Sorry for the wall of text, but I want to give everything that I have done so far since the injury.
My injury happened almost two years ago. I was going down a water slide at a water park laying almost all the way down in order to increase my speed. My legs were straight and my knees locked when I came out. As a result the bottom edges of my heels slammed into the bottom of the pool with most of it being on my left. My first thought when I hit was that I broke something because it hurt so bad. I was able to limp out of the pool but it hurt a lot to walk on it. Later it bruised up and there was swelling in my heel and a little on the outside of my foot. Everyone was saying that a bone bruise takes a long time to heal so I ignored it for a while.
I'm not sure if my high tolerance for pain allowed me to ignore it completely or if it got better. However, about six months after the injury I started to notice pain again. I went to the doctor and had it x-rayed which showed normal. I then had an MRI which I had to limp to because it was hurting so much. That also showed normal. The doctor showed no interest in finding out what it was so I decided to once again ignore it for a while. Then one day I was turning a corner and felt a sharp, grinding pain. I decided it was time for a second opinion.
This doctor threw out suggestions of what it could be and recommended a boot. I asked for detailed x-rays of my heel since my first ones were only basic ones not targeted at the heel. It showed a dark spot on the location of the pain. I was put in a boot for about a month. This did nothing. At one point I had been walking/standing on it for several hours and could barely walk by the end of the day. When I went back the doctor said it was plantar fasciitis. I asked about the dark spot on the x-ray and the doctor said that they looked at it again and that the spot is normal. If it was normal why would it signal a problem the first time? So I was given some basic inserts. It seemed to be doing ok and I stopped wearing them for a few days. Then I put them back in and by the end of the day it hurt again. I went back and was told to do physical therapy. That worked for a little bit, but then it flared up again. I was then given a cortisone shot. It lasted for three days so I went to a third doctor.
This doctor also said plantar fasciitis after another basic x-ray showed nothing. I had it taped for a few weeks and then was given special orthotics formed to my feet. This didn't help. The doctor was completely stumped since he was convinced the orthotics would work. My husband mentioned a possible entrapped nerve and all of a sudden that's what it's always been. I was given another cortisone shot which again lasted only three days. He also gave me heel cups to go with the orthotics. When I went back he suggested another cortisone which I told him no since none of them did any good. So he did an alcohol shot instead. This made it numb for a couple days, but it would still twinge every now and then. I am now on my second shot which hasn't really done anything.
Right now the pain gets worse the longer I walk or stand on it. If I just stand on it the pain increases faster than just walking. I would describe the pain as a dull ache. If I step on it just right, though, it will be a sharp pain instead. On a few occasions I can just be sitting with my feet tucked behind me and it will twinge a little bit. It doesn't hurt right away when I first walk. My right one will hurt too, but not near as bad as the left. Another thing that I've noticed is that if I don't walk on my heel at all over the weekend it seems tight and puffy. My outside ankle also has a puffy lump on the top. If I walk on my heel then the tightness in my heel isn't as much, but then the lump gets bigger on my ankle.
My question is, should I stick with the alcohol shots (my doctor said it might take eight) or should I get a fourth opinion? When I asked about a CT scan he shot it down. Since the first MRI didn't show anything I'm not sure if that would show anything now. Especially since it was hurting a lot when I first had it done. But if it was plantar or an entrapped nerve wouldn't it have shown something? It concerns me that it's been almost two years since I injured it and it still hurts. I want to be able to walk on it without it hurting after only 15 minutes. My family is going camping in August and I can't go because I wouldn't be able to go on any hikes without limping by the end. I'm tired of not being able to even do the dishes without it hurting by the time I'm done. If anyone has any thoughts or advice it would be greatly appreciated.
Okay, no more cortisone shots for now. One is usually fine, but you don't want them over and over again without a diagnosis. X-rays and even MRIs of the foot and ankle can easily miss things, because there are so many little bones in that area, all overlapping each other.
Your pain sounds absolutely nothing like plantar fasciitis, beyond the fact that it's located in your heel. That's worst when you first get up in the morning, and there usually isn't much swelling visible.
A CT scan sounds like a good idea. It might detect a bone injury inside the joint. More importantly, you need to get yourself to an orthopedic surgeon who is a board-certified foot and ankle specialist. Get a copy of the original films from the x-ray that showed the dark spot and bring them with you. It's possible the dark spot really is nothing at all, maybe a tiny malfunction in the x-ray machine or something, but let the doctor see it.
Thanks for the reply. I'm glad to know that I'm not going completely crazy. I went to another doctor who was board certified. However, he was also stumped and even suggested wearing a night splint that stretches the foot and taking anti-inflammatory medication. I've already tried taking medicine which caused my period to start early and then wouldn't end until I stopped taking the medication. The night splint I know is a treatment for plantar fasciitis. So needless to say I wasn't happy with his suggestions.
I did ask about a CT scan and he said that the MRI would easily been able to detect a fracture. I think he could tell I wasn't happy with his responses so he did tell me to bring in my MRI so that he could take a look at it. I couldn't get a copy of the xray with the dark spot because they close at 5:00 and I work about an hour away and get off at 4:00. However, after talking to the doctor I'm going to try to make it in time before they close either today or Monday.
It's frustrating that since the xray shows up normal every doctor I see diagnosis me with plantar fasiitis. I've gone through several treatments for this and yet it still hurts. I know I just need to be more assertive and demand a CT scan. I'm not good at stuff like that, but since it's my health I know I need to be. My brother actually had several xrays and was also diagnosed with plantar. He finally was able to find a doctor who thought out of the box and took an xray at a non-typical angle which showed his sesamoid bone was broken in half. I hesitate going to the same doctor, however, since he did the surgery for my brother and cause an entrapped nerve and him getting MSRA.
I'm also seeing what my insurance will cover with a CT scan and if it's possible I can schedule one myself or if I have to have a doctor's note. Thanks again for the note of encouragement to keep pushing. I can't see how it's possible that an xray and an MRI show nothing and no treatments are helping. There HAS to be something wrong. It's just finding a doctor who will listen and finding the right scan that will show what it is.