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new member ankle pain help!

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by tunnelight, Sep 4, 2015.

  1. tunnelight

    tunnelight New Member

    Reading this forum has been incredibly helpful. I'm nervous to join in, but relieved to finally reach out for support. Long story short, about 5 years ago, my left knee was bothering me. I was pushing myself very hard physically while participating in triathlons. After seeing a PT who manipulated my SI joints (leg length discrepancy), I started having pain in both ankles/feet. The pain would change daily, but was predominantly a burning/extreme sensitivity on my right heel/achilles and the outside of my left ankle. Blood tests, xrays, MRIs, bone scans, acupuncture, chiropractic, etc. - no bueno. Basically, after completely altering my lifestyle, it just went away 3 years later. For a couple of wonderful years, my prayers were answered. The only thing that hurt was my knee! Thinking that I was finally a normal person again who could walk across the room barefoot, I decided to revisit my bikram yoga studio. We were just standing there and slightly bent our knees when I felt something pull on the inside of my right ankle. For the rest of the class, it felt ok. However, for the next week it just got worse and worse. Then - low and behold - my left ankle joined in the fun. 2 months later, I'm still struggling day to day. My chiropractor is extremely competent and supportive, but we're not getting anywhere with treatment. And I'm seeing a podiatrist who diagnosed me with tarsal tunnel in my right foot. We did a cortisone injection last week, which hasn't done much so far. I know that this is TMS, but I feel very alone and unsure where to start in the healing process. It feels like things are getting worse instead of better. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
    SunnyinFL likes this.
  2. SunnyinFL

    SunnyinFL Well known member

    Hi Tunnelight,

    Congratulations for joining in this forum, despite the nerves you felt. I've learned that everyone who does this work is courageous; most people would not be willing to do it. You've taken a powerful step toward healing!

    About where to start . . . you've already started! You've asked for advice about how to approach healing, so here are some suggestions that I have found helpful:

    1. When you want support, keep doing what you've already done - ask for it on this forum. You will find many people who can relate and will be happy to support you.

    2. Don't buy every book or program there is about TMS - it is neither necessary nor productive. There are many healing programs - just pick one that grabs your attention and get started. I've used two programs, both of which I would highly recommend: the Structured Educational Program ("SEP") on this Web site and Dr. Schubiner's Unlearn Your Pain (both Web course and workbook).

    3. Please know you are not alone - all of us on this wiki can relate to the feelings expressed in your post and to your pain.

    4. Please be kind to yourself. You'll learn more about that as you proceed, and it is very important. The healing process is a journey and takes time. You can't push or force your way through it; rather, you need to allow it to happen as you proceed with the work at your own pace. Starting to be more gentle and more kind to yourself will work wonders.

    Please keep asking questions and good luck! Sunny
    Boston Redsox and mike2014 like this.
  3. mike2014

    mike2014 Beloved Grand Eagle

    Great advise to tunnelight, Sunny. I couldn't have written it better myself.

    Please also try and continue to do the things that you enjoy in life, don't give them up just because you have TMS. Try to get out, have fun and enjoy the sunshine.

    Consider TMS to be Temporary Mis-alignnent Syndrome, once your mind and body are in sync, the symptoms will serve no purpose and disappear.

    Good luck my friend.
    SunnyinFL likes this.
  4. tunnelight

    tunnelight New Member

    Thank you Sunny and Mike! I've had one of Dr. Sarno's books and Dr. Schubiner's book since the 1st bout with this. Unfortunately, I didn't apply the principles consistently, so I'm not sure how/why I overcame it. And I've done my best to continue on with life, but it's hard. I cry a lot and have anxiety attacks. But I'm extremely concerned about worrying my family and friends, so I try to keep it to myself as much as possible.

    What do you tell yourself to stay positive?
    How are you kind to yourself?
    How do you keep from letting it show?
    mike2014 and SunnyinFL like this.
  5. mike2014

    mike2014 Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Tunnelight, I must admit, I can fully relate to how you are feeling. I have good days and bad days too.

