August 23, 2008


Gardener's Heel

Two years ago I was diagnosed with painful heel spurs and could barely walk much less stand all day as my job required. Heel spurs are often referred to as " runners or policemen's heel " but it is a common affliction for gardeners as well .

I'm known for a wry sense of humor at the garden center where I work. A regular customer noticed me hobbling around and asked what was wrong . " Plantar Faciitis ", I replied. She laughed, thinking I had made up a ficticious label for gardener's aches and pains. I had never heard of the Latin term for heel spurs either but when I came down with it in both feet believe you me I became a quick study and was on a mission to get back on my feet the fastest, most painless and less risky way possible.

My research paid off and I chose cryosurgery, an outpatient procedure that freezes the injured tissue to -70 degrees and destroys the inflammation. I was up and at'em in 10 minutes and back on my feet in two weeks. Those who go the traditional surgery route can take up to a year for one foot to heal .

I thank God and Medicine for today's technology for without it I would be blind ( cataracts ) and lame . I still have to pace myself as to how much physical activity my feet will take but then I'm not a Spring chicken anymore, even though I can out do a lot of young'uns when it comes to working.

I will probably always have to treat my feet with utmost respect if I want to keep up the activities I so enjoy and I know I spend a lot more money on proper shoes than most but I am ever so grateful to be able to walk without extreme pain.

Which leads me to how to keep the weight off when you can't exercise. But that's another post for another day.


  1. Sounds painful! The new procedure does sound like a god-send. It's sad when we have to spend lots of money on shoes that aren't even fun, but I've had my own foot issues & you gotta do what you gotta do. Glad to hear you're back on your feet (literally & figuratively).

  2. Thanks for this bit of info. I am going to pass it along to a friend who had the traditional surgery and is still going through the recovery. He now has to have the other one done and he is dreading it. Hopefully this procedure will avoid the issues he has had with the traditional surgery.

  3. I had PF after years of wearing steel shanked safety boots for work on the ambulance. It's no fun and yes, mine took forever to heal with cortisone shots and oral anti-inflammatory. Your method sounds much better! I hope it heals well and completely.

  4. Oh, ouch Carolyn! I'm very curious about the procedure you had after reading this post. I'm so glad it worked so well for you. Foot problems are truly a pain.

    Like you and MMD, I've had some foot issues. It's good to learn about less invasive potential options.

  5. So glad you had the procedure and have your life back! If you can't walk correctly, it can have a huge cascading effect on the back, the knees, well thew whole body! Now if this kind of procedure could work on our back issues.


  6. Thanks, MMD. Not only painful but it really limits what you can do which was very hard for me.

  7. You're welcome, three generations. Surgery can also be risky because it can damage nerves in the foot, another reason I liked the cryosurgery.

  8. Thanks, Nancy. While I am a whole lot better I may need further treatment. My doctor told me that sometimes it's not possible to get all of the inflamed tissue in one treatment.

  9. Thanks, Lintys. The procedure was really amazing. The Dr.gave me a local and made a tiny incision. Using a probe he froze the inflamed tissue to -70 and destroyed as much as he could. Ten minutes later I was up and about and felt no pain during the 2 week recovery period.

    The cryo method is being used on cataracts and prostrate surgery as well.

  10. Me, too, Gail. You're right because as that old song goes " the knee bones connected to the thigh bone..."

    I have to do special exercizes to loosen up my calf muscles as well as stretch the plantar faciitis.

    I've read that cryosurgery has been used for sacroliiac joint pain and was able to reduce extreme pain by 58 per cent. It's still in the research stage now.

  11. That doesn't sound like fun at all. I wonder if there's a similar procedure for the horrible tennis elbow I've had for a couple of years and just recently has gotten much, much worse. I really need to make an appointment to see about doing something different. It's cramping my style. LOL.

  12. No fun at all, kylee and it sure cramped my style as well since I like to be "footloose and fancy free " :)
    If you've had tennis elbow for more than a year and have tried deep heat ultrasound or braces then you should look into getting minimally invasive surgery known as arthosocopy. It has been successful in 93per cent of cases.

  13. oh my! hope you are recovering well. friend of mine had foot surgery and she really had to stay off her foot so i can imagine the recovery - but two weeks sounds great!

    thanks for sharing @ new procedure ~i will inquire.mine is near my toe and it's not from gardening but most likely from squeezing my big foot into tiny high heels over the years. now am paying for it!

    take good care Carolyn ;-)


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