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Second Opinion

Toes my foot in happier days

Here’s a goofy mix of foot-related songs to enjoy whilst I relate the latest.

On Monday I went back to my orthopedist because of the previously noted issues I’ve been having with my lower left extremity. I hate going to see that guy because he’s in a big hospital downtown and I feel very lost in the shuffle. It’s like going to seek medical care in a factory. The doctor is nice enough, but I was left with the feeling that he didn’t really have a clue what was causing the discomfort in the front part of my foot. Just taking a while to heal from the break, he said, but that seemed to be a guess. He said my x-ray looked fine, so it must be the “soft tissues.” Just be patient, and if sandals feel better than shoes (they do) then wear ’em.

I posted a tweet to this effect: “Orthopedist says my foot is probly just healing slowly – give it some more time and hope for the best.” I was planning on writing an entry here under the title “Prognosis Unknown.” But before I could get around to it, some friends of Facebook commented on the tweet and next thing I know I’m talking on the phone to a retired (and wacky) podiatrist. Obviously he couldn’t examine me over the phone but he didn’t hesitate to say there’s no way it should be taking this long to heal, since I broke my damn toe four months ago. He advised that I should see a podiatrist, and predicted I’d be given a steroid injection.

So yesterday I rode my bike uptown to the offices of Dr. Edward Lang. What a difference — what an amazing difference. Not only did I receive a better quality of care, but the aesthetic experience was much more pleasant, and stuff like that matters to me. But most importantly I felt like Lang knew what he was doing. He was friendly but also explained everything to me like I’m an intelligent person capable of understanding.

In a nutshell: new doctor, new diagnosis, new treatment. If you are interested in the gory details read on.

The discomfort in the front of my foot is caused by a neuroma — or perhaps more properly a perineural fibroma. He said if I looked this up I would see the word tumor, but not to be alarmed by that because it’s not a tumor in the sense of the term with which I’m familiar. Basically it’s a swelling of the nerve, and he said I had the biggest one he’s seen in years. It took him about five seconds to find this, by squeezing my foot a certain way, and I sure felt it. He confirmed it with sonography.

But I’ve got multiple issues, so the fun didn’t stop there.

The problems in my heel? Plantar fasciitis and (related) bone spurs. Funny, anytime I mentioned my heel problems to anyone, they always asked me if I had plantar fasciitis. I had to plead ignorance because the orthopedist never used that term. When I quizzed him about it on Monday he said it was “calcaneal dennea” or something like that but I can’t find any definition for that term and it did not ring a bell with either podiatrist.

As for my ankle, he confirmed the presence of arthritis there, saying it was a “tremendous amount.”

He gave me not one but two steroid injections, one in the forefoot, one in the heel. He also gave a prescription for some Mobic, which I understand is “a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) in prescription form. It is used to relieve the pain and stiffness of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.” I’m not sure I’ll actually take this because frankly the pain in my ankle is not so bad, especially compared to the other stuff I’m experiencing. I don’t like taking drugs like that unless I really need them, especially considering the anti-inflammatory side-effects: ulcers, internal bleeding, clots, heart attack, stroke. Though the arthritis in my ankle was undoubtedly exacerbated by the sprain, I’m worried that I’m going to be prone to arthritic joint problems as I get older, so I really need to start doing preventative maintenance.

I’m going back in a couple weeks.

I am so glad I got a second opinion. And to think social media helped steer me in the right direction.

Published inBodyMusic & Audio


  1. Kelly McBride Kelly McBride

    Thanks so much for the feet are too big music.

    I had a neuroma as well. My doc gave me some crazy salve that he uses on the IU Football players which worked quite well.

    Sorry to hear about your feetz you know I am a fan.

  2. Glad you found a podiatrist worth his weight. I’ve had a lot of problems with gout in my toes, and had an excellent guy in NY who would give me the inter-joint steroid injection during bad attacks; the standard internist would never do that, because it’s a tricky job. It always hurt like hell – they would have to give me a shot of lidocaine in order to give me the actual shot – but I would go from walking in on crutches to walking out on my own, and with a regular shoe back on my foot, which was always amazing.

  3. Nancy C Nancy C

    I have seen Dr. Lang and I swear by him. The specialists are always best, especially those without the MD behind their names.

  4. Swamper Swamper

    I had what sounds like the exact same symptoms many years back. I had a sharp pain in my heel and pain and soreness between my third and fourth metatarsal. It slowly disappeared after I changed to a different pair of shoes. I was told by an orthopedist that it was because the midsole(where my heel struck) had worn out on my shoes and was causing a slight change in my gait, even though the shoes were fairly new. I began wearing good running shoes(nike, asics,NB) and putting an extra insole and a “rubber wedge”(a running store knows what I mean) to elevate my heel. I also started doing ankle exercises(but not to a point of having pain)-toe lifts. An orthopedist usually wants to solve the problem with surgery and rehab. Try rehab first.

  5. Jack Schick Jack Schick

    I walk barefoot on sharp gravel for a few minutes evry couple-three days.
    ooh-eee-ooh-ah-ah…hurts so good…
    You break up uric acid crystals which settle into toe joints, flush ’em back into
    circulation where they can be filtered out…assisted by your new dietary choice
    of Blood-Alkalizing foods so your system has a chance to yin-yang out the
    evil demonic poisons from your Holy Temple…

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