A plan (breaking the cycle of pain)

It’s coming up for five weeks since my daughter first got a nasty virus and is four weeks to the day since her foot first started hurting. I’ll admit, there were times, usually late at night or first thing in the morning, when I’ve been scared. What if it’s something really serious? What if it never goes away?

As soon as it became clear that it wasn’t going to miraculously clear up overnight, all I’ve wanted to know is:

  • What’s wrong with her foot?
  • How long will it last?
  • How can we relieve the pain?

My daughter is a very active and physically able little girl. She is a brilliant dancer, a fast runner and can walk for miles. Having to be picked up and carried (thank goodness she’s light!) after just five minutes of walking with a crutch is not what she’s all about.

We’ve been passed from pillar to post a bit as they try to find out what’s wrong with her. At first, the focus seemed to be on the coldness and it was thought to be a nerve or circulation problem, although that didn’t really fit in with the fact that her foot was normal colour and she had a pulse. There was going to be a scan and a referral to the vascular team. I chased the scan and the referral to the vascular team, but they didn’t happen.

Then the focus was on the pain itself. She saw an orthopaedic doctor, who couldn’t find a lot wrong, but said he would refer us to his boss. To their credit, we saw the orthopaedic consultant on the Monday immediately following her Friday appointment. I had to take her out of school early (again!) and we waited and waited and waited, watching people come into the waiting room on their crutches, be seen by a doctor and leave again all within a few minutes. We were an hour and a half late, only to be told by the consultant that there was no orthopaedic problem and she didn’t need an MRI scan (thank goodness, even the words terrified her). I was pleased that we’d ticked something else off the list, but felt other angles had been forgotten.

I managed to speak to the consultant paediatrician a couple of days later, who had come up with a plan. She still doesn’t know what’s wrong, we may never know what’s wrong, but the important thing is to deal with the pain and make it better. Quick. (Yes! We are singing from the same song sheet!)

We now have a small window of opportunity to get my daughter right before her pain becomes chronic pain and harder to shift. After about six or eight weeks, pain becomes chronic and she would be likely to become more dependent on her crutch and less able to break the cycle and get back to normal. We need to make sure she doesn’t damage anything else while compensating and working round the pain.

The plan is simple – physio and painkillers. We kept her on ibuprofen for several days after her virus had cleared, but it didn’t seem to touch the foot, so we’re going right back to basics. She’s on good old, simple Calpol four times a day for the foreseeable future, along with another painkiller, which is similar to, but slightly stronger than ibuprofen. With the painkillers and the physio, she should be able to break the cycle of pain and get back to the happy, active little dancer we know and love.

Keep your fingers crossed it works for her!

I wrote this at the end of last week. On Friday 13th March, four weeks to the day since she first got ill on Friday 13th February, my daughter’s foot didn’t hurt any more. She’d taken a few doses of Calpol, but hadn’t started her physio or the new painkiller. I don’t know if it was down to the Calpol or whether the pain had simply run its course, but I’m very happy that she finally appears to be better.

PicMonkey recoveryCollage, Daughter, Pain, Bad foot, Dancing, Dancer, Recovery

Author: Sarah Mummy

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16 Comments

  1. I didn’t know this about how pain turns into chronic pain but so glad it’s all now cleared up and she’s so much better. That’s one tough journey I hope you all never have to go on again x

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    • I didn’t know it either, amazing what you learn in the space of a few weeks! Thanks, I hope we don’t have to go through it again too. x

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  2. Oh my goodness, what a nightmare for you both! I am so glad that she is feeling better, it must have been awful for you to watch her like that, knowing how much she loves to be active. Now maybe you can have the rest of the year illness and pain free?

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    • Let’s hope so, eh? Thanks very much. It was horrible and I’m so glad she’s better as she was starting to get down and it was horrible to see.

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    • Thank you! It’s such a relief.

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  3. I am glad that she is feeling better now. There is little worse than dealing with chronic pain as an adult never mind as a child so active as your daughter.

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    • Thanks very much. I thought of you as she was going through all of this! It’s a horrible thing for anyone to go through and I’m just glad it eased when it did.

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  4. Everything is crossed here Sarah! Really hope you manage to break the cycle and get your daughter dancing again quick snap 🙂

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    • Thanks very much! She suddenly woke up better one day, I’m not sure if the Calpol kick started it or if it had just run its course, but it was a real relief!

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    • Thank you! It’s such a relief. x

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    • Thank you! It’s a real relief. She coped remarkably well for such an active girl, but it was starting to get her down.

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  5. I haven’t managed to keep up to date on this story because we’ve been having our own dramas – I knew your daughter was unwell but not the story and it sounds a little oddly familiar to ours…
    Cian has had agonising neck pain, unable to move his neck waking in the night screaming in agony unable to move and no one knows what it is, it eased and went and then returned and painkillers weren’t touching it. We’re in a lull at the moment and he’s had blood tests to rule things out but although it’s nice to see him better – it’s scary not knowing the cause! xx

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    • So sorry to read that, it does sound quite familiar. I really hope they find out what’s causing it soon, it is scary when you don’t know what’s wrong and somehow a neck seems scarier than a foot. x

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