Friday, February 7, 2014

What Does The Doc Say?

Yesterday I went to see the orthopedic surgeon. I was really hoping he would have some miracle insight as to why my pain has lasted so long and been so bad, but he just said sometimes plantar fasciitis is 'recalcitrant' and instead of responding to prescribed therapy, worsens. He took x-rays and could tell by how much 'weird calcification' he saw in various areas that this has been going on for a long time. He said a couple of things that I didn't expect.

First, he said I would probably need one of two options. First option is cortisone shots in both feet but with casting immediately after the shots... as in, no walking or weight bearing or even crutching AT ALL for 6 weeks. Option two is full surgery where he said he would go in and completely sever both fascia, which also involves no weight bearing for several weeks after. I am trying to get my mind around how either option would be feasible, since I have to go up a full flight of stairs to get into my house. I would only be allowed to use a wheelchair. My house is not wheelchair accessible. I have no idea how to make this work. Thinking that eventually I am going to have to move into a one level house anyway. Not sure that can happen immediately though.

Next, he told me that he thinks physical therapy is a waste of time. He told me to stop lower body strength training, such as calf raises etc that I have been doing. I was really shocked at this; it is the opposite of what all the PT's have said. But he said my muscles in my legs are entirely too tight and that I need to ONLY stretch them and not continue the other exercises. He said the muscles need to "relax." I asked him what to do over the next several months while I try to figure out the surgery/shot thing and he said:

1) Buy a ProStretch and use it 4 times a day, doing some different stretches for 60 seconds each, 5 repetitions. NO leg lifts, toe raises, etc. Just the stretches, which he demonstrated on the ProStretch for me.

2) Bike as much as I can on my recumbent exercise bike. He wants me to focus on biking as often as possible, for as long as I can without pain each time, and then stretching afterwards.

3) If I *want* to, I can continue going to PT just for ultrasound and walking in the pool, but no other exercises. But he sort of shrugged about this, like, "eh, do it if you want, it won't hurt anything, but it's a waste of time." Actually, I do want to continue, it is very freeing to be able to "take walks" without pain.

4) Start wearing the night splints again on both feet all night. I hate this... it keeps me awake and they clang together and wake me up if I do fall asleep... but I'll do it. I have done this before without success but hopefully as part of this whole regimen it will make a difference.

5) He wrote me a powerful NSAID prescription to take for 6 weeks. This one I am a little worried about. I told him I have high blood pressure and he seemed rather indifferent about it and said yes, NSAIDS can/do cause high blood pressure, possible heart attack, and stroke, but it is part of what I need to help my feet if I don't want surgery right now. I filled the script but am going to talk to my primary care doctor next week before taking it.

So, that's where I am right now. Trying to process the info, waiting for the ProStretch to come in the mail, following his directions and waiting for my regular doc to okay the new med.


17 comments:

kara said...

I'm supposed to wear a night splint too, and I hated the one I got from the ortho. It was huge, clanky, and didn't fit my ginormous fat calf. So, I bought a soft one from amazon. It took me a few tries to get used to it, and I still end up taking it off sometimes if my foot gets hot, but it is so much better and I can keep it on long enough to actually get the benefit of using a night splint!

Vickie said...

Second opinion?

Lyn said...

Kara~

is it the sock kind? Strassburg sock I think it is called? I have thought about ordering one to try.

Vickie~

this is the fourth opinion, aside from my primary care doc and PT's. The rheumatologist thought shots (but not casting) was the best option, podiatrist #1 thought I should avoid shots because of risk of rupture and he sent me to PT, podiatrist #2 gave me the shots (without casting) but won't give me anymore due to the rupture and he also sent me to PT. I wish everyone agreed! This guy is the only ortho foot specialist within a 3 hour drive so he is the last opinion I am getting for now, although I might take a drive for another opinion prior to surgery. That's at least a few months out though.

Karen said...

