Plantar Fasciitis

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New to the forum! Young, and in extreme bilateral pain.

Hello all!

I'm new to the forum- new to any forum, in fact!

I am in my early 20's and have been dealing with SEVERE pain in both of my feet, and mild to severe pain in both ankles, for over a year.

I have worked in retail or restaurants since I was 15, always on my feet, not wearing proper shoes, so for a while I just chalked my pain up to that. Major pain started about two years ago and has gotten worse in the past year. I then realized that "normal" pain does not usually put other people completely out, unable to walk, and sobbing uncontrollably pretty much...all of the time. Pretty pathetic right?

I have been to 5 different doctors. I have tried orthotics, night splints, cortisone shots, tennis ball exercises, compression socks, physical therapy, a billion different kinds of NSAIDS, and now I am on a pain killer (tramadol) and nerve medicine (neuropin). They help a little bit more more than NSAIDs, but not by much.

The biggest issue with my pain is that my x-rays show my feet to be completely normal. I was able to get one MRI (my insurance would only cover one) and it only showed mild PF-- it did not explain the extent of pain I am in. I was starting to think I was crazy, or just a wuss. But the pain can be sharp, stabbing, throbbing, deep aching, burning, pins and needles, etc, to the point where after a long shift at work (on my feet) I go home, and do nothing but rest. I haven't been able to run, hike, do things that I love for a while now, and every day is a struggle. I haven't walked on completely pain free feet in so long, I'm not sure what it would feel like. The most days I've been able to have completely off of work and school was 3, and even then I was still in a tremendous amount of pain. 

 

My most recent doctor, a wonderful orthopedic podiatrist, had said that there are a number of people, especially women, my age who are dealing with this mysterious life-debilitaing pain. He was able to give me a 6 month handicapped placard, which has helped tremendously, as if I worked a long shift at work, I would at times be unable to make it to my car if I parked far away. I would have to stop in the middle of a dark parking garage, attempt to sit down or stretch my feet, then continue, stop, and repeat. When I am not standing, my arches appear to be normal, maybe even a little high, but when I put weight on them, they completely flatten out, especially my right.

Bilateral pain is normally associated with rheumatoid arthritis. My bloodwork had normal results, only a vitamin D deficiency- which is extremely common where I live. I have had nerve tests done (two separate times) on both of my feet, ankles, and back. All normal.

My plantar fascia is thick and tight, but not inflamed (this is what I was told, I'm not sure what the difference is!). My MRI was taken early in the morning when I hadn't been on my feet, and I'm not sure if I got another one later in the day if it would have different results..but like I said, my insurance is very tough with MRIs.

My physiatrist said she would order an MRI of my back just make sure that I didn't have something going on in my spine that the nerve tests were unable to pick up. I'm going to see my ortho podiatrist again, and he had initially said if nothing else worked, plantar fascia release surgery would probably be the best option just to SEE if it would help.

I'm sorry for this novel-long post, it is just so frustrating, and I'm wondering if anyone, ANYONE has had a similar experience or can offer any advice. My poor family and boyfriend have been so understanding and supportive, but I know they cannot understand the type of pain or frustration I am experiencing. I am 23 years old and I am ready to give up. There are times I wish so much that I had a wheelchair, just so I can sit and not be in as much pain all the time. I try not to think like that, I know I am so lucky to even have feet at all, but I am missing out on so many things in my young life, I just don't know what to do. Again, I'm sorry for the sob story, I just hope someone can offer some advice or consolation. 

Thank you.

