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Please help...anyone with sore arches!

Posted by Sue R on 9/24/00 at 14:14 (029046)

I'm in my 5th month of this and my arches remain to be trouble spot...especially my right one. I'm still pretty much homebound except that I work (desk job) part time and I go to the gym to swim. I try to minimize the pain by just getting up when I have to. It's hard with 2 little ones!

Can anyone explain arch pain if they've had it and how it felt, what you did, is it better? It seems like many of us have had pain all over and for some of us, part of it got better but not all. I'm frustrated because it doesn't seem like eswt would work and I'm scared as hell of surgery. So I'm trying the same old same old...ice, yoga stretches, bromelain, elavil, rest, and lots of prayer.

Please offer suggestions and your arch pain history!

Thanks,
Sue R

Re: Please help...anyone with sore arches!

salina on 9/24/00 at 14:49 (029049)

Sue, its eerie, you sound just like me.
I have had painful arches since the beginning of my pain.
So even though I can't tell you how to get rid of them, I can sure tell you that you are not alone.
I am wearing orthotics now in my reebok shoes. And, it made my arches even worse at first. The first two to three weeks of wearing them i almost quit, because i thought it was making my situation worse.
But, I stuck it out, and its been over a month now. My left foot has quite a bit of improvement. I have to press very hard and only in certain areas along my arch to feel the pain. A couple of months ago, I had days where I couldn't even move a finger across my arch. Just the heat from my hand would be enough to hurt. Weird, but true.
Now, my left foot is tired a lot, still have to keep resting, but by the end of the day my arch is not on fire or achy the way it used to be.
Right foot seems to be coming along, but not as quickly. Sometimes I want to tear the shoes off cause I just want to be out of them and get everything away from that arch. But I just ice when I feel that way, and put them right back on. And by the end of the day, my arch isn't as bad as it once was. I just wish the right would catch up with the left.
I, too, am hoping to one day get to try eswt treatments. But my feet seem to not have the classic signs of pf. I read up on posterior tibial tendonitis, and found I have some signs of that.
But it seems to be treated in much the same way as pf is, at least the initial treatments. Rest, ice, arch support, etc.
I think the problem with having such painful arches is that it is so hard to do what you need to do to get better. Its hard to have an insert or orthotic pressed against your arch all day when they are in pain. But if we don't support it, then it can't heal. Its frustrating, I know.
Hope your pain eases up soon.

Re: Please help...anyone with sore arches!

Beverly on 9/24/00 at 15:15 (029051)

Sue,

I feel for you with arch pain. We've had this about the same amount of time. I'm at sixth months. I have it in both feet, and my worst pain has always been in the arches. It is hard for me to describe it but it ranges anywhere from a deep, raw, can't stand to be on my feet more than ten minutes kind of pain to an achey mild pain, depending upon the day you ask me.

I am currently in physical therapy, and after months of trying to go the 'rest only' route, I can say I see signs of hope from PT. (Although I am currently having a setback due to feeling a little better and then doing too much.) If you can get your doctor to send you to physical therapy, I can't say enough good things about it. I shopped around until I found a place I felt would take my PF seriously. Compared to knee surgery and out-of-whack disks, too many PT's see PF as a 'minor' problem. For me, it paid to 'shop' PT's. I also asked my sports med. doctor who he liked best.

At PT, I get ultrasound, deep tissue massage, and supervised stretches.
At first, the massage hurt so much, I didn't think I could stand it, but my PT worked me into this gently and I would rate it up high for what is helping me.

I also NEVER go barefooted. You'll find plenty here about that topic.

I tried many, many inserts and I've tried custom orthodics. It is tricky finding the right one for your feet. The best thing to do, is just keep trying them. What works for me, may be worthless for you.
For instance, I have a fairly high arch, and I've found the green Spenco's to be my best bet. I wore Superfeet for awhile, but they irritated my arches.

Birk (Classic line) have helped me. Some people love them. Some hate them. People with flat feet seem to have more trouble wearing them.
I have recently learned that for a small fee, some pedorthodicists (spelling?) can make a custom Birk (rebuilding an existing Birk). I'm pretty happy with my Birk Arizona's; so I have not tried that.

If I could redo one thing, the next time I feel better, I will keep 'babying' my feet.
Beverly

Re: Please help...anyone with sore arches!

Sue R on 9/24/00 at 17:16 (029059)

Salina,

What do your docs say about your arches? Do they look swollen at times? Do you actually leave your house for errands yet?

Thanks for all the advice. I'm having a weekend and need all the help I can get. The docs don't encourage me much and it's all so frustrating. As usual, I don't have much time to post as my kids are right here!

Sue R

Re: Please help...anyone with sore arches!

Dr. Biehler on 9/24/00 at 17:48 (029061)

I just wanted to mention that a very strong and snug fitting heel counter, wether it is the shoe or the orthotic,is really what controls the pronation and hense the strectch on the fascia and posterior tibial tendon. The arch is just for gental support and needs a strong lateral border of the shoe or orthotic to be effective.

