Beginning early-2006 I began to have pain in both of my heels. It happened mainly upon rising in the morning, or after getting up from a sitting position. It felt like my tendons were too tight. I would walk stiffly -- looking quite penguin-like. :-) After a few minutes of walking, the pain would lessen, only to repeat the next time I sat down and had to get back up. As time went on the pain continued to get worse, although I wasn't persuaded to go to the doctor ... yet.

Fast forward to 2007. The pain was severe enough that I finally caved and went to my family physician. I had self-diagnosed myself with Plantars Fasciitis, which my husband had suffered with ten years earlier. My physician sent me to an Orthopedic Surgeon. He took x-rays and found posterior heel spurs with insertional achilles tendonitis, meaning the spur was growing in to the tendon. This had caused bursitis, which also contributed to the pain. Well so much for self-diagnosis: Plantars Fasciitis was one thing I didn't have! Here is one of my actual x-rays, taken in the spring of 2007. I believe this photo is of my right foot, but both of them looked identical. I've drawn an arrow to show the bone growth on the back of the heel. The bone was growing directly into my achilles tendon. No wonder it hurt!

According to the doctor, there were two options -- physical therapy or surgery. I elected to try physical therapy. PT consisted of about 8 weeks of stretches, shoe inserts, and ultrasound therapy. None of this alleviated the problem. So I just tried ignoring it.

My left foot took a turn for the worse in the summer of 2007. I began to have pain in this tendon all the time, and limped when I walked. This was due to multiple micro-tears that had occured in my Achilles tendon. I had been told that I was at risk of rupturing the tendon. I sought a second opinion, which confirmed the original diagnosis. At this point I was growing more desperate for relief, and afraid of having a real rupture. I opted to schedule surgery. I was told I was a excellent candidate, although this meant I would have 2+ weeks on crutches, being fully non-weight bearing, 6 weeks in a cast and more physical therapy (oh joy!).

November 2, 2007 Surgery Day -- I had outpatient surgery to remove the spur from my left heel that had grown into the tendon. To do this, the Achilles tendon was unattached so that the excess bone could be removed. The tendon was then reattached. In addition to this, the Achilles tendon was lengthened 1 1/4" in a procedure called gastroc recession. The surgery took about a hour and a half. My surgery was at noon and I left the hospital four and half hours later. In the recovery room I noticed some pain in the back of my calf, where my tendon had been lengthened, but had no other pain. I came home with two medications -- prescription strength Naproxen for inflammation, and Lorcet Plus for pain. I took both medications faithfully and never experienced pain. For the first 48 hours my only complaint was nausea, most likely from the anesthesia. Here is a photo of "the casting" of my leg:

November 3 & 4 -- Getting around on crutches continues to be a challenge. I took two falls, but managed to protect my leg both times. This was not my first experience with crutches, but you would certainly never know it! Other than the very limited mobility, everything is going well.

November 5, Follow-Up #1 -- This was my initial follow-up appointment with the surgeon. He changed the bandages and re-wrapped my leg. I took my camera to the appointment and my first look at the incisions (future scars) was when I got home and downloaded the photos (since the incisions are on the back of my leg and heel I couldn't see them). Must say the incisions were much longer than I had anticipated. And the heel, well, it looked pretty yucky. Here was my first look at the surgery site, 3 days post-op. Definitely not one of my finer photos:

I was again cautioned not to put any weight on the foot, and not to take a shower for five very l-o-n-g days.

November 9 -- It's seven days after surgery. After a shower I re-wrapped my leg for the first time. I still haven't experienced any real pain (maybe a twinge once or twice, but nothing more). I stopped pain medication 4 days after surgery, so I know it isn't simply being masked. I'm guessing that real pain will come when I finally put weight on it. This photo shows my foot 7 days post-op. It's still swollen and the skin around the heel incision feels strange, rather like it's water-logged. I hope someday the iodine and permanent ink (proclaiming "this leg!") will eventually come off.

November 15, Follow-Up #2 -- Saw the doctor today. He removed the surgical strips from my calf, but did not take the stitches out of my heel. That will have to wait another 5 days as the area hadn't healed as well due to it's location. The doctor recommended that I pick up some Silicone Strips or Mederma Skin Cream for reducing the appearance of the scar. I was told that I will need another 1 - 2 weeks on crutches (sigh) before I can begin bearing weight on the foot. Apparently the Achilles tendon doesn't begin to really heal until the fourth week. Physical therapy usually begins about the 6th week after surgery, so that would be about mid-December. I'm not complaining, but let's just say crutches are a real drag! :-p

November 17 -- Photos from 15 days post-op.

