Living with Chronic Foot Pain Update

DIY Blogger Sarah Khandjian shares an update about living with chronic foot pain since she was a child and what's helped her cope.

July 2016 Update

I haven’t shared about how I live with chronic foot pain in nearly two years so I thought I was due for an update. You can read about my entire journey and where I’m at now over on my foot pain post.

For those of you who do not know, I’ve had chronic foot pain in both of my heels and arches since I was a child. It’s always been difficult since my feet ache daily, even before I get out of bed, but things really came to a standstill in 2011 when the pain was unbearable.

I tried everything in the books and went to numerous doctors. I got second, third and fourth opinions. I tried physical therapy, injections, and custom orthotics. As a last resort, I even had surgery in both feet (which later proved to be completely unsuccessful). I ended up at a pain management doctor because I was never able to get a concrete diagnosis. Most doctors ultimately thought that it’s in issue with my nerves and that my brain fires pain signals unnecessarily. The pain management route left me still in intense pain and not feeling like myself to say the least. I gained twenty pounds and felt moody and sad. I hated the way all the different medications I tried made me feel and it seemed as though they just weren’t helping enough to justify taking them.

In the fall of 2014, I decided to stop all my medications and give acupuncture a try.

For months, I went weekly for acupuncture treatments. And for the first time ever, I started to have days with way less pain. My pain wasn’t gone completely, but it now was bearable. I could now do things like ride my horse a few times a week and go on walks, both which previously were so difficult to do.

Over the course of the year I tried two different acupuncturist, who use different methods. I found the Dr. Tan method, which uses points that mirror the parts of your body that are in pain, to be effective. When I had needles places directly on the areas where I experience pain, I had no relief. It’s sounds crazy but when the needles are placed in points in my hands I have the most relief.

I continued with acupuncture in Florida up until we moved to Los Angeles last fall. In January I found an acupuncturist out here that I now see weekly. I was able to find a health insurance plan out here that covers unlimited acupuncture visits so on weeks I’m having unbearable pain I’ll go in twice or even three times. I still have really hard days and extremely hard mornings but I’ve found a way that works for me and allows me to be healthy and active.

Although none of the numerous doctors I visited diagnosed me with any condition related to poor circulation (since everything was always thought to be nerve related), I found that the days I stand in on place or sit for hours to actually be the most painful. Lately, when I’m in bed the pain is at its worst. My acupuncturist recommended I start taking an herbal supplement to increase circulation to my extremities. I’ve been taking it for a couple months now and I can’t say if it’s been super effective although the days I forget to take it do seem to be worse.

If you have chronic foot pain, know that you’re not alone and I hope my story helps you find some comfort and relief.

xo, Sarah

P.S.

The sandals I’ve wearing in the photo above may look like they would be awful for my feet but they’re not. They are actually super supportive and I wear them so much I’ve just about worn out my second pair.

Leave some love:

  1. Ha! First thing I thought was, should she be wearing those shoes? I have chronic pain as well. Not my feet – mostly hip and knee but then there’s the referred pain from those that go into my back and other parts of my legs. It’s a tough road. I also found that acupuncture was helpful. In fact, it combined with paraffin treatments, massage, and a good chiropractor was better than any pain meds I ever took. I’d be interested in learning more about the herbal supplement you’re using.

  2. Pat Reply

    Thank you for writing about your experience with pain. I have had chronic pain for seven years in my ankle from a bad sprain which refuses to heal. I am at the point now where I feel defeated but after reading your blog I take encouragement and a new resolve to press forward and try other ways to handle it. I don’t take any pain medications but perhaps I may see if they can be of help. I tried acupuncture but only once or twice, so maybe I need to find the right practicioner and go more often, but the point is that I see from your blog is that we should never stop trying to find the answer and/or ways to cope and improve. Thank you for the encouragement and for sharing your experiences.

  3. Di Reply

    Hi Sarah It is so good to hear your story only because I can relate to it so well! I have been living with chronic foot pain (inflammation and bursitis) for almost three years now. It has completely changed my life – from having to change career which was a big struggle to day-to-day life change, especially socially and emotionally it has been tough. It is like living an invisible disability and having to let go of so many things that everyday folks take for granted.

    For those with chronic foot inflammation and bursitis, custom orthotic is a must with good footwear. Next is ice! I can’t tell you how many times ice has helped. It takes me a few days to see any change but ice is great. Cortisone didn’t work on me neither did acupuncture. I am about to try shockwave therapy. Has anyone tried shockwave? I am bit worried but at the same time, it could free me from longterm pain :/