Gees, Lyn, this is quite the predicament you're in. I hope there's some positive resolution to this sooner than later for you.
I'm hoping for the easiest and fastest recovery for you. Fingers crossed that there's a different way than being holed up for 6 weeks.

Hazel said...

Hmm. Some of this sounds counter-intuitive to me, but as you say, you've consulted extensively, so you need to weigh the options up and - frankly - who you believe.

Susan said...

Thankful that you have some options...I think if it were me I would opt for the surgery....maybe a friend can take you and your daughter in during the recovery time. Cortisone has to many risks with it. I am with you on the pain meds...to you are able to bear the I would skip them..they are just one more issue to have to deal with. Anyway all that to say "there is hope yet"

Heather's House said...

I've never heard a good thing about having surgery for plantar fasciitis or heel spurs. It is extremely painful and such a hard recovery. You're having a hard time now, it will be horrible for you.

I'd try the cortisone before surgery.

h2oratt said...

If you have a prationer of this method of healing try it. I don't believe the surgery will help. I know this sounds strange but besides yoga this method of healing has helped me more than anything else. http://www.morter.com/what_is_best.php

JM said...

I would definitely find a second opinion if he thinks these are your only options, they are for what HE can do, but not entirely for your condition. PLease seek another op if possible to make sure this is correct.

Lori said...

Yikes, Lyn. It sounds like you don't have a lot of good options. You can't go on like this. Is there a friend you can stay with for a while?
Lori

Lennae said...

Hi Lyn. My friend had the surgery and really regrets it. She said she wished she had never had it. Good luck and hope you can find a solution.

Terri King said...

Hi Lyn, I do not know the full extent of your situation, but wanted to share this info. My brother in-law needed the surgery a few years ago, he couldn't walk without excruciating pain. He chose to take a calcium supplement instead and never needed the surgery. This is not a regular supplement. A couple of years later I began having a problem with my foot and could barely walk on it. I began taking the supplement and after a couple of months was pain free. The supplement is EZorb and is at www.elixirindustries.com. Since you are going to wait a couple of months, you may want to try this to see if it is something that will help. I continue to take it daily, and have not had a recurrence. Wishing you well.

Steelers6 said...

Well the title to the post made me smile. And then got a certain silly song stuck in my head! Thanks, Lyn!
Haha

Please keep going an hour at a time. I can't imagine what you're dealing with- how awful. :(
Hugs, friend.
Chrissy

timothy said...

if he's a specialist I'd do what he said. sometimes brilliant drs have no bedside manner nor patience. monitor your bp and make sure you eat a diet that lowers it, also garlic suppliments lower it and are heart healthy. have you tried placing a pillow between your legs or wraping one in a towel to prevent the "clanging" . as for the house that I have no clue I do know that when you simply trust in the universe/god/spirit/fate whatever you want to call it and BELIEVE that all will be well it is. sending prayers your way as always.

Michelle Himes said...

I hope you continue the pool therapy, Lyn. It's the BEST! I always feel wonderful after exercising in the pool, and I credit it with lessening my hip pain considerably. The doc may think it's a waste of time, but you and I know that it makes us feel better.

aureliano Buendía said...

Extracorporeal shockwave therapy. 3 sessions. It has an 80% succes and no need for surgery or corticoid.

Alan & Brenda said...

I suffered from plantar fascitis with heal spurs for over 2 years. Towards the end I was in a wheel chair. Tried numerous rounds of injections and physical therapy before I finally did the surgery. SURGERY WAS GREAT!!!!!!! I highly recommend it!!!!! Yes I had 3 weeks before I could put my foot to the ground so I was either in a wheel chair or I crawled on the floor. A few more weeks after that before I really felt back to normal. To this day I do have a couple areas on my feet that are kind of numb, but hey, numb means I don't feel any pain. I wish I had done the surgery sooner! My doctors and specialists said they would only do the surgery as a last resort and I was at my ropes end........I was about to slit my wrists from all the pain. DO THE SURGERY!!!!!! A few weeks of recovery is better than months and months of pain.