This photo shows the swelling that is still present in my left foot:

And this is what the Silicone Strips look like -- they are supposed to minimize scarring but must be worn for 12 weeks (changed every few days). The Silicone Strips are only on my calf:

November 21, Follow-Up #3 -- The stitches were removed from my heel today. I will be non-weight bearing (on crutches) for at least another 10 days. The doctor explained that the "electrical impulses" (or twinges) that I feel in my foot are quite normal, and are the result of the lengthening of the Achilles tendon. The twinges will go away with time. Next follow-up appointment is in 10 days.

November 22 -- One day shy of three weeks post-op. Here is the latest photo, but it's not for the faint of heart. The stitches are out, and yes, it looks bad, but it's only superficial. This photo shows the amount of swelling in my heel. This will apparently be around for quite a while. There was a lot of bone cut away in this area, and subsequently a lot of bleeding. Good thing it looks a lot worse than it feels! ;-)

December 3, Follow-up #4 -- A big day for me. I finally got to ditch the crutches and get in a walking boot. I was really looking forward to this and thought it would be a blessing. Turns out that it feels more like a curse. The tendon doesn't hurt. The heel doesn't hurt. But the bottom of my foot (heel) does. Every step feels like I'm stepping on a stone. I tried padding the bottom of my heel (in the walking boot) but it made no difference. After much experimentation, I finally padded the arch to relieve the pressure on the heel and it was somewhat better. Oh, did I mention the slight infection? Yeah, got one of those too. It's in the heel. I had the heel "cleaned out" and will be on the antibiotic Cephalexin 3x a day for 2 weeks.

December 6, Follow-Up #5 -- Several days of feeling like I'm walking on a stone and I've had enough. I called the doctor who said "It sounds like Plantar's Faciitis" (pronounced "plantar fash-eee-eye-tiss"). Great. He asked me to come in so he could make an arch support for me. It's really similiar to what I had fashioned, only more professional. :-) Too bad it still hurts. I'm starting oral steroids (Methylprednisolone). The boot wouldn't be bad at all if it weren't for this pain. Interestingly (& thankfully) I have no pain from the surgery sites or repair work. I hope the steroids kick in fast ~ I'm thinking tomorrow would be good. :-)

December 7 -- Five weeks post op photos. Note a strong stomach may be required!

My walking boot:

December 12, Follow-Up #6 -- I completed my course of oral steroids. These were to have reduced the inflammation of my Plantars Fasciitis. Today I saw the doctor and I told him that, despite the steroids, I thought the pain was worse. In fact, every step was now excruciating. The pain is near the back of my heel, so I assumed this was maybe the result of the heel work (shaved bone) he had done. But I could tell by his expression that this was not the norm. Two x-rays later I learned that I never had Plantars Fasciitis, but instead have a calcaneal stress fracture. The two conditions actually "present themselves" with the same type of symptoms. I have no idea how I got a stress fracture -- either from the surgery itself or from one of the falls I took trying to get around on crutches. :-0 Regardless, it's a setback. It's back to crutches for me, and physical therapy is now on hold until the fracture has healed. I have to go back to the doctor in two weeks (December 27th). But hey, the good news is my achilles tendon feels great. ;-p

December 27, Follow-up #7 -- Still waiting for the calcaneal fracture to heal, so two more weeks to be non-weight-bearing and on crutches. Hopefully at my January 10th appointment, I'll be released to a walking boot (or even better, an air cast) and can begin physical therapy. At this point I'm looking forward to PT. Right now I have the same range of motion in my operated left foot as I do in my right foot ~ meaning I can pull both feet up the same distance from the floor. I'm guessing with PT that I will get a better range in my left foot since my achilles tendon in that leg is now longer. Pulling the foot up isn't really painful, but I have noticed that since doing this (with my doctor's okay) that the back of my calf, where I had the tendon lengthened, is really sore to the touch. Today I tried to cross my left leg over my right and hit the surgical area with my knee. I really barely hit it but it was ... wowza, really painful.