Re: So, Dr. B, why do the Birks work for so many of us?

Beverly on 9/24/00 at 20:04 (029071)

Dr B.,

That makes sense, but it leaves me with a question. Why do Birks work so well for so many of us if we need a firm/snug fitting heel counter?
Thanks,
Beverly

Re: So, Dr. B, why do the Birks work for so many of us?

Dr. Biehler on 9/24/00 at 21:28 (029079)

Barb. Do the Birks have a high arch and raised heel? If so that is one way of trying to keep the foot supinated with less stretch on the fascia.

Re: Please help...anyone with sore arches!

Barbara TX on 9/24/00 at 22:24 (029083)

Sue - have you had an MRI or X-ray, or have you gone to Dr. Lifshen? I am wondering if you have pursued the medical route yet with either a DPM or orthpod. My MRI showed only 'a thickening of the plantar fascia.' Typical PF stuff. You might ask the docs if an MRI would show any abnormalites in your arch.

I do notice that when my PF is really inflamed that the nerves of my arch hurt - even all the way to the ball of my foot. Even though your problem is PF, the nerve compression from swelling makes the arches hurt. I notice that it comes and goes. Just one of my many theories to explain all this weirdness. Figuring this out is frustrating - and I too am afraid of the surgery. I met a woman at a baby shower with PF the other day and she is about to have the surgery, and she thought I was nuts to have suffered like this for so long. She trusts her doctor absolutely and is convinced that she will recover completely in 3 days... to each his own!

Sorry that you are still in so much pain... Hopefully this cool weather is cheering you up a bit. I think I took my last dip in our unheated apartment pool. I have been freezing my fanny off for the last two weeks, and now I have to go over to Northlake College to use the pool. This will take some motivation to give the kids the slip each night and get some activity in. Swimming saves my life. It is the only activity that makes me feel great. Let me know how you're doing. B.

Re: So, Dr. B, why do the Birks work for so many of us?

Barbara TX on 9/24/00 at 22:35 (029084)

The Birks have a deep heel cup, and although many describe the heel cup as negative, I believe that it is level with the toe bed. B.

Re: Massage

VickiJ on 9/25/00 at 16:22 (029123)

I have no idea if this will help you or not...I cannot, at this point in time, afford to go to my massage therapist as often as I would love to...but, because it was mentioned here I sought out the Homedics massager...it looks exactly like the one sold at Brookstone for around $250, but I got it at Target for $90 (saw it at Sams Club for even less)...there are two round balls that 'thump' and variable speed...it is absolutely fabulous for me...when my foot hurts the worst I use the lowest speed (or my hands until I can stand the 'thumper') and gradually increase.

Perhaps this will help you.

Also, I NEVER get up from sitting for a period of time without stretching my arch/foot before I put weight on it...the big toe stretch that I read about in Scott's book...I'm assuming it is still there...or rolling the entire bottom of my foot over a ball. I used a tennis ball when my feet were at their worst because I couldn't stand anything harder...now I use a very hard ball. I had to experiment with all kinds of massaging/stretching options until I found something my feet could tolerate and helped me finally be able to walk without crutches.

Good Luck!!

Re: What is a heel counter?

salina on 9/25/00 at 17:35 (029128)

What do you mean by heel counter? Excuse my ignorance.
Does it just mean to make sure your heel is secure and not able to move around in the shoe?
I have to keep tightening my shoes up during the day, cause as soon as my foot gets a little loose, my arches ache. But as long as I have my shoes tied good so my foot stays against the orthotics, then it doesn't hurt.
Or, i just can't feel the pain cause i have cut the circulation to my feet by tieing my shoes too tight, haha. No, I don't mean that tight.
I just cant stand for them to be loose.

Re: Please help...anyone with sore arches!

salina on 9/25/00 at 17:40 (029129)

I guess it would be nice to have that much trust in a doctor.
The doctor I have been seeing, just spoke of surgery as a casual decision to make. Maybe that is why some people aren't scared of it.
He had that effect on me, for a minute. he explained it in the same simple way he explained how to wear a night splint.
Oh, how I wish it were that simple.

Re: Please help...anyone with sore arches!

andread on 9/28/00 at 13:45 (029338)

I can sympathize with you. I have not been to the board in almost 7 months. That is because I was living almost absolutely pain free everyday during that time. I stopped by today because for a week now I am back to the pain in my arches 24/7 ! I developed this in Sept 1998 and it lasted until February 2000. Now its back and I have been feeling somewhat down. But what keeps me going this time is knowing that at least it did go away for awhile and I resumed normal life (running up to 6 miles 3X a week, grocery shopping, hiking etc.) I think I aggrevated it again by wearing high-heeled boots and standing on my feet for 3 hours last week. When will I learn that I will never be able to wear