    I don't know how you overcame it, I know when my pain subsided, it was because I kept actively busy and didn't pay it any attention. I did all the things I loved and challenged it.

    I'm currently on a relapse too, it's come back with a vengeance, it's probably because I didn't commit to the work, wholeheartedly and with dedication. I attached myself to the mild pain, made it part of me and accepted it.

    Those are some difficult questions because we all find different approaches that suit.

    Stay focussed and don't concentrate on your ailments but resume normal activity and have fun. Join a group and be around those who you care for and love. Also, use this community to read success stories and find the support you may not find in the real world, the sense of belonging is definitely important in your journey.

    Try and incorporate some form of mindfulness meditation and be mindful in your day. Learn to be non judgemental of your thoughts, simply let them be, as is, without reacting. Practicing affirmations and routinely showing gratitude to yourself on a daily basis seems to be working wonders for me.

    Finally, there are two types of emotions, healthy and unhealthy, those we express and those we suppress. Whilst we cannot express every emotion we can learn to diffuse these emotions by either using meditations, EFT tapping or journalling. Different techniques work for different people.

    Please be gentle to yourself and don't be afraid to feel those emotions, but learn how to best channel those thoughts with clean thinking. You will find most of these thoughts that trigger pain are preconceived and will never happen.
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2015
    SunnyinFL likes this.
  6. SunnyinFL

    SunnyinFL Well known member

    Hi Tunnelight,

    I discovered that it's easy to intellectually understand the healing principles, but integrating them into your life is a whole different ballgame. Please realize that the techniques are skills - like riding a bike, or playing the piano, or learning to play tennis. The way to master skills is by getting good instructions (i.e., Schubiner, Sarno), getting effective coaching (i.e., support on this web site), and practicing, practicing, practicing.

    I'm just going to give you one thing to practice - I have many more ideas, but if you can practice and master just one skill, you'll begin to feel the effect, and then you will be ready to move on to the next. So, how about, for just one week, trying to be aware of when you're hard on yourself (i.e., you have to do this, you should be doing this, I'm stupid, etc, etc, etc). Each time you notice yourself being hard on yourself, try to say something like, "geez, give yourself a break!" (I say this like I'm talking to my brain as a different entity - so yourself means my own brain, or your own brain as the case may be).

    You can be kind to yourself by not expecting too much of yourself too soon - i.e., give yourself one week to be more aware and practice this one kindness skill before expecting yourself to master more skills. During this week, try to disregard your pain. It doesn't matter for now. You'll take care of it eventually. Just say, "it doesn't matter" - which is doesn't, for now.

    For example, I quickly discovered that all day long I used to tell myself, "you have to do this, you have to do that, etc." I was shocked when I became aware that I started this before I even opened my eyes in the morning! (i.e., you have to get up, you have to get going, etc.). Nobody likes being pushed around by a bully, including me - so I quickly used my conscious mind to override the bullying messages by literally saying to myself, "geez, give yourself a break" about 100 times a day. It's automatic now.

    Please keep asking questions and keep persisting. This is a journey, and the results can be amazing if you patiently keep at it. Best wishes!
    mike2014 and tunnelight like this.
  7. tunnelight

    tunnelight New Member

    This is profound. Can you please elaborate? I would love to hear more of your take on this.

    Also, I firmly believe that God put this in my life the 1st time for a reason. My life is infinitely better for having gone through what I did. I keep asking Him what he's trying to teach me this time. Do you feel this way?
  8. mike2014

    mike2014 Beloved Grand Eagle

    I'm not sure if you practice being mindful, throughout your day, but sometimes when you feel an emotion, learn to observe the feeling or thought without passing judgement or reacting.

    Once you are able to understand any obsessive thinking patterns, ie fear, anxiety etc you can adopt a skill to change your thinking, eg EFT etc. Please be advised that change will not happen over night, it will take persistency and determination.

    I am not a religious individual, but some do incorporate region into their healing. I would definitely say there is a spiritual element, a disbance between living and being.

