For those of you not in the know, I have a bad foot. Not just a little achiness, or pain sometimes. It's every day, no matter what I do, all the time.
Let's go back 33 years: I'm born. My genetic code dictates that extra bone will grow at the insertion of my Achilles' tendons. (Non-medical peeps: That's the back of the heel)
Fast forward to my pre-teen years: Wearing any sort of dress shoe, flat or heel, causes blisters, bruising, bleeding and pain. Fast forward again to 1999: Working for a podiatrist, I decide to try surgical correction. This involves an incision into my right heel and reflecting back 1/4 of the Achilles', cutting and filing away the extra bone and reattaching the tendon with a Mytek anchor (think a little metal prong that looks like a spider). Off my foot for 4 weeks.
Everything seems hunky-dory until a year later when pain returns. That ends up being just a retained suture, but still involves another surgery. Next, 2005. Arthritis is grinding away at my right big toe, so it's surgery again to shorten the toe. No biggie..an easy surgery to get over, really. Off the foot for 5 days, and that's about it.
Later on in 2005, I have a talk with the doc again...the pain in my heel and now the SECOND toe brings me back to the O.R. (The bone in my heel had a 15% chance of regrowing...guess what. It did) Now, a more aggressive removal of bone. (and another toe shortening)
Think it's over? Nope.
3 weeks after surgery, the sutures are removed, and there is a gap in the skin of my heel. It does not heal. At the beginning of 2006, I am back in the O.R. again for an I & D (incision and drainage) because I have an infection and my tendon is in peril...as in, if it ruptures, I may be lame for life. For those of you keeping count, that is 6 procedures on the right foot.
I get a home health nurse and a Wound VAC. This is a painful, but helpful procedure that finally closes the wound.
Still think it's over...well, just a bit more.
The pain is still there. Now I am scheduled for therapy to release a trapped, twisted nerve which has become bound up in angry scar tissue inside my heel. I am now in for ultrasonic masage, manipulation (yikes) and strength training, as I still cannot go down steps normally or wear shoes with backs on them.
This is my foot today:
A small open area, thick and angry scar tissue, a weak tendon and a trapped nerve. I am too young to feel this old.