Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Painful Foot Update: Peroneal Tendonitis

So, last Friday, I went to a new foot doctor about the pain and swelling around my outer right ankle bone.  The whole staff was very nice.  The doctor pressed on various areas of my bare foot and asked if it was painful.  He found the worst spot (toward the back heel side of the bony area) and suspected an inflamed tendon.

I had my foot x-rayed to rule out any bone or other problems - all clear there.  With my past history of having this same problem a few months back, and since it went away with just some icing and rest, he says we can assume this is peroneal tendonitis.  If it gets better in a few days with the ice, Aleve, rest, etc. that would support the diagnosis.  However, if it gets worse or does not subside, we can do more detailed testing like MRI to see if anything has torn.

An ankle brace was recommended to help support the foot and reduce further inflammation while walking around, so I went and got one after my appointment.

I was also told my arches were slightly flat, and that my foot posture turning downward on the inner sides of my feet was possibly contributing to my tendonitis.  The doctor recommended getting some good shoe inserts with sturdy arch support. So I got a pair of these as well.  Since I had some cheap inserts in my boots already, he looked at them and added some felt to the bottom of the arch area, to beef up the support a bit.  I thought that was nice.

I also got a great printout of strengthening exercises to do to help prevent further injury to my feet, and have been giving those a try each day.  I'm backing off the daily stairs climbing at work until I feel better, and the yoga and other activities are mostly on hiatus, too, to I can rest the bad foot.  I did do some yoga poses today, though.  I just made sure I didn't use my feet for support and took extra care to look for any signs of pain in that bad ankle.

So, here I am, several days later with my foot feeling a lot better, but not quite back to normal yet.  I am still wearing the ankle brace but I have put the cane away and have just been stepping slowly and carefully at work and at home.

I'm a bit cranky otherwise, though, because other symptoms have been acting up.  I fear that the Aleve I was told to take (always with meals, mind you) for the inflammation was irritating my stomach, so I stopped taking it.  I had some gastritis a while back and don't know if that is still with me, or if it's just more IBS or something else.  I have been dealing with some sharp, stabbing pains in my ribs and back the past couple of days, and my eyes feel like I've been awake too long, though I did manage to sleep.  Then yesterday, out of nowhere, tinnitus in my left ear just started raging with this loud, muffling ringing for hours.  On top of all of these symptoms, like the cherry on top, is all the mental garbage that tags along: my difficulty with focus and memory, plus the stress of dealing with all this crap while trying to live and manage and keep my job.  I declare a flare.  And I am just trying to remember that there is hope at the other end of this particular nightmare.  I just don't know when exactly that will be.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Painful Foot and Burning Hands

I feel a bit like a dog with a hurt hind leg these days.  You know how they will lift the painful foot up and only hop lightly with it, if necessary?  It's this darn pain in my right foot/ankle area again.

As much as I hate using the cane that I keep in my car, (and getting the old "what happened?" or the exaggerated sad and concerned face from well-meaning coworkers,) I broke down and started using it a couple days ago.  I took about 6 steps away from my car in the parking lot at work last Tuesday when I realized I should be using that cane.  Stubborn me, though, I didn't turn back to get it.  I soldiered on through the morning and grabbed it at lunchtime.

Tomorrow morning, I will see a podiatrist to see what the problem is.  I'm hoping to at least find out what I might have done to aggravate this condition, so I can at least stop doing that.  Thus far, I have noticed that the pain subsides with rest, and gets worse with stairs, (both up and down,) or walking for more than about a minute.  Today I noticed further that it's when I place the heel down that is painful, and I've caught myself kind of toe-stepping slowly on my right foot, and relying on the cane for support.

The cane also slows me down so I can step more carefully.  It also helps tell others that I won't be able to scurry up to catch that opened door, or run across a walk before that car comes.  The cane is growing on me, but I still hate having one hand occupied while I'm moving.  It's also a bit of a bother in the bathroom.  I have a new appreciation for anyone who needs to use walking aids full time.

Anyway, I hope to know more about this foot tomorrow.

On a side note, I've been noticing an odd new symptom has popped up in the past few weeks.  Every now and then, my hands turn really red and hot and start burning painfully.  The burning makes me look at them.  It looks ridiculous.  One time, just my thumbs and index fingers were red-hot, but the pinkies were cold.  My husband was around so I showed him.  It is bizarre.  I also notice coldness in my toes, inside my shoes/slippers when my fingers and hands get cool.

I'm one of those people who is usually cold, especially my hands and feet and especially around bedtime.  I get those "icicle feet".  Luckly, Don is usually too warm so he lets me warm up my tootsies on his warm feet and we find some kind of equilibrium.  As a child, I remember getting hands so cold I had to stop practicing piano.  My mom knows.  She would always say "cold hands, warm heart" to make me feel better.

My first thought about the temperature weirdness is Raynaud's, which is common among fibromites. Cold really does hurt my hands.  For example, peeling a cold cucumber requires breaks where I put down the cold cucumber and blow on my hands to warm them up again.  Again, ridiculous.  When I come in from a walk in cold weather, my thighs are numb and as I begin to warm back up inside, they twitch all over.  Does this happen to you?  The thing is, I've never recalled any real white or blue discoloration of my fingers, as with the classic Raynaud's.  I know it's not the same for every patient, but I just notice that.  I just get the red, hot hands.  I don't know if my feet get that way, though, other than when the pressure hives are raging on the bottoms of my feet.

Today I came across a rare condition with the burning red extremities.  I hate to speculate, but I cannot help but wonder about it.  It's called Erythromlalgia and here is the page with the interesting photos: http://www.erythromelalgia.org/WhatisEM.aspx

I will definitely need to note these new symptoms for my next rheumatologist appointment.  I just saw her last month, but if things get ridiculous, I may try to see her sooner than my next appointment in August.

Do you know anything about this?  Got any tips or links that might help me?

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Snowy Weather

This winter has been extreme in several ways, and in much of the U.S.  Between the frigid temperatures caused by the "polar vortex" and the frequent snowfalls, it's been challenging for us fibromites just trying to survive the season.

I'm having a variety of symptom flare ups despite my cozy fleece leggings (I got several from Walgreens for five bucks each - so worth it!) and my husband forbidding me from shoveling the snow.  Muscle spasms have been frequent.  IBS was raging fiercely for a couple weeks but has finally subsided (thank goodness).  And the odd foot problem I had last Fall is back today.  Somehow, it snuck back while I was lying in bed or sitting down today.  I just don't see how I could have triggered if I wasn't doing anything.  I never managed to see a doctor about this last time, so I might be doing that if this becomes a daily pain again.

Anyway, I recorded a short, relaxing, snowfall video a couple weeks ago and thought I'd share with you all, so you can relax and enjoy.  

I'm hoping we are in the home stretch of winter, finally, so hopefully looking at this will not stress any of you out.