Today I want to give a little update on where things are at with my foot injury.
As I mentioned a few days ago, last week I saw the foot doctor after experiencing excruciating ankle paint from inflammation in the tendon, being unable to walk properly for days and crying every single day. The doctor was supposed to give me a steroid injection, but that did not happen which I’m conflicted about. I told him about the mysterious inflammation trapped in my ankle. One week on the inside, next week on the outside and last week in the middle near the top of the foot. He told me that because it was not in one place the injection would not help.
I asked him about doing a CT scan or another MRI. He said it would be a waste of time since I had an MRI in August. I told him this didn’t start until mid-October. He insisted that because there wasn’t a specific injury it wasn’t worth it. He told me it’s probably arthritis and you’ll need to see a pain management specialist. His words: “I can’t help you.” That’s a good doctor for ya. We’re getting a divorce.
I arrived at his office that day crying and left his office crying. Nothing he said was worthwhile. He ordered blood work to check for arthritis, which I had done Monday and he prescribed oral steroids for me to take after the blood work. But before we go on, let’s rewind to the beginning. So much has happened these last 11 months with my injury that you may have lost track. I know I sure have.
Here’s the recap of my foot injury:
January 2014 – Right heel stress fracture. 5 days after a 1/2 marathon I was on the elliptical at my gym and felt a sharp, intense pain in my heel. I couldn’t walk. Went to the emergency room next day then saw orthopedic a few days later for treatment. Wore a boot ~4 months. Was diagnosed with plantar fasciitis and tendinitis too. Never had any symptoms pre-injury.
February 2014 – Began physical therapy, learned how to pick up marbles with my toes, roll my foot for plantar fasciitis & strengthen my ankles. Had to take a few weeks off to be with my Mom for her heart surgery. During my injury I maintained my fitness through biking and swimming.
May 2014 – I graduated physical therapy and was feeling great. My foot was weak, but I was recovered & released to begin increasing my workouts. Lifting, walking, elliptical and swimming. I was feeling good until…
July 2014 -My right calf froze. It felt as if the muscle was not getting enough oxygen. I thought it was a calf strain. I had to stop spinning because it hurt my calf too much. I’ve only been back on the bike once since the summer.
August 2014 – After suffering for weeks, I finally saw my foot doctor who referred me to a specialist for compartment syndrome testing. The specialist ordered a complete MRI of the foot & calf. Nothing was found in the calf, the heel stress fracture was confirmed at that time. I was told stress fractures can show on MRI’s up to 2 years.September 2014 – Saw a holistic doctor after several people recommended it. He adjusted my back and performed acupuncture. Immediately the calf pain went away. He believes the pain was a pinched nerve in my back. Wearing a boot for 4 months shifted my pelvis & threw my spine out of whack. After acupuncture, I felt the best I had all year and began working out on the elliptical, lifting and continued swimming.
October 2014 – Over the course of 4 weeks, I increased my elliptical time from 30-90 minutes and started throwing in 1 long power walk a week. Suddenly tendinitis pain strikes. I noticed it one morning when I woke up and had trouble walking. The first week it was on the inside of the ankle, the next week on the outside ankle bone and the following on the top of the foot where the crease meets the ankle. Also have on and off burning sensation in the arch of the foot. Saw the foot doctor and he told me to see a nerve specialist for an EMG. I can’t get an appointment with him until December.
November 2014 – I am the owner of cankles. Inflammation is trapped in the ankle joint, causing inability to walk properly, instability in the ankle and immense pain. Saw the foot doctor again who told me he would not do any more scans. He ordered labs to test for arthritis and putting my on 1 week of steroids. His words -> “I can’t do anything more for you.” Now I don’t have a PhD, but I know this isn’t what my ankle should look like. True story -> one of my friends texted me to ask if this was really my ankle on my blog. She didn’t believe it was mine.
After I saw the worthless foot doctor (he was a huge jerk), I saw my holistic doctor. I told him what happened and he was shocked an MD said this to me. He gave me a natural anti-inflammatory with turmeric and did cold laser therapy (similar to ultrasound). I immediately had relief and less swelling. He explained that something irritated the tendon which created swelling and now my immune system is over-reacting, attacking itself with inflammation. My body’s been under so much stress this year it’s on guard, ready to go crazy. He told me I need to move more, but there’s a fine line. If I move too much, it creates heat which causing more inflammation in the joint. He said swimming will keep it moving yet protect it from over-heating and creating more inflammation.
He asked me if I ever had this pain before. I told him yes. Two years ago I went to urgent care thinking I broke my ankle. It was just days before I was scheduled to leave for a business trip to Toronto for 3 weeks. It was 2 months before a half marathon I’d been training for too. I don’t know how I suddenly remembered all those details. I even dug up this picture I posted on my Facebook page to show him. Note the swelling on the outside of my right ankle. He urged me to think about what triggered the tendon inflammation then and now. My mind immediately went to the elliptical. Back then I was training for a half marathon and cross training a lot on it. I swear the holistic doc helps me more than any other doctor I’ve see this year. I see him again tomorrow for more cold laser therapy and in case your wondering, I’ve only been swimming and lifting upper body the last two weeks.
After taking oral steroids since Monday and a WAY TOO MANY pain meds the last 2 days (I feel like a zombie this week), I woke up yesterday feeling better. I contacted my primary podiatrist. He squeezed me in late in the afternoon and was appalled by what the other orthopedic said to me. He said it’s a very bad sprain from the elliptical and told me to finish taking the steroids. The inflammation has already reduced in half and by Friday should be nearly cleared up. If things don’t improve in two weeks though, he will need to scope my ankle. Crossing my fingers it won’t come t that. This is my life. Am I the only person this craziness happens to?
If I learned anything form all this, it’s that you have to be your own health advocate. There are good doctors and bad ones. If you don’t get the answers you need or don’t feel right about the ones you are getting, you have to continue pushing for them and find a doctor who will listen to you. No one else will do it for you. My foot doctor’s office called the other day asking for my new insurance to bill me. What I wanna know is how come no one called to ask if I was ok after going and leaving the office in tears? What’s wrong with this picture? Have you had a bad doctor experience before? What did you do about it?
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