-Kate

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Hi Kate, 

I am sorry you are so debilitated and at your age.  I think I have a very similar presentation and history to yours, but I am older and I work sitting down.  My pain didn't start til my late 40's.  Like you, I have tried virtually everything.  Some days I am "out of my mind" with the pain. I am now having shock wave therapy but I don't hold out much help. (No relief at all after treatment one -it made it a lot worse for 5 days after. My feet were not happy!)  If shock wave doesn't work I will very carefully consider the PF release surgery but I am wary of the risks especially due to it possibly making the foot unstable.  According to my podiatrist, I have hypermobile  and flat feet. This has stressed my feet and I unfortunately I had crummy orthotics.  I have better orthotics now and have a lot of confidence in my podiatrist.  I wear my orthotics pretty much all the time and good sneakers. I suggest follow all the advice and educate yourself about the condition.  I was a bit slack and got confused.  I've been told different things to begin with (like it was neuropathic pain and I had to rewire my brain) which it probably is in part as pain sets up habitual neural pathways.   Chronic Pain Australia (where I live)  has a good video about this mechanism.  They say try to relax as well.  Yes hard I now.

If you need a wheelchair when you're out ,then grab one.  You can phone ahead and book one.  I couldn't do stuff like art galleries, shopping at the mall etc, without one.

Like you, my PF is not inflamed but has "thickened", according to the MRI.  I was told it has thickened due to chronic inflammation over the years.

Keep going and maybe consider doing a job where you don't  have to be on your feet as much.    When my feet weren't as bad I totally pushed myself and did a lot of  walking on a trip away. I am pretty much disabled after that.  I sit 98% of the time (even to brush my teeth).   The rest of me is well, so I count my blessings but I still complain.  Emotional support is vital, so you are lucky.   I hope some of this helps.

Dee

Thank you so much for your kind words and advice. I have heard good and bad things about shockwave therapy, so your experience is helpful. Keep me updated on your progress! I have an appointment with my ortho podiatrist this week to discuss PF surgery. I'm also wary of the risks but I'm afraid it's the only option left!!

Hang in there, here's hoping to some happier feet for the both of us!!


Dee McShan said:

Hi Kate, 

I am sorry you are so debilitated and at your age.  I think I have a very similar presentation and history to yours, but I am older and I work sitting down.  My pain didn't start til my late 40's.  Like you, I have tried virtually everything.  Some days I am "out of my mind" with the pain. I am now having shock wave therapy but I don't hold out much help. (No relief at all after treatment one -it made it a lot worse for 5 days after. My feet were not happy!)  If shock wave doesn't work I will very carefully consider the PF release surgery but I am wary of the risks especially due to it possibly making the foot unstable.  According to my podiatrist, I have hypermobile  and flat feet. This has stressed my feet and I unfortunately I had crummy orthotics.  I have better orthotics now and have a lot of confidence in my podiatrist.  I wear my orthotics pretty much all the time and good sneakers. I suggest follow all the advice and educate yourself about the condition.  I was a bit slack and got confused.  I've been told different things to begin with (like it was neuropathic pain and I had to rewire my brain) which it probably is in part as pain sets up habitual neural pathways.   Chronic Pain Australia (where I live)  has a good video about this mechanism.  They say try to relax as well.  Yes hard I now.

If you need a wheelchair when you're out ,then grab one.  You can phone ahead and book one.  I couldn't do stuff like art galleries, shopping at the mall etc, without one.

Like you, my PF is not inflamed but has "thickened", according to the MRI.  I was told it has thickened due to chronic inflammation over the years.

Keep going and maybe consider doing a job where you don't  have to be on your feet as much.    When my feet weren't as bad I totally pushed myself and did a lot of  walking on a trip away. I am pretty much disabled after that.  I sit 98% of the time (even to brush my teeth).   The rest of me is well, so I count my blessings but I still complain.  Emotional support is vital, so you are lucky.   I hope some of this helps.

Dee

Hello Kate,

There are various underlying causes for plantar fasciitis.  It sounds like you and your doctors have tried a lot of the usual treatments, but there's still some tricks you can try.  I would like to offer you my ebook free of charge that has a number of home treatment methods and hopefully you'll find some of them helpful.  You (and anyone else reading this) can use the coupon code SM95Q  (it's good for the next month) at Smashwords to get my ebook, Plantar Fasciitis Exercises and Home Treatment for free in whatever format you prefer.  If you do find it helpful, all I ask is that you consider leaving a review for the book at Amazon, Smashwords, or any other book site you like. 

 

Good luck!

 

George Best, D.C.

