What Is Plantar Fasciitis?
“Plantar fasciitis (PLAN-tur fas-e-I-tis) is one of the most common causes of heel pain. It involves pain and inflammation of a thick band of tissue, called the plantar fascia, that runs across the bottom of your foot and connects your heel bone to your toes.” –Mayo Clinic
Plantar Fasciitis–My Experience
For close to two years I have been receiving treatment for plantar fasciitis. Prior to seeking medical treatment I dealt with the pain for at least 3 years. I have worked in jobs where I was required to be on my feet for long hours and I just assumed that the foot pain was from being on my feet, wearing the wrong shoes, and just getting older.
Plantar fasciitis commonly causes stabbing pain that usually occurs with your very first steps in the morning. Once your foot limbers up, the pain of plantar fasciitis normally decreases, but it may return after long periods of standing or after getting up from a seated position. One of the first symptoms that I remember is getting out of bed in the mornings and my feet and ankles being so stiff. Even today getting out of bed or getting up from the couch after sitting awhile is rough. Each morning I get out of bed and limp and hobble my way to the bathroom.
Two years ago I finally decided that I had dealt with the pain on my own for long enough and I made an appointment with a local podiatrist. At first I thought that this doctor was amazing because I would leave her office and finally have some relief. I soon discovered that relief was short lived and each time I went back the pain free period afterwards got shorter and shorter.
She first began with steriod shots in both of my feet. You want to talk about hurting! I’ve heard grown men scream in pain when that needle would go in their foot. Putting the needle in wasn’t really the worst part. It was when she started moving that needle around hitting those sore spots that the real pain hit. It was enough to make a preacher cuss!
Over a 2 year period I received 8 injections, the majority of them being in my right foot. After receiving several injections I questioned the doctor about the number of injections. I’ve always been told by other doctors that you shouldn’t have more than 3 injections in a 12 month period. The doctor basically brushed off my concerns.
In addition to the steriod shots I wore a walking boot on numerous occasions for weeks at a time, did stretches and exercises at home, physical therapy, iced my feet, bought good shoes, wore custom insoles, took oral steriods, wore heel cups and ankle straps. I used over the counter creams, prescription creams, over the counter pain meds and anti-inflamatory meds as well as prescription strength medicines. I even went to a chiropractor to try and find some relief.
No matter what I did I could not get relief for more than a few days at a time. I would dread standing up because I knew the pain would be so bad. I would cry at night because my feet hurt so bad. At times I couldn’t even stand for my heels to touch the bed because of the pain.
On more than one occasion I asked my doctor what can we do if nothing works. I questioned whether surgery was an option but each time she gave me excuses as to why she did not want to do surgery. There was always “one more thing” that she wanted to try first. I understand that as a doctor she wanted to go with the least invasive treatments first but she was not the one living with the pain!
I finally called my best friend in tears one day because the pain was unbearable. She works at my primary care doctor’s office and she was able to get me an appointment the very next day. After talking to my primary care doctor he suggested that I go to another podiatrist or orthopedic specialist for a second opinion which brings me to where I am today.
The Second Opinion
The doctor that I went to for a second opinion took a look at my medical history, took some xrays and an MRI and told me what I already knew. Since my condition was not responding to any other treatments surgery was one of my only other options. He did give me a couple other options, including plasma injections, but my insurance doesn’t pay for those procedures and they cost thousands of dollars.
I finally have surgery scheduled a couple of weeks away and I finally feel like there is a light at the end of the tunnel! The doctor will be doing 2 procedures which will hopefully give me the relief I have been looking for. I know the recovery period will be rough but in the long run it will be worth it.
Look for some posts from me in the next couple of weeks as I keep you updated on my surgery and recovery.
If you are suffering from foot pain and think that it may be Plantar Fasciitis please go see a doctor! I really think that had I sought treatment sooner I might have been able to avoid the pain and surgery. For more information about Plantar Fasciitis the Mayo Clinic has information on the condition and ways to treat Plantar Fasciitis at home.