    I just wanted to welcome you again to the forum.
    SunnyinFL and tunnelight like this.
  9. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    This is a really wonderful exchange of posts. The TMS community is so caring and helpful. We all give each other suggestions for healing that are helping each other.

    Mike, I really like you saying it is important to add the spiritual element. I believe Him when He said, "Ask and you shall receive."

    Tunnelight, I too believe God sent me pain, severe back pain, to lead me to learn about Dr. Sarno and TMS and then this forum. I have healed and also become more spiritual.

    God bless us all.
    Grateful17 likes this.
  10. tunnelight

    tunnelight New Member

    Thank you so much Mr. Oleksy! Reading your supportive posts and words of wisdom gave me the courage to share my experience. I've already ordered your book. I think it could help me find the missing link.
  11. aces0730

    aces0730 Peer Supporter

    Hi Tunnellight,

    I have had unexplained ankle pain, well not totally unexplained, but I know the frustration. 2.5 years ago I was injured doing Zumba, and went to see an ortho who stuck me in a boot for 3 weeks and I had no pain. Before I finished PT to restore the lost calf strength, I went to the beach only for the pain to return the next day. The day I went to the beach my sister was driving me crazy about going to the beach, yada yada. I've had 3 MRI's and they haven't found anything. TMS is the diagnosis and I'm working hard with reading the books. This is a journey, and we all want a quick fix, so I hear you loud and clear.

    Take all the advice and knowledge from the wonderful people on this site.
    SunnyinFL likes this.
  12. tunnelight

    tunnelight New Member

    Aces - Thank you for your thoughtful reply. It helps to know that we're not alone. :rolleyes:
    SunnyinFL likes this.
  13. armchairlinguist

    armchairlinguist Peer Supporter

    Oh man, so much pressure! I'm sorry you're feeling so bad. It sounds like you need a trusted friend or two to listen - if you're in pain and struggling, you don't have to go it alone, even if you think that maybe your own brain is generating the pain. It's still real and dealing with it is hard. Friends are there to support us. And we're here to support you.

    Ankles -- that's me too. I've been in and out of here for a while - I had previously two actual injuries on the left, one fairly severe and the other minor, but the healing process did not proceed normally, now I am left with chronic pain in the left ankle that is not explained. The docs that I've been to (two podiatrists and an orthopod now) all say that everything seems fine structurally. My PT acknowledges that I have some scar tissue and restriction but also is surprised by the pain I report. The really funny thing that happened lately (why I am back) is that the last doc, the ortho, was so definite about the left foot being structurally sound. He was respectful of my reported pain but said with confidence that he saw no reason I could not be biking, hiking and doing yoga again. So the rest of that day, my left foot hardly hurt at all, and the right one started up!

    I had a vague recollection of stepping funny on my right foot the previous weekend but it was not swollen at all, and was nothing that should have set off the parade of symptoms it is doing. I used to say that if my right foot ever started imitating my left I would know this was complete nonsense as it has never been injured in any way. Actually what happened is that I became afraid of the right being injured somehow, secretly (?!?!?!). So I can say for sure that I have not got it figured out yet psychologically -- oops. We are all in this boat trying, I guess. It isn't easy, even if you have recovered before (I had RSI which is Gone, gone). Your description sounds similar to what I said about my right - just a slight pain from a minor movement, it shouldn't be able to physically transform you as much as it has.

    For my own peace of mind I am going to see one more ortho but I am finally almost positive after watching my uninjured right foot imitate my left almost perfectly (including the "ligament restriction") that I have either TMS or something similar.
    Tennis Tom likes this.
  14. tunnelight

    tunnelight New Member

    Hi armchair! Wow - Just swap right/left and we have the same story!