Here is the latest and greatest photo. I can never tell how bad (i.e., fat) my ankle and leg look until I see photos :-0

January 10, 2008 Follow-Up #8 -- Well here I am, 10 weeks after surgery, far from my predicted recovery time-line, & frankly starting to get a bit annoyed. :-)

I met with the doctor today and had two x-rays taken of my left foot. The stress fracture was difficult to see on the x-rays 4 weeks ago, and not really evident on today's x-ray. However, he did not want me to start physical therapy yet because if the fracture was still healing, PT would make it much worse. He did say that I could begin testing the waters with a walking boot. Weight-bearing to tolerance, per say. So I can't ditch the crutches yet. And, my idea of being able to stroll the aisles of Giant with great abandon are a bit far-fetched. (
Who knew that a simple trip to the grocery store could seem so ... appealing?)

The actual incision (basically where I have the "hole" in my heel that you can see in the pictures), is healing nicely. The doctor swears to me that it will look completely normal when it's fully healed. It has gotten progressively smaller. It was debrided again today. It doesn't hurt to have this done (basically he takes a scalpel and shaves the inside), but it is slightly sore & bleeds afterwards.

I did walk out of the doctor's office sans crutches. Walking is not completely comfortable and dare I say it -- but it seems to hurt in the same place as the last time I tried walking (and was diagnosed with this fracture). My initial impression is that I won't be walking unassisted for very long. Hope I'm wrong. Fear I'm right. *sigh*

January 12 -- Just a quick update. I've decided to put myself back on crutches. I still have pain when I put weight on my left foot. The pain is on the bottom of my foot, right at the heel. Not in exactly the same spot as before, but pain nonetheless.

January 15, Follow-Up #9 -- After resting my foot for two days, I decided to try walking again. This time it was much better, although after a bit my heel would hurt. I decided to make an appointment to see the doctor, which I did today. The bottom line is that he feels the stress fracture is not completely healed (but it's getting there!). I'm repeating what has been the mantra of my life since this surgery: "just two more weeks". So there it is ~ just two more weeks on crutches. That and a padded room and I should be just fine. ;-)

January 17 -- I just saw the charges for my black walking boot that's pictured above. Take a wild guess. Would you believe $490 for a piece of hard plastic with 3 velcro straps and some lightly padded material? Ridiculous! As always, I remain especially grateful for my health insurance.

January 19 -- It's now 11 weeks post-op and I thought I would share a few new photos. If the swelling has gone down at all, I can't tell. I'm beginning to wonder if I'll wear cute little sandals again!

Please note the lovely toenails in the next photo -- painted just for this occasion! Comparing this photo below to the one shown under my November 17th post, I'd say my foot, at least around the ankle, looks bigger now (2 months later), than then. Wonder if this means it time to worry? I'm very good at that.

January 28 -- Attempted weight-bearing again. The results are basically the same. I'm having a lot of difficulty trying to isolate where the pain is coming from. One thing I do know is that it hurts tremendously to put even light pressure on one particular spot on the back of my heel (along the incision line).

January 29, Follow-Up #10 --
Houston, we have a problem. Only I don't know what it is. I'll be having either an MRI or an ultrasound. I think an MRI is the first choice, but it may not be feasible due to the anchors in my heel. I'll know more in a day or so ~ as the doctor sorts out the details and the referral paperwork.

An Update -- I will be having an MRI; the anchors are small enough that they should not obstruct the view. Since my doctor requested an MRI with contrast, my insurance company insists on a full-review of my medical records (hey, maybe I should have directed them here!). Apparently the review can take up to 72 hours. Assuming approval, I should be able to get the MRI next week. Maybe then we can figure out what the heck is going on with my foot and why I am still having pain.

February 2 -- I just realized that I hit the 3 months mark today. Well anyway, I received an approval letter from my insurance company yesterday. I will have an MRI early Tuesday morning. I was much relieved to discover that I do not have to have the Gadonlinium (contrast agent) inserted directly into my joint as the hospital told me this was painful. And well, I don't do pain ~ not well anyway. :-) Instead the contrast will be put directly into a vein.

February 5 -- Arrived at the hospital at 7 a.m. for my MRI. It took longer than I thought ~ I finished up at 8:30 a.m. They did a whole series without contrast, and then did a whole set with contrast. Not sure why they did it that way. Getting the contrast was easy -- I didn't even feel it. Oh, and the staff was kind enough to provide me with some great 80s tunes (my request!) via headphones. The preliminary results should be faxed to my doctor within 24 hours, and the final results in 3 - 5 days. The hospital sent me home with a CD of my images. You know me, I had to look but didn't understand a bit of it!

