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 have been suffering PF in my right foot for 3 ½  years.  I have tried the PT, orthotics, injection, a walking (boot) cast and even shock therapy, all with only temporary relief at best.  Currently in a fiber cast, half way thru 6 weeks on crutches.  How was your foot after the stint in the hard cast?   If this treatment isn’t effective for me, I have only surgery as may last resort. 

I would love to be able to return to running, but just pain-free walking would be a great result.



Ttw said:

Hi! I suffered with pf In my left foot for a year. When I stopped running and did 10 weeks of PT, It went away. I started running again and with in six weeks, I started feeling it in my right foot. After starting PT and not responding, my doc put on a plaster cast. I have 5 days left. Has anyone ever had a hard cast that worked? My heel was so bruised that he felt there were no other options. I also am now starting to feel the pf coming back in my other foot, because of the crutches and pressure of not using my right foot. I feel like there is no cure and an endless cycle. I am normal weight. However, I exercise like crazy...or I did. I will never be able to run again. But, I hope I can find something to do.
Karla,
Sadly, the cast did not help at all. Six weeks in the cast and another four in the walking boot. Don't waste your time! If surgery were an option for me, I would have done it weeks ago. Unfortunately, not many doctors want to operate for this condition.
I started PT again, and felt better after about four weeks. I continued for four more. I still suffer everyday, but not as bad. Sadly, I do not run anymore. I have an appointment with the top surgeon in this area in July. Hopefully, he will be able to help me.
Good luck! Let me know how you are doing.
Hi Linda, What style of Brooks shoes do you wear? I've seen some high recommendations for PureCadence and have been planning to buy some. Something has to be better than what I'm wearing now. I definitely sympathize with you and Kim. I've had PF for about 5-6 years now, but it has gotten progressively and noticeably worse in the last three. I've seen two sports medicine orthos, wear orthotics, stretch, and use the Inferno energy web wrap and saw some relief over the winter. However, now that spring is here and I'm on my feet a lot more (have a small farm), it's back with a vengeance. It's so discouraging to always be thinking about the pain. Congratulations on losing so much weight. It sounds like the strict exercise regimen might have been a little too much for your feet, though! That's what is so discouraging -- loss of enjoyment of doing things we love! My husband and I used to play pickleball at the Y 3 times a week and I haven't been able to play at all for 6 months! I'm looking forward to hearing about your Brooks athletic shoes since you mentioned them specifically several times.

Hi Marie.

I wear Brooks Adrenaline.  If you can, go to a shop that specializes in running shoes and get fitted.  I found that was the best way to get the right shoes.  I went to Achilles Running Shop.

Good luck!

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