I had a bit of a planes, trains and automobiles day yesterday, and trams…oh yes, and crutches…
At the end of November, I suddenly developed pain from a rather nasty pathology in my left foot, known as Morton’s neuroma (MN). And then, at the end of January, I developed the same thing in my right foot, although with far less intensity and pain – (but with an exponential increase in anxiety).
For anyone, let alone an active person, this is a debilitating condition which can literally stop you in your tracks. I stopped walking the golf course and, shortly thereafter, playing golf, altogether. I stopped jogging, taking my afternoon walks and, ultimately, any non-essential walking. I couldn’t walk barefoot painfree and I stopped wearing closed shoes for the same reason. I took to wearing Birkenstocks (and am now a lifetime convert – yes, Cin, I know it’s a style travesty…) and Orthaheel thongs (slops, slip-slops, flip-flops) because these were the only shoes I could walk in at all.
Anyone who has received expert help from the medical profession for MN knows it does not go away of its own accord and if left untreated it only gets worse over time. The surgery is invasive (they cut out the damaged nerve), has a long recovery period, no guaranteed outcomes and often has lingering adverse effects. Chris Freeland’s blog post on MN is the best anecdotal resource I have come across, if you are interested in reading more about people’s personal experience of the surgery and recovery (if you are, read the comments as well). [June 2013 – Chris’s blog has been deregistered]
I won’t bore you with the details of all the research I did and my convoluted path to find a practitioner of a promising, minimally invasive, non-surgical treatment for MN, known as Radiofrequency Denervation (thermoneurolysis), in Australia, but can tell you that it’s available in Melbourne and Cairns, but does not appear to be available anywhere in Sydney.And none of the medical practitioners I saw here mentioned it, and when I asked them about it, only one of them–the orthapaedic surgeon–actually knew about it, so I asked him to refer me to Imaging @ Olympic Park (IOP) in Melbourne. And, so, because I live in Sydney, I have travelled twice to Melbourne over the last seven weeks to have the treatment at IOP, first on the left foot and yesterday, on the right.
And my outcomes so far? Other than a numb foot for 24 hours, after the first treatment, I was back on my feet straight away to the same level as just before the procedure and then 5 weeks later, after the inital healing process, was back playing golf and walking the golf course, but in wider shoes and custom-made full-length orthotics. And I will need to take a golf break again now while the treatment I had yesterday settles down, but overall am very happy with how things are progressing.
One person’s outcomes will almost certainly differ from another’s to some degree and each person will have their own level of expectation as to what constitutes a successful outcome, but if you live in Australia, have been diagnosed with this condition by a podiatrist or orthopaedic surgeon and want to find out more about RFD treatment before opting for surgery, you can contact Imaging @ Olympic Park – they will be more than happy to answer your questions. 😀
Update – 9th October 2012
I have no neuroma pain 6 months after RFD treatment, walk the golf course every time I play and am back to doing my long walks on the weekend. Very glad I did not have the surgery.