Hi Kate,

Sorry to hear what a terrible time you've been having with your PF. I read that you have many different things to help relieve the pain you've been experiencing and just to be able to walk pain free and I how how frustrating that can be. There is a type of therapy for plantar fasciitis that is FDA approved and has proven to work. People on this forum have discussed the therapy at length and many have had great success with it.  It is called blood flow stimulation therapy, it uses electro magnetic waves to increase the blood flow to your plantar muscle while you are resting, in order to help it heal.  Blood flow is how our body heals all injuries so this is a very natural type of therapy that was previously only available at physical therapists or in sports medicine.  I'm not trying to sell you anything, or convince you of anything.

If you've tried many other therapies and are looking here for help, I wonder if you'd be willing to try one more thing.

Just check out their website and get more info on it. The company is called King Brand Healthcare.

Good luck Chica, and don't EVER give up...you deserve to walk pain free and lead a normal pain free life!!

Kate-
I can relate, except that my PF was only in my right foot, not both. I too went to a series of doctors,, the OS that treated my foot fracture (which I believe was the initial cause of my PF), and one podiatrist after another. Physical therapy/home exercises, frequent icing and the expensive custom orthotics did not help much. Even after trying 8 weeks in a camwalker orthopedic boot for I was still limping and could not run at all. Eventually I tried the Shock Wave Therapy (expensive, not covered by my insurance) and that didn’t significantly relieve my PF either.

I was at my wits end with surgery seeming to be my only option when I found a new podiatrist that recommended gentle stretching of my plantar fascia with total rest of my foot itself. This involved 8 weeks last summer with my right foot in a cast (a series of 4 casts actually), all of it on crutches, all non-weight bearing.

But, the good news is that the cast treatment really worked for me. After I got the last cast off in June 2013 I had a short period physical therapy and that was it. But soon I was walking pretty much normally and back to regular activities, pain free! A year later I am even running again and I am keeping my fingers crossed that this treatment has finally succeeded where the others have failed. I am still wearing orthotics and sleeping in the night splint to try to maintain the gains from the cast treatment and wearing only sensible shoes—no flip flops :( —but overall living a pretty normal, pre-PF life.

I know this would be a pretty severe treatment for you since you are suffering in BOTH your feet, but I am certainly pleased with my results. Good luck!

Karla



Karla Perez said:

Karla,
Could I please have the name of your podiatrist and a rough cost of your treatment
Clive
Kate-
I can relate, except that my PF was only in my right foot, not both. I too went to a series of doctors,, the OS that treated my foot fracture (which I believe was the initial cause of my PF), and one podiatrist after another. Physical therapy/home exercises, frequent icing and the expensive custom orthotics did not help much. Even after trying 8 weeks in a camwalker orthopedic boot for I was still limping and could not run at all. Eventually I tried the Shock Wave Therapy (expensive, not covered by my insurance) and that didn’t significantly relieve my PF either.

I was at my wits end with surgery seeming to be my only option when I found a new podiatrist that recommended gentle stretching of my plantar fascia with total rest of my foot itself. This involved 8 weeks last summer with my right foot in a cast (a series of 4 casts actually), all of it on crutches, all non-weight bearing.

But, the good news is that the cast treatment really worked for me. After I got the last cast off in June 2013 I had a short period physical therapy and that was it. But soon I was walking pretty much normally and back to regular activities, pain free! A year later I am even running again and I am keeping my fingers crossed that this treatment has finally succeeded where the others have failed. I am still wearing orthotics and sleeping in the night splint to try to maintain the gains from the cast treatment and wearing only sensible shoes—no flip flops :( —but overall living a pretty normal, pre-PF life.

I know this would be a pretty severe treatment for you since you are suffering in BOTH your feet, but I am certainly pleased with my results. Good luck!

Karla

I've been suffering from turf toe for a while, and finally bought the Orthofeet BioSole-Gel orthotics. They helped with discomfort immediately, and easily fit into most of my shoes--I just remove the footbeds that come with the shoe before inserting the orthotics. I wore them yesterday to walk my dog, and they were very comfortable.

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