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Debilitating heel pain - Advice please



  • Since I wrote my original post, the ortho finally ordered another MRI - herniation at surgery site (L4-5). Having surgery again 12/6. This time I am going to a neurosurgeon. He believes that the first surgery may have been unnecessary. My foot drop may have been caused by the bad ankle sprain I had. All the docs wanted to believe it was coming from my back, but the old MRI only showed a moderate bulge. Anyway, the surgery messed me up and NOW I have a much larger herniation. I am hoping some of the foot/heel pain subsides after this surgery, but the n/s thinks I may have nerve impingement or damage in my foot. The fun just doesn't quit!
  • So, bobdensley - what finally happened? You too, Tran. Sandi, I love your dermatome map and would like to get a really big one to put on a wall some place. Any idea where I could look?
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  • pepperpot... its now been about a year and a half since my lumbar fusion. i still get sciatic pain in my thigh, and then random shots of pain in my foot. same places i've had issues with before the surgery, but its not too often, and pain levels aren't too bad. i know i've got nerve damage in there. months of calf pain in that same leg, MRI showed muscle issues that are typically caused my nerve damage. Lovely....
    Microdisectomy / hemi-laminectomy 6/2010 and revision 10/2010
    Cervical fusion C4-5 and C5-6 9/2011
    Lumbar Fusion L5-S1 6/2012
  • Pepperpot1808PPepperpot1808 Posts: 20
    edited 11/22/2013 - 8:00 PM
    As Kathleen said, thanks Tran for telling us how it is for you a year and a half later. Kathleen, I too, am discouraged at how long it is taking to "heal". In fact, plain depressed. I had no idea!

    Tran, what did the doctors do for you? I don't see the point in taking an MRI if nothing will happen. Was it just to say "Oh! That's why!"

    I'm sorry I sound cranky. It's not at you. I'm tired and sore and worried. Besides, I asked.

    So nerves can damage muscles? I know I sound stupid but I never thought about it or needed to before this. So I guess I will be going for an MRI.

    When does it end??? I know I've only just started and where do you get the strength to go through such an ordeal?

    Thanks, Tran.

  • I suffer from this debilitating heel pain you describe, for about 8 months now. I recently saw a podiatrist that diagnosed me with plantar fasciitis. I was fitted for a pair of custom made orthotics that I had to pay $300 out of pocket for as insurance does not cover these. I was desperate for relief so opted to pay the asking amount just to get rid of this pain. They did absolutely nothing for me.......Anyway, it turns out that, as someone stated above, that certain kinds of arthritis can mimic plantar fasciitis. One of those being rheumatoid arthritis which I am going to be checked for as soon as I get my appt. with a rheumatologist. My dr thinks I have either this or lupus.I don't know if you have any of the symptoms that I'm about to mention but its something that "can" cause this horrible heel pain--my symptoms are: I keep a low-grade fever all the time which spikes out of nowhere, this morning my temp is 101.4 (highest temp with this has been 102.?) I ache all over my body exactly like I have the flu, I will freeze even with pj's on, heat turned up to 72 while I'm wrapped in a blanket. I find it hard to walk from the body aches along with this bad bad BAD heel pain. Also, loss of appetite. I don't know if you have had anything like this going on but it is one of the things besides plantar fasciitis or a spine problem that can cause such debilitating heel pain.
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  • Symptoms? Almost exactly I don't want to wear clothes cause even my skin hurts but I'm freezing! Heat cranked up to 30 degrees (Celsius), no appetite, can't walk and it's not just the heel pain, it's under the toes too. The metatarsal? All this from spinal fusion? Such misery!


  • what did the docs do for me? well, at this point, its not much. i can't take steroids, so that limits things alot. i've been on NSAIDs since the doc gave me clearance for them post surgery. Basically, i live with what is left of the pain. some days are ok, some it bothers me alot.... i just keep going. there isn't much to do about the nerve pain.

    as for the muscle problem. my MRI basically said that there was edema and enlargement of the muscle. basically instead of the muscle shrinking because of the nerve damage, it enlarged. not exactly a common occurrence. but i have some sort of connective tissue disorder, so that might also be affecting things. have to see my rheumatologist and see what he says next. again, not much i can do about it. i just live with the pain it causes.

    i do make sure i keep myself active though. 5 days a week in the pool, typically 2 hours a day. keeps me moving, and the company keeps me sane. i figure my alternative is spending most days in bed by myself... doesn't sound fun.

    unfortunately for me, i don't think its ever going to end. its been over 4 years since this entire ordeal started. you just learn to keep going. cause really, the alternative sucks too.
    Microdisectomy / hemi-laminectomy 6/2010 and revision 10/2010
    Cervical fusion C4-5 and C5-6 9/2011
    Lumbar Fusion L5-S1 6/2012
  • Pepperpot1808PPepperpot1808 Posts: 20
    edited 11/23/2013 - 8:01 PM
    You sound very accepting. Have you done your fighting, or are you just choosing not to? I'm envious of you having access to a pool! All the doctors say to swim, but for me it's a difficult trip.

    I've never heard of muscle enlargement as an illness, along with your edema. I'm learning a lot here, thank you.

    And who knows what will happen within another 4 years? Chin up!

  • I went to see a podiatrist yesterday who pushed and massaged my foot (yeow!) and he is sending me for an ultrasound. I really hate the idea of having someone push a want into my foot but it's to see if I have a mass they can remove.

    Now what he told me is that the nerves that are felt in the foot are the L1 to L5 and S1! He told me that I managed to hit all the crucial vertebrae (he meant "had fused") for the foot and this kind of pain is inevitable.

    For me, it was in the heel really badly, but now it's behind my toes - metatarsal? On my requisition form it says "R foot plantar 2nd and 3rd metatarsal heads ---> palp mass"

    I can't get an ultrasound appointment until December 10th which really annoys me. It seems SO far away! Then what? Surgery? Grrrrr.

    Happy Thanksgiving to my new American friends!
  • RickilalasRRickilalas Posts: 559
    edited 11/28/2013 - 12:39 AM
    I just wanted to toss in that I had a second.SCS added this week and my ankle pain is gone.
    My first SCS has a lot of scar tissue that may or may not of caused the pain. No way to prove it anyway but scar tissue was around the T9 area. I need the surgery report to know where for sure. Anyway with the second SCS my foot feels normal again. I know this may not be close to your issue but I just wanted to let you know it can be anywhere and many different issues that can cause these problems. Just do not give up and never take no for a answer. I am sure glad I did not do the exploratory foot surgery because it was not in the foot at all.
    My pain management doctor was the one that found this for me and it took almost a year to do so. We can never give up.

    Hang in there and good Luck
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