Well... the truth is that I've not yet accepted the "last resort" as prescribed by the orthopedic surgeon who did my first procedure. It very well might become an inevitability though.
The procedure I had several years ago was outpatient. After having been fitted with expensive orthotics (to no avail, and not to mention that my insurance didn't cover...) it escalated to the next level. Stretching, followed by periodic cortisone injections in the heel to help offset the pain. No luck. And the injections were excruciatingly painful. I won't be doing that again. From there, the next step was shock-treatment therapy. The theory behind shock therapy is that the treatments cause trauma to the local nerves, thereby creating a regeneration process. Went through a series of shock treatments, which didn't pan out. Alright... we're getting very close to that last resort, but not quite! The surgeon told me that most people respond well to an outpatient surgical procedure, the medical terminology called "releasing the tendon." The surgeon put me under, made an incision near the heel, and actually cut a small sliver of the achilles tendon, in hopes that the tendon would become more pliable and stretchy. Although he claimed there was an 85% success rate with the procedure, sadly I was the 15% that found no such joy.
That surgery was approximately 5 years ago... there's been plenty of time since for recovery and resolution, yet here I am still dealing with this 5 years later. And it's actually gotten worse.
So the only thing left is the last resort that I'd hoped like hell to avoid. That's where the surgeon goes in and actually cuts the spur off of the heel. It is a procedure that can and often is very painful during the recovery process. An acquaintance had a spur removed from her shoulder several years ago, and although she's not had issues since - it was very painful for her during the recovery mode. It also goes without saying that the shoulder tendons are used significantly less than foot tendons... and there's also the remote risk that during that procedure - the tendon could become severed and then we're talking a year-long recovery versus the typical 4-6 month recovery.
So that's where I am, basically. How much longer do I want to endure the occasional pain and frustration, versus being laid up in a medical boot for 6+ months while waiting for everything to properly heal.
You said something, Release, a couple months back about Rheumatoid Arthritis.... this very well could be something that isn't helping matters. I've noticed more and more that the pain is actually progressing more northward from the heel, to the bottom portion of my calve muscle. Although I don't believe (at this point anyway) that this could be contributing to the pain, it is no less worth looking into.
In all honesty - I've not been as deliberate with daily stretching as I could be. I started a stretching regimen a couple of weeks ago, which has helped somewhat. Another acquaintance who suffers from the same ailment told me just a few weeks ago that she read somewhere that Magnesium helps with the problem, and has been on a Magnesium-rich supplement in the two weeks since and has experienced some notable improvements. Whether that is a placebo affect or not - who knows.
What I do know, however, is that unless something gives between now and, say, November timeframe - I'll be seriously considering going through with the last-resort surgery.
It has become such a quality-of-life problem for me that I've entertained the thought of going through the process of being considered for a handicap placard. I guess that means that I've waited far too long and put myself through entirely too much discomfort and inconvenience over the past couple of years.
However disconcerting the thought of giving up a season of golf to get this addressed might be, I really have few alternative options remaining now.
I'm not going to stop playing golf, and it would really be nice to be able to actually go out for a long walk or actually jog a couple of miles a few times each week, two things I've not been able to enjoy now for going on 3 years. I guess I know what needs to be done, all things considered, but I just dread the thought of being basically immobile for several months.
Oh well. Gotta face the music at some point, because what I've experienced the past decade hasn't changed, and I don't anticipate that it ever will.
Thanks for the encouragement!