February 7 -- Spoke to my doctor this morning. My MRI did not show a fracture or a tear (yeah!), just thickening around the achilles tendon which is normal post-surgery. I told him that I felt like this was the worst possible outcome because now nothing really explains the pain I am having. He felt that all indications were that it was painful scar tissue. The answer for that is basically two fold -- physical therapy and cortisone shots. I've heard that cortisone injections are incredibly painful. Did I mention that I don't like pain? Wonder if I can take a shot of Tequila with me? (just kiddin')

February 12, Follow-Up #11 -- I'm still alive ~ yes, I survived the dreaded cortisone shot. The doctor had me mark the spot where it was most painful and that's where he put the injection. The area was on the back of my heel, just to the bottom-right of my incision line. He used a cold numbing spray first, then inserted the needle. The cortisone has to be injected slowly so it takes a couple of seconds. It definitely burns and two hours later it still stings slightly. I had envisioned worse though, which seems to be a coping mechanism that works for me ~ ha!

I will go back to the doctor next week. Hopefully I'll be dramatically improved because anything less than 100% means that I'll be seeing that needle again.

And I finally received my marching orders to begin physical therapy ~ 3x a week for 4 weeks. I have my first appoint Thursday at noon.

February 15 -- Started physical therapy yesterday and had my second session today. At my first visit, they took measurements of my ability to put my foot into the neutral position. So laying flat on my back I had to bring my foot upward, i.e., towards my head. On my unoperated foot, I was 4 or 5 degrees from reaching the neutral position. On the operated foot, it was somewhat better in that I was about 1 degree from neutral. Bottom line -- I have very tight tendons and need to do lots of stretching. Yesterday the therapist was very gentle ~ today, not so much. :-0 She used ultrasound therapy on my calf, and then massaged it, although it felt more like she was kneading it. The therapist was able to feel the scar tissue in the bottom of my foot. That's what is making walking somewhat painful. It's better since the cortisone, but not 100%.

PT will probably not be a nice experience ~ although I can't help but think that it would have been even more painful had I started this 6 weeks post-op vs. now. I have a list of exercises that I am to do at home on the in-between days. They include a calf stretch, seated toe and ankle raises, making the alphabet with your ankle, and scrunching up a towel with my toes. There are all to be done 2x a day on my days off.

February 19, Follow-up #12 -- Nothing really new to report from my doctor's visit. I'm just to keep on, keepin' on. No additional cortisone treatments at this point (you know I hate that! *wink*)

February 26 -- Today was my first day in the gym in almost 4 months. The Physical Therapist recommended that I start with the stationary bike ~ she thought it would be great for the circulation in my leg. She recommended I avoid both the treadmill and elliptical at this point. So I hit the gym this afternoon and pedaled for 25 minutes. I could have done more, but was just unsure as to whether I should, and felt it was best to begin doing not enough rather than too much.

I've completed 5 therapy sessions, and tomorrow will mark my half way point of the sessions. I'm guessing I'll end up with more as the Physical Therapist told me that people normally need several months of therapy after this type of surgery. Physical therapy is going well -- I have ultrasound treatments on the back of my calf and the bottom of my foot. These are supposed to help soften the scar tissue. The therapist also does a lot of rubbing and massaging to these areas ~ although on the back of my calf it feels more like torture than a massage. I also do different stretching exercises while I'm there, as well as on the "in between" days.

March 2 -- Four months post op. Yes, I know it still looks quite swollen here. Some days are better than others ~ maybe this was an off day.

March 3 -- Good news. I had new measurements taken by the Physical Therapist today. I've improved in all areas. The swelling is even down 3 cm. If you'll recall in my February 15th post, I mentioned that one of the tests was to see how far upward I could bring my foot. At that time I was 1 degree from the neutral position, with normal being 5 to 10 degrees past neutral. Today I was at 6 degrees past neutral ~ so in the normal range. Yeah ~ for once I'm normal ~ a least in one foot. :-)

March 4, Follow-up #13 -- Today I saw the doctor for a brief follow-up. No big revelations and more a pep-talk than anything else. He feels the procedure was a success and that physical therapy will take care of the rest. More PT sessions were approved, so I'll go for at least another 6 weeks. As much as I find the PT somewhat painful, I am really amazed at two things: (1) how much less sensitive the incisions are and (2) how much more flexibility I have obtained. I will go back to the doctor in 3 weeks. Oh, and as a side note, I do think one of the biggest challenges has been finding shoes that work for me right now. I ordered 3 pairs from Zappos yesterday, hoping one will work. Ahhh, just what I need, an excuse to shop for shoes!

