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Cheri’s story: Active again after tarsal tunnel surgery

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Cheri walking on a track

Cheri Mortinson’s weekly fitness routine once included walking and riding a stationary bike. That is, until pain stopped her.

“I went to sleep and the next day I had such pain in my feet,” Cheri says. “I started to get this pain running down the front part of my foot and up into my shin. It was like a hot poker running from my lower shin all the way to the front part of my ankle, throughout that area right there.”

The pain was constant, unrelenting. Cheri could hardly walk. Getting quality sleep was a mere dream.

Cheri sought help. She visited nine doctors. None could identity the cause of her pain.

In her desperation, she remembered one doctor she figured might help provide relief from the pain, Dr. Danqing Guo, a physician with BayCare Clinic Pain & Rehab Medicine.

Over the years, Guo had treated her for ankle and other pain.

“I went back to him because I know he didn’t give up,” Cheri says. “He wouldn’t give up on you. He never once said to me, ‘I don’t know what it is. I can’t do anything about that.’”

Cheri, who is in her early 80s, scheduled an appointment to see Guo. He determined her pain was caused by tarsal tunnel syndrome.

The condition, similar to carpal tunnel syndrome in the wrist, occurs as the result of a trapped, irritated or compressed nerve in the foot.

Guo performed a minimally invasive, non-surgical procedure called ultrasound-guided hydrodissection and block. This procedure released the nerves causing Cheri’s pain.

Cheri, who was awake for the procedure, braced herself to endure pain. Instead, she was pleasantly surprised.

“I didn’t feel any pain at all while he was doing it,” she says. “Nothing. I could’ve laid there and sang. I couldn’t believe it was painless.”

But the biggest surprise was yet to come.

“He says, ‘You can get up.’ I said, ‘I can get up? I can get off and walk?’ He says, ‘Oh yeah, you can get off and walk right to the car.’ I couldn’t get over how amazing that was.”

Cheri walked to her car. She was pain-free for the first time in at least two years.

Shortly thereafter, she restarted her fitness routine. Now she’s “all the way back” to where she was before her pain.

“I would certainly recommend this to anybody,” Cheri says.

Published: Friday, January 8, 2021
Author: Ashley Scott