Last February, I had surgery on my left foot. You can read all the details here. The surgery went well, but I was in a cast longer than planned because the new bone I needed to grow didn’t, or at least didn’t at a normal rate. Finally, however, I was cast free, did something like 8 weeks of PT and went on my merry way.
I felt pretty damn good for awhile, but by mid-August I was having some pain near my toes. I was afraid something had happened to the bone that needed to grow more, so I didn’t say much and limped my way around. And, of course, as these things always do, the pain became more intense and didn’t do so well hiding the limp.
I went to the world’s greatest chiropractor (and I do mean that title be taken literally), she did some toe and adjustments and sighed. She was pretty sure it was a neuroma, and that it wasn’t going to get better with time. I knew she was right, but I procrastinated. Soon, my back went out because I was walking without putting pressure on my left toes. Then it went out again; then again. That’s when my chiropractor said she wouldn’t see me again until I went back to my foot surgeon. I knew she’d still see me, but I also knew this meant I better go to the foot surgeon. My chiropractor isn’t one to say “you have to go to a doc” unless you REALLY HAVE to go to a doc.
Today I went. Foot surgeon was not pleased I’d been limping around so long and chastised me for not coming in sooner. So I’m a bad patient. But considering this guy had be in a cast from Oct 26, 2010-Dec 6, 2010 and again from Feb 16, 2011-May 3, 2011, and cut my foot open, took out bone, put in metal and bone and something that was supposed to make my own bone grow and failed (ok, it’s possible my bone failed, but still), I thought coming back at all was pretty big of me.
The lecture led to some x-rays which showed my damn bone still hasn’t filled in but that all the hardware was where it should be and all my bone were intact: no fractures, stress or otherwise. Yea! Then he started poking around where I said I had pain–I hate that:
Squeeze, “does that hurt?” he asked.
“Well, I thought, do most of your patients fly off the table when you squeeze there?”
“How about here?”
“Ok, does it hurt more here (squeeze) or here (squeeze)”? “How the hell do I know,” I say as I peel myself off the ceiling. “One feels like a huge hot poker is being shoved through my foot, and the other feels like an even bigger hot poker is doing the same. Is that difference significant?”
Foot surgeon is a smart man, so he says, “Well, those areas are clearly painful. But, the x-rays are clear. I need to do one more test. He takes my foot, wraps his hand around my toes and squeezes them all together while pressing down on the areas to put me on the ceiling.
“Waaaaaaaaaaaa, that fucking hurts,” I scream.
Foot surgeon doesn’t miss a beat, “well, that pretty much sums it up” he says. “You have what’s called a ‘Morton’s neuroma.’ Because your bone hasn’t fully healed and because fusing some of the bone inevitably puts pressure on the surrounding area, the nerves in that area have been highly irritated for some weeks now, causing the tissue around the nerve or nerves between your third and fourth toes.
He said he recommended an injection, noting that sometimes that does the trick. If not, in about six weeks, we’ll consider other options. When I asked what those options might be, he said we shouldn’t worry about them now. I knew that meant I would not be happy about the options, and I was right. According to Mayo online, if injections don’t work the next options are two different kinds of surgery, and neither one sounds inviting.
As you might imagine, the shot was incredibly painful, but as soon as the needle was pulled out, the area was numb and remains so. No pain at all! At least for a few days until the numbing meds wear off.
I also have to order some pads that will help push my third and fourth toes a part. If this works, I will be thrilled beyond measure. If not, I may take a hostage.