March 25, Follow-up #14 -- I'm frustrated at still having pain on the bottom of my foot. This is not where I had surgery, so it's especially puzzling to me. After an ultrasound of my Plantar Fascia, it's determined that I have Plantar Fasciitis in my left foot. I have a cortisone shot in one location to see if that helps. I have also decided to ask my Physical Therapist to concentrate mainly on the Plantars Fascia as that seems to be my main issue now.

April 9, Follow-up #15 -- It's back to the doctor. This time I'm "measured" for Orthotics, to see if they will help with the Plantars Fasciitis. I say "measured" but that's not really the correct term. There is an electronic pad that I have to walk across and it measures the force that I put in each area of my foot. It is determined that I basically put no force on the upper (ball) part of my left foot. No wonder my heel hurts ~ it's taking the brunt of each step.

The cortisone injection from the last visit helped tremendously, but only right in the area where it was given. The main area of pain was missed. So I got one last shot right in the heel. I had to draw an "X" on the spot and that's where the cortisone was injected. The shots are bad, but the after-effect of insomnia is worse.

April 14 -- Today I completed my 22nd PT session. And I'm officially released with an exercise band and a slew of exercises to do at home to continue stretching both my Achilles and my Plantars Fascia.

April 21, Follow-Up #16 -- I pick up my new Orthotics. The jury is out. I now have Plantar Fasciitis in both the left AND the right feet. Walking barefoot is nearly impossible. Just walking across the bathroom barefoot to get into the shower is incredibly painful. Standing in the shower is just as bad. Must. Wear. Shoes. :-(

May 2 -- It's hard to believe it's 6 months post-op and I still have pain in my achilles tendon. Some days it's not so bad. Some days it's really very bad. I'm beginning to wonder if I should have had this surgery at all.

I'm continuing all of my stretches and am now going to the gym 3 days a week. I mainly use the elliptical because it creates no stress on the Achilles tendon. But I'm also doing some of the machines, and asked specifically for some calf exercises to rebuild that muscle in my left leg.

May 4 -- I've had a few bad days and decide to do some research to determine if this is normal. In my research I found something called the "Anti-Inflammatory Diet." It was actually on a podiatry website and was suggested for people with tendon problems (*raising hand*, that's me!!) Googling revealed much more information, so today, I started on the anti-inflammatory diet. I figure I have nothing to lose!

May 11 -- I've stepped up my exercise at the gym and am now trying to go 4 - 5 days a week. I've added in about 1 mile on the treadmill, in addition to 2 miles on the elliptical. After a few bad days at the first of the month, I'm now significantly better. My Plantars Fasciitis is as awful as ever, but my Achilles is now so much better (as in no pain now!). I have also just regained some of the feeling in my foot. I thought maybe that was gone forever, but it's baaaacccckkk! I am not attributing this to the diet, although I'm continuing on with it. Everything I've ever read about this surgery says it takes 6 months to 1 year to recover. I hope this means I have turned the corner (for good this time!)

Now to conquer Plantars Fasciitis. *sigh* Oh, and the jury is still out on the orthotics.

May 20, Follow-up #17 with a new doctor -- Lots of news to report. First, I finally figured out why the orthotics weren't as comfortable as they should be. I had been wearing tennis shoes made for over-pronators, so when I added orthotics, which also corrected for over-pronation, I was really feeling my foot forced to the outside of the shoe. Long story short, I bought regular Nike tennis shoes and it has made a huge difference. My Plantar Fasciitis has improved. Yeah.

Also, I decided to go for a second opinion. I saw a Sports Medicine Orthopaedic Surgeon, who from this point forward will be known as Doctor #2. :-) He took x-rays but didn't see anything anatomically which would explain some of my pain issues. What he did see -- redness & discoloration of the skin, tingling sensation in my foot, numbness, stiffness, and swelling -- lead him to believe I have something called R.S.D. (Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy), but also known as Complex Regional Pain Syndrome or C.R.P.S. The Orthopaedist suggested that I see Doctor #3 at a Pain Center, and have him make an assessment. That appointment is set for May 29. I will see Doctor #2 again on June 3.

Lastly, I have been following the anti-inflammatory diet for three weeks now. I think it has made a big difference (although perhaps you can't tell based on the previous paragraph). But I feel better everywhere, feet included. I think my skin even looks healthier. I'm taking a slew of supplements for the inflammation; things like Bosweillia and Bromelain, as well as Krill & Fish Oil, and Selenium. Because of the diet, I have learned how to drink iced tea without sweetners. Oh, and I can even eat oatmeal that way. :-0

May 29, Follow-up #18 with another new doctor -- Today was my first visit with Doctor #3. He is a Physiatrist (not to be confused with a Psychiatrist -- tee hee!). A Physiatrist is a doctor of medicine (MD) who is a specialist in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. Doctor #2, who I saw on May 20th, sent me to this doctor for confirmation and possible treatment. Doctor #3 agrees with Doctor #2's assessment that I have mild R.S.D. or Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy. The problem lies with my Sural nerve ~ which was impacted during surgery and has now basically gone into overdrive. What this means is that it's ultra-sensitive to everything. One of the treatments for RSD is to have somatic blocks -- or injections of cortisone -- into the nerves that are in your your back/lower spine that control the area that is in pain. The steroid is supposed to reduce the inflammation of the nerve, but it can take 3+ injections to work.

I had an injection in two places in my lower back. I was first numbed with Lidocaine. It wasn't really painful, although I could feel pressure. The entire procedure lasted maybe 15 - 20 minutes. Afterwards my left leg was sort of numb and I was told that I had to wait 30 minutes to drive. At the end of 30 minutes I stood up and was very light-headed and couldn't walk in a straight line. So I sat back down. After another 30 minutes I still felt light-headed. I realized that I hadn't eaten anything since breakfast, and it was 2:30. I found a fruit & nut bar in my purse and felt much better after eating that. When I stood up again, I had no pain in my foot whatsoever ... but I felt quite strange, a sensation that lasted several hours.

I was told it takes at least 48 hours for the injection to work, and I am scheduled to go back in 2 weeks for a follow-up. Now I just have to wait and see.

June 1 -- Figured it was time for new photos -- 7 months post - op tomorrow. I don't really think cute little sandals are in the cards, do you?

June 2 -- Guess you are curious how the shot worked out. Well, I can't tell much difference except I think the color in my leg is more normal, and there is no more swelling. I have had several "taser-like" experiences, where it seems like I'm being shocked along the outer edge of my foot (where the sural nerve is). The only other thing I've noticed is that I've had 3 nights in a row of leg cramps. Very strange for me so I have to question whether it's connected.

June 3, Follow-up #19 -- Back to Doctor #2 for a follow-up. The first thing he says is "I can tell a big difference in the color of your leg." Dang, he's right ... they look nearly identical. The doctor tapped just below my ankle on both feet. Oh yeah, there's the problem -- the left foot about sends me through the roof. "The Sural nerve" he says, again. Confirmation via the pain test, I suppose.

He suggests that I try Lidocaine patches for the pain. These are usually prescribed for shingles patients, but should work for me too since it's also a nerve problem. The patches are large, but can be cut down to size. I'm glad; it will make them last longer. I have a 30 day prescription - $55 with insurance - and I have to wear them for 12 hours on, 12 hours off. The nurse told me it works best to wear them at night.

As a side note, I feel like I go back and forth here -- the Achilles hurts, it doesn't hurt. The Plantar Fasciitis hurts, it doesn't hurt. The nerve hurts, it doesn't hurt. Okay, I have never said the nerve part ... but truly, it all seems to vary from day to day. I don't *get* that. But I don't make this stuff up. It is what it is.

June 11 -- Returned to the Pain Management doctor (Doctor #3) for a follow-up. He, too, thought my leg looked better. We had a long visit and he was quite enthusiastic about my anti-inflammatory diet, as he basically follows it too (we compared meal notes!) He did recommend that I add vitamin B-complex as it has been shown to be helpful with neuropathic pain.

I told the doctor about the leg cramps - turns out that yes, those were the results of the shots. Ah-ha, I feel vindicated! :-) He said they can occur until all the medicine is out of my system. He did give me a prescription to take a bedtime to help reduce them.

I completed another series of shots, but this time I remembered to go with a full stomach. Afterwards, I felt okay, so I didn't even hang around ~ I just left and went shopping.

June 16 -- Six weeks on the anti-inflammatory diet and I'm feeling great. Really great. I'm no longer sore after taking a long walk, or working out at the gym. No real pain to speak of. As I approach 7 1/2 months post surgery, the only lingering symptoms are (1) zinginess from below my ankle and along the outside of my foot and (2) an occasional feeling of "heaviness" in my foot after a lot of exercise (this is neuropathic according to the doctor). However, the heaviness is occuring much less frequently than before. I also think I don't walk "just right" ~ more like a hesitation than a limp ~ but hopefully that will continue to get better. I'm very aware of it, although I'm not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing.

I am still having slight leg cramps, even with the medication. They are almost always between 4:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m. and they are very high in the calf ~ not in the usual "charley horse" site. Thankfully I can feel them coming on, and know to immediately jump out of bed and stand. That prevents the full onset. Literally I go from sound asleep to two feet on the floor in 3.2 seconds! Who knew that was possible?

Oh, and one last thing - I'm now up to 2+ miles on the treadmill working between a 5 - 9% incline. Since hill climbing is especially painful with achilles tendonitis, and I'm doing it pain-free, this seems like a small victory.

July 13 -- I have been on vacation for the last few weeks, and sadly have not been faithful to my anti-inflammatory diet. The results of this are increased tenderness along both surgery sites and heightened sensitivity in my sural nerve (read this as "ultra zingy!"). When I return home I will begin the diet with a new level of commitment. If ever there was a question as to whether the diet worked ~ or if it was just coincidence ~ well, I have my answer. It really does work (for me).

August 2 -- I just realized that today is 9 months post surgery. I will try to get some new photos up soon (I know you are just dying for a new view! :-) I wish I had a glowing report to give ... but it seems I have had a setback. I don't know if it's soley from falling off the anti-inflammatory diet wagon or something else. I'm having pain again in exactly the spot it bothered me pre-surgery, and this has been going on for a week or more. I'm limping. Oh, and I'm Adviling quite a bit now, too (hey if "googling" can be a verb then "Adviling" can too!) . I've also noticed pain in my right achilles, but this time further up the leg, which I do find a bit worrisome.

I've received several emails asking me if I have had the right foot operated on yet. So I thought I'd take the opportunity to clarify: no, I haven't. At this rate ~ and maybe it's because I'm having a less than stellar day ~ I don't think I'd ever want to have it done either.

September 26 -- Today I had a follow-up with Doctor #2 (Orthopaedic Surgeon). He took new x-rays of both feet. He said that the bones in my left foot look better. I have a wicked case of Plantars Fasciitis, but it's really in my right (unoperated) foot. Every step hurts. I do think that it's an uncanny coincidence that I never had Plantars Fasciitis until I started down this foot surgery path. Uncanny. :-P

I do have some good news ~ my leg cramp episodes are gone. That lasted three l-o-n-g months. I'm not sure what caused those ~ if it was the RSD treatments or some of the supplements I was taking. I abandoned both, and took up drinking Tonic Water. That helped almost immediately (it's the quinine in it). Now I've given up the tonic water and I'm still cramp free. I have not returned to my supplements, but I'm planning to add those back in one at the time.

October 2 -- I know, I promised pictures two months ago. Better late than never, right? In this shot I'm exactly 11 months post-op. I see no sexy sandals in my future! I'm not sure if you can tell or not, but on the larger photo you can see the indentation of my sock on my left ankle. I thought it was odd that it was only on my left leg. So I measured that area and sure enough my left leg was 1/2" larger than my right. Guess that's permanent too, huh?

October 8 -- I forgot to add that Doctor #2 recommended that I return to Physical Therapy. Wonder if anyone's ever gone broke from PT? I might be the first!

October 31 -- Today I went to a shoe store and had my feet measured. I was shocked to discover that there is now a big size difference in my feet. Pre-surgery both feet were a size 9. Now my left (operated) foot is a size 8. Guess the doc really did remove a lot of bone on the back of my heel. :-0

November 2, 2008 -- Well, here I am a year later. I think I can sum up this experience as being one of the longest, most frustrating years of my life. :-)

I have no plans to update this blog further, as I believe at this point, it is what it is. Oh, what is it, you ask? Well it's a foot that feels (kinda, sorta) normal, but looks ugly. But hey, I'm over 40 and I'm not going to get hung up on that. Besides, it's boot weather!