My Left Foot
by Tina Blue
November 15, 2003
It has now been 16 months since I had endoscopic plantar fasciotomy (epf) surgery on my left foot, and I think many of you would like to know how my foot is doing. In fact, I think more people are interested in how my left foot is doing than in how I am doing.
First of all, let me say that my foot is nowhere near as good as it was before I ever developed plantar fasciitis. It is still rather fragile, so I have to be careful not to abuse it. I never wear pretty shoes anymore, for example, because if I did, I know for a fact that I would cause a whole new flare-up of plantar fasciitis.
Also, I don't walk ten miles a day for fun and exercise, as I did before my first bout of plantar fasciitis back in 1990. I still don't own a car, and so I still walk wherever I need to go. But I have about 40 minutes, sometimes even an hour, of normal walking in my feet before I start to pay a price. In other words, if for some reason I have to walk more than an hour on any given day, my feet will probably ache that night or the next day, and I will have to try to stay off them as much as possible the next day.
I can no longer live as though my feet are not a concern. In fact, I rather treat them as well-loved but aging pets. You know--a dog, for example, who doesn't have the energy to frolic as much as he once did, and who needs a little extra consideration to make sure he stays comfortable and healthy.
I don't demand that my feet put in anywhere near the amount of work they did before plantar fasciitis first came to visit. (No more ten miles a day.) But also I "pet" them more than I used to.
I often soak my feet in hot water. While they are in there, I stretch the soles and massage them. (It feels sooo good. You should try it!) As I massage the left foot, I can actually feel the lump of scar tissue from my surgery.
Let me explain. The plantar fasciotomy involves taking a tiny nick in the plantar fascia, which "releases it" in the sense that it allows it to lengthen out ever so slightly. Then, as the cut heals, scar tissue fills in that place where it was, thus making the plantar fascia just a little bit longer than it used to be. Thus it does not so easily tug against the heel and become inflamed and irritated. Anyway, I can feel that scar tissue right under the arch of my foot, and I make a special point to massage it well.
After I have overused my feet a bit, and sometimes even when I haven't, I will massage them with "Sports Crème," which I prefer to "Icy Hot" or "Ben Gay," because it doesn't smell the way those liniments do. If I do the massage before bedtime, I can feel the difference in my feet when I wake up the next day.
I also take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) from time to time, mainly when I can feel my feet starting to get achy. I usually use aspirin, but sometimes I use naproxen. Acetomenophine or ibuprofen work well for some people, too--I just feel that I get better results with aspirin and naproxen. (Of course, you have to be careful with NSAIDS, even though they are over-the-counter medicines. Be sure to read the cautions on the bottle.)
(Also, I wear my Futuro ankle braces most of the time now, except at home--and even sometimes there. Of course, that means I always wear slacks rather than dresses or skirts.) Using the ankle braces makes a big difference, I think, in how well my feet stand up to (pun intended) all the walking I still must do.
Oh, and I am on my feet for four hours in a row every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, because I teach college English, and I am not the sort of teacher who ever sits down or stops moving around the room as she teaches.
I am overweight, too, as so many of us are in middle age, and I also know that losing about 30 pounds would certainly take some of the strain off my feet. I plan to do that, too. Honest. (Eventually.)
So that's where I am now. I had surgery only on my left foot. The right foot got better with the more conservative treatment I describe in "Plantar Fasciitis: How I Cured My Heel Spurs Without Surgery." Both feet are still, as I would say, susceptible. If I abuse them, I will suffer for it, and I know that enough abuse will lead to a full-fledged case of agonizing
plantar fasciitis again.
But I do take good care of my feet now. And because of that care, they never go beyond achiness or discomfort. When they start to ache, I get off them and massage them with "Sports Crème," and take NSAIDS. I also stretch and massage them regularly in hot water.
I am still glad I had the surgery and still very happy with the results. Before my surgery I was in agony all the time, even when I wasn't on my feet, and I could barely walk at all. I was using a cane, and even hobbling to the bathroom in my tiny apartment was such a painful experience that I often put it off when I needed to go.
Now I can walk, I can stand, and I am not in pain, though I sometimes am "in ache" from overusing my feet. But I can treat that achiness fairly easily, and it does go away when I do so.
I am always aware of the fragility of my feet. But having to be careful of them is a small price to pay to get rid of the crippling pain that made my life so difficult before I had my surgery.
~By the way, I want to report a technique that another reader told me worked well for her. She never had surgery for her plantar fasciitis. Instead, she bought a pair of those negative heel shoes and now wears no other type of shoe. She says that within a few days she could feel the difference, and that after a little longer the pain was completely gone Now she has no pain at all in her feet.
~To read all of the articles on plantar fasciitis and the recovery reports on this site, go to the article index . At the bottom of the page is a series of links labeled "The Plantar Fasciitis Series."