I’ve been dealing with heel spurs now for about 6 years. I thought they came from the fact that I was so dang big and no matter how big I am I always have to be doing some sort of extreme sport or exercise. For a long time it was running. Back in 1998 I started running to lose weight and lose weight I did. I was running up to 5 miles a day, obsessed with getting in shape I let nothing slow me down, not even a pulled hamstring.
I have this thing about setting goals and sometimes when I get one in my head, there is NOTHING that will stop me from doing it. I went water skiing one fourth of July weekend and that following Monday I had mentally planned to run 5 miles, up from the 4 that I had been running. So I pulled my Hamstring on Saturday and then hobbled around the track on Monday completing my 5 miles with purple bruises down the back of my left leg. Imagine the pain in my right leg considering it had to support most of my weight. This was the height of stupidity – or was it?
Later I started playing Ultimate Frisbee and after one game I was addicted to it like crack. I played every Sunday at 2 and then sometimes on Tuesday’s. Everything was going along splendidly until one day I went up for the frisbee and came down in a big pile of bodies and sprained ankle. An intelligent person would have iced the ankle and taken a couple of weeks off. I’m only half smart and so I iced the ankle and then on Tuesday I had my friend Dave Cribbs tape my foot up with Duct tape and then I played on. I twisted both ankles and on more than one occasion and each time instead of letting them heel properly I continued to play.
So about 5 years ago I went to see a podiatrist and she said, “You don’t have heel spurs, everyone thinks they have heels spurs…” she gave me so cushions to put in my shoes and sent me off with a list of stretches. This did not help and so I continued to play Ultimate Frisbee in pain until I moved to Plano and stopped playing ultimate for a couple of years. I took running up again only to find that it was going to kill my feet, but I just “ran through” the pain. The pain would only be excruciating for the first mile or so and then once my heals were warmed up I would be fine until I stopped running and then the pain would return.
I called Dr. Berkey here in Plano. He said, “You can do stretches and take this Celebrex and hope they go away or you can have surgery.” Dr. Berkey was weird and I didn’t really like his personality. I could imagine him severing the feet of his patients during surgery and then storing them in his refrigerated basement. Piles and Piles of feet. Black feet, white feet, gnarled toe nails. All ashey and covered in frost. I left Dr. Berkey’s office with an uneasy feeling and I never went back.
Sometimes after Frisbee if I sit for a while and then when I stand I can barely walk. My feet HURT.SO.BAD. I decided that I would try a different podiatrist one more time. Enter Dr. Gold.
Dr. Gold looks like a librarian and I had to wait in her office for an hour before I finally got in to see her. I hate waiting and I always think that it is inconsiderate to make a patient wait that long as if their time isn’t valuable. What I also find intolerable is when people have been inconsiderate they don’t take the time to say something simple like, “I’m sorry to keep you waiting, we are behind today.” Insincere or not, I actually waited to hear it.
Jerry, the radiologist?, he took x-rays of my feet and then gave me some heel inserts that were much better than what the first podiatrist gave me. I was also told that I can get prescription heel inserts that will support my arches and pad my heels and further help in correcting the problem. Surgery wasn’t even brought up until I brought it up and said that for me it wasn’t really an option. Jerry also gave me a prescription anti-inflammatory called Reflan and it seems to be helping.
It’s been 5 days now and I’ve played Ultimate and done lots of Yoga and my feet haven’t felt this good since I was on Celebrex years ago. I have almost 0 pain in my feet when I walk in my work shoes and normally every single morning I am DYING from the pain. My job requires me to walk and TI is HUGE and so sometimes in the mornings I could easily walk a mile before lunch time, maybe more, and the entire time my feet would be killing me.
I didn’t have the money to get the prescription shoe inserts and my insurance doesn’t cover them and so I have to wait to get them when my income tax return comes in.
So what is the moral of the story? First, I should have taken better care of my ankles and injuries as Dr. Gold said that sprained ankles could cause heel spurs. Second, I should have tried a different doctor and got multiple opinions from the beginning. Third, anti-inflammatory meds are awesome.