathroom independently :)  For showering, I have a new bathmat from Bed Bath and Beyond that was $17.  It is thick and form fitting.  I have an old wooden barstool that we are going to put in the shower and we will put a plastic bag over my cast. Hopefully that will work, because I really like to be clean.


A friend of mine emailed many of my friends and told them what I needed the next several weeks.  Anyone who said "oh, let me know if I can help" got the email.  I was really greatful that she did that.  I am married to a very supportive husband who works full-time and have three kids 16, 13 and 10 (all are very active).  Our plan is that my husband will get the kids up and out the door.  Around lunch time I have someone scheduled to come by the house Monday-Friday to visit.  They will either bring lunch, or heat up whatever is in the microwave for me, basically check on me and offer a little social interaction.  At the end of the day, the kids will come home from school and my in-laws and friends will help with the carpooling.


So that's my story.  I'm really anxious about the procedure.  I've heard more bad stories that I have good stories from people who have had PF release surgery....but it's like anything in life, people love to talk about the negative.  My goal in writing about my experience is to (hopefully) provide HOPE to those of you who are living with the constant pain of PF.  This has been an absolutely miserable experience for me.  I just want to get my life back. 


I'll update when I can to let you guys know how it's going.  But right now, I need to go get a snack, I'm NPO (nothing by mouth) after mid-night.

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I'm back home. The surgery went well. My doctor said I had scar tissue in several areas, explained why I wasn't able to ever have it heal in a lengthened position. She made a very small incision on the side of my heel. I amazingly have one stitch. She made a cut from the ball to the heel on the ligament, right down the middle. I had general anesthesia. When I woke up my foot was throbbing with pain.....really throbbing. They gave me four hits of meds, pain gradually left. I have a huge bandage and half cast on my foot. It was really tricky getting up the stairs, felt very woozy. I had to sit on the stairs backwards and left my body up one step at a time while my husband lihfted my leg from behind the knee. I made it to bed and promptly threw up. Slept on and off, keeping the pain meds in my system, I don't want to get behind the pain. Doc said i should do that for a couple of days. My foot feels completely numb right now and I have a really bad headache. Just resting.
gosh you poor thing please keep the updates

Deirdre Hegarty said:
gosh you poor thing please keep the updates
Day 2

I've been home now for about 24 hours. I'm feeling much better. When I came home yesterday I went straight to bed. I took my pain meds every 4 to five hours (even at night). I really didn't want much stimulation, didn't watch tv. Just laid here and dozed. I ate lightly and drank fluids. The real challenge is going to the bathroom. I had on loose fitting, light sweatpants and they worked great. Because I have PF in both feet, I'm having to rely on the foot that I didn't have surgery on to get around on. This means that whenever I'm up, all of my body weight is on that foot. I feel every bit of the weight on that foot. I used crushes to get to the bathroom. But that's challenging bc you do kinda a hop with the foot you rely on. Hopping doesn't feel great on a foot w PF. When I make my way to the toilet, I switch to the walker. I use the walker to position myself. I am so grateful for the toilet seat riser that I bought. It makes a huge difference. After a few attempts using crutches, I've switched to the walker. It's easier for me bc my arms can help with my body weight taking the pressure off my right foot. If I didn't have PF in my right foot crutches would be fine. I have a walking boot that I've used a few times with the crutches. That helped give stability, but was tricky. Still haven figured that out.

I did manage to take a show. Sitting on the barstool was a huge help. Used the walker for stability, again very tricky. Probably should have waited a day to shower. It really wore me out and took a couple of hours to recover.

Right now I am 1.5 hour since my last dose.
Kim, you are a trooper! Thanks for the updates, they really help those of us who are not "there" yet, but contemplating it. Take care of yourself and let us know how each day goes. Hang in there!
Last dose of pain pills. I have an aching feeling on the bottom of my foot near the heel. Sometimes it switches to a stabbing pain. It isn't any worse than a day when my PF flared up and I laid down to get off my feet. I guess I'd rate my pain as a 5 right now. It's very focused on one area, doesn't radiate. I have my foot elevated on pillows with ice behind my Knee. Doc suggested ice there to settle the nerve and cool the blood. My foot isn't numb anymore. I don't know if they put a shot in my foot during surgery or if my swollen foot was pinching a nerve. Either way the numbness is gone. I do have ice under my cast but I can't feel it. I wish I could just stck my whole foot in a bucket of ice.

The healing, staying in bed off you feet is the very boring. I'm sorry if I'm annoying by writing everyday. I just know that anyone who is here reading this, knows the pain of PF. It took me a while to wrap my brain around getting surgery. I hope this information is helpful.
Kim this is SOOOOO helpful!! Did you have the surgery where the doctor does a series of small cuts or just one cut of the facia? Is she a podiatrist or orthopedic surgeon? How long did she say the recover time will be? You can see that I need lots of information and I can't seem to find anyone in my city who has had this done (so far, anyway) and I have lots of questions. THANK YOU for posting your progress! Please keep it up!!
Where do you live? I'm outside of Columbus Ohio. I had been at a small podiatrist practice and moved to a larger one in columbus called "step lively". I did go to an ortho foot and ankle specialist too. the first podiatrist does about 3-5 PF a year. He saw lots of diabetics and his clients were mostly older. The ortho guy did more bone work...he does 1-2 a week. The current doctor does 10 a month. She had a six month plan for people who come to her w PF. If they dont respond then she does the procedure. She said that once you get enough scar tissue, you'll never get it stretched out on your own.

The hardest thing with this problem is that you get new hope for a treatment. It works, then it comes back, you blame yourself, find another treatment, then the cycle starts. I lost six years to these conservative options. I wish I had started with her in the beginning.

In hindsight, knowing what I know now.....I wish I had called several podiatrist offices Or asked specific questions to the doctors I saw. What is your treatment plan, what if this doesn't work? What's next? Do you do surgery? How often do you do it?

I think with anything in life, the more you do it...the better you get at it.

The other thing I learned, is that having a plan and sticking to it with your health is as important as the other plans we have in life. Often times I'd go to the doctor, and feel like my time was wasted. Or progress isn't being made. Or felt that I wasn't being taken serioiusly. When you feel like that with your healthcare, it's time to change doctors. Doctors don't know everything, and if they are not on board with making me feel better, I need to find someone who is.

Thanks for the great advice. Sounds like we've traveled the same road. I live in Omaha Ne. I've seen 2 podiatrists, one I didn't like at all, the second was OK but he was a one-man office. I didnt ask him how often he did surgery, but should have. The last person i saw was an orthopedic surgeon and I went there hoping he would offer other options, but he said surgery within 30 seconds, and then said we'll do both feet at the same time. Whoa! That set off some alarms. And he came highly recommended from nurses who worked for him at one time (not for PF but for other procedures). I got sort of overwhelmed by his jump to surgery that I dismissed him instead of asking questions like how many of these do you do a month. He made it sound like a piece of cake and I wasn't buying it. I have had this on and off for several years, but the last year it came on and never got better so after all the traditional treatments, except shots which I haven't had yet and not sure I will, I am seeking a good surgeon. Please keep sending updates, it helps me better understand what I will have to face if I go that route. Besides, it's great to talk to someone in the same boat, and I want to hear that YOU ARE DOING OK!!

Both at the same time would be really tough. If and that's a big if I heal well and fast, I was thimkin of begging her to do the other in early June. Otherwise I can't do it until next summer. She usually does six months between feet.

Great Info kim thanks a million for that. Over here in (ireland) they will hardly do the op at all, very few, however its the surgeons that wont do it, I dont know but its something to do with scar tissue, been worse after? but if you keep posting I am going to print out and bring on my next visit in 3 months, my foot feels great with the injection, but thats only short lived so instead of enjoying the moment i am already dreading when it wears off. I hope your not in too much pain today, and keep posting


Kim, It's so good to "hear" from you.  I was thinking about you all morning while I was getting ready for work.  I was at Kalahari for the past two days, walking around barefoot and now I'm really paying for it!  It sounds like all of your planning is really working in your favor and you are doing well.  I've been having second thoughts so much lately.  Reading all of your posts is really giving me hope.  It's not normal to be in pain everyday and I've tried all of the therapies for PF (some of them multiple times), there isn't anything new in the treatment arena for PF.  I know that surgery is my last hope.  Like you, I'm going to stick with my recovery routine strictly.  I want this to work for me, no, I need this to work for me.

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