    Actually, I finally saw THE podiatrist that my chiropractor recommended. I told him that my goal is to wear tennis shoes like a normal person. He said that my arches are so abnormally high that I will never walk barefoot or in tennis shoes ever again. I must only wear the wedge flip-flops and wedge clogs that I have been wearing since my symptoms appeared. And he was freaking out about my bone density, which he thought he could see from the x-rays. Funny thing is, I've never had another doc mention that on any of the x-rays, MRIs, bone scans, etc. Anyhow, I kept trying to refocus on the superficial burning and soft tissue/nerve pain, which is my concern. I don't have bone pain. He also wanted to do some strange scan for leg-length measurement and extensive blood work. I just had blood work done by my internist, which was normal. And he used the word "fibromyalgia"! :p

    But here's the good part... 4 years ago, I would have been an emotional wreck after a visit like that. Today, I just laughed about it. Thanks to all of you and your wonderful encouragement, I have hope. I will NOT let this man make me think that my bone density is wrecked or that I "contracted fibromyalgia" from 1 yoga class! Or that my feet are deformed. I inherited my arches from my Dad, who is a 10th degree black belt and has taught karate barefoot for 40 years.

    My 8 year old nephew said "You should just tell him HE'S FIRED!" :cool:
  15. Tennis Tom

    Tennis Tom Beloved Grand Eagle

    You mean chiro-QUACK-tor don't you? Put on your tennies and run like hell, away from him!
    tunnelight likes this.
  16. aces0730

    aces0730 Peer Supporter

    "Actually, I finally saw THE podiatrist that my chiropractor recommended. I told him that my goal is to wear tennis shoes like a normal person. He said that my arches are so abnormally high that I will never walk barefoot or in tennis shoes never again"
    Tunnelight, my podiatrist told me I would never be able to walk in the sand again. What a bunch of idiots they are.
  17. tunnelight

    tunnelight New Member

    Aces - The very 1st podiatrist that I saw told me that I would end up in a wheel chair. He wanted me to have genetic testing done to check for Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease. And get this... with a straight face, his receptionist said that it would cost $17,000 out of pocket. You can't make this stuff up! :eek:
  18. armchairlinguist

    armchairlinguist Peer Supporter

    Wow! It's wild to hear these stories about doctors. The ortho I saw last said "I'm sure you can find someone who will do surgery" but I've never personally encountered that kind of attitude - instead they all tell me I'm fine, they don't even want to give me a cortisone shot. Which I guess means I should listen!

    My right foot is still doing its performance, but if I'm careful I can notice how intermittent it is. For example, today I stayed home sick from work so I slept most of the day and haven't left the house. I went out a few minutes to water some plants. My left foot (previously the bad one) is all "yah, I'm cool" and the right is like "omg freaking out". But the day I went to work and did errands and walked half a mile home, it was pretty much fine. This isn't how actual injuries work.

    I'm figuring out that for me there are some emotional things I thought I had dealt with but haven't, and there is one really huge thing that I think is always the elephant in the room, perfectionism. Perfectionism creates constant anxiety for me and makes it hard to live authentically and connect with people. It's so constant that I only notice it when on rare occasions it's gone, like knowing that I have a whole day ahead of me to do nothing but sleep and rest and no one is expecting anything from me. Then I would pick up my phone and switch over to work email and there it was again. (Mobile devices are a bane sometimes but in this case an insightful bane.)

    @tunnelight and @aces0730 - I hope things are improving for you. It's nice to have some companions on the journey and I hope we all get to feeling more in tune with ourselves soon.
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2015
  19. tunnelight

    tunnelight New Member

    Hi Armchair! :D I have a very similar experience with symptoms switching sides and having no rhyme or reason. And I agree that real injuries do NOT behave this way. This is wonderful news for us in that it solidifies the TMS diagnosis.

    Lately, I've been doing much better with ignoring symptoms. When family or co-workers say "Should you be doing that?" or "Have you tried such-and-such?" I just laugh and tell them that I'm trying to convince myself that it's psychosomatic, so they're making it worse by bringing it up. They usually look at me funny, but it works. They've always known that I was a strange bird, so I don't think it really phases them. It probably sounds more sane than saying that I have little sub-C gremlins following me around and stabbing my heels. :wacky:

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