I don’t normally post such personal shit, but maybe my struggles will help someone Googling know that they aren’t alone.
TLDR: I’ve had moderate to severe foot pain when walking or bending my outer toes for almost two years. Seems like Morton’s Neuroma but the podiatrist doesn’t see anything on the MRI.
Pain in my as..foot
So for the past two years, I’ve had weird foot pain. It starts out with just a weird little numbness or coldness, then it will get burning, then it will have shooting pains. Once we get to shooting pains phase, I can barely walk.
Now, I’m not an “active” person. I gained a lot of weight in the first year after I quit my corporate job and started working on my Master’s degree. For the past year, I’ve been trying to slowly change my diet and increase my activity level to lose weight. Besides not always following the correct food choices, I’ve been unable to exercise more because of the foot pain. Once it got so bad I couldn’t even do my regular 2 miles of walking every day (much less my 10k step goal), I
was forced decided to go to my regular doctor.
Of course, the first thing they did was to take an x-ray to make sure I didn’t have a fracture of some sort. No dice. (I was actually hoping for a fracture, because there’s a clear treatment there.) So I was sent to a podiatrist.
Let’s back up a bit. I’m a huge fucking pussy. I don’t like pain, I don’t like being told what to do, and I don’t like being vulnerable and/or helpless. I also dislike socializing, waiting, and repeating myself. Guess how many of these things are involved in visiting any doctor, no matter how good? Basically what I’m saying is that I’m the worst fucking patient you can get. I avoid the doctor at nearly all costs, for their own benefit. They work hard, they shouldn’t have to deal with the likes of me.
Starting off on the “left” foot
Now, the first time I visited the podiatrist, they did all the same kind of checks that my regular doctor did, plus ask about activity, footwear, and specifics about the pain, then looked at my x-rays. He agreed that there wasn’t a fracture or other bone problem so he prescribed an ankle brace to minimize movement, and “forbade” me from doing any exercise or going on walks.
Several weeks passed. The ankle brace was actually good for a different reason: I have stupidly weak ankles and I’m constantly rolling the things. The brace prevents that from happening, and prevented my foot from bending the way that hurts. The old “if it hurts, don’t do it” adage at work folks.
In my next follow up at the podiatrist, nothing was really better so he prescribed me an Aircast boot. And literally forbade me from walking unless strictly necessary. “Wear the boot when you’re going to be on your feet for more than 10 minutes,” were the instructions. So I just put it on in the morning and didn’t take it off until that evening.
Remember how one of my favorite things is to be told what to do? And how I really love being helpless? As you can imagine, this prescription was the most amazing news ever! Finally, I could sit on my ass all day long, having everyone do things for me (or just not having them done if I’m at home alone), and not do anything I wanted or needed to do. Fucking brilliant.
The worst part is that the stupid fucking goddamned Aircast felt good for the most part. I mean, it felt awful having it on, and I walked like a fat baby giraffe while wearing it, and it was ugly as all sin, but I’ll be damned if my foot actually didn’t hurt while wearing it. Of course, the pain was still there if I moved my toes, but since the boot prevented that they didn’t hurt while I was in the boot.
I was in that fucking stupid goddamned Aircast for 4 weeks. Because I still had pain when bending my toes (and truth be told: that pain was worse than before I went in), the foot doc ordered an MRI. MRIs aren’t very fun for asocial, slightly claustrophobic pussies like yours truly. I was coping fine until they told me I had to take off all my jewelry, including my sterling silver necklace. Seriously guys, the last time I took that necklace off was when the chain broke in 2013, and I just put it on a longer chain until I could get a new one. It was off for maybe…45 seconds? Before that it hadn’t been off since I got it in 2003. This thing is like part of my body. That’s kind of when I had a little mental freakout. Thankfully they had me behind a curtain and no one was in the room so I could just take a few minutes to breathe deeply and think to myself that this was no big deal, and the faster I started the faster it would be done. It was definitely one of the longest 20 minute stretches of my life.
Side note: I felt like a total asshole when the nurse asked me what kind of music I listened to so they could put it on in the headphones they provide because the MRI is loud. My first 3 answers were unlikely to be accessible on Pandora (not that I know what is on Pandora, because hello, Google Play Music?) and finally I stammered out “classic rock.” Spin doctors was playing, following by Bon Jovi, followed by a track from the Metallica Black album. Jesus I’m old.
“The MRI wasn’t very helpful.”
A few days after the MRI I went back to the podiatrist. “Well, the MRI wasn’t very helpful,” he tells me, “and doesn’t really show me anything that would line up with the pain you’re experiencing.” He recommended I continue with my stretches, start walking again (taking time to build up to my previous distance), and continue taking anti-inflammatory meds and resting my foot if it starts hurting. If it’s still bothering me in two weeks, then he wants to look at putting it in an actual cast.
Yeah, I can already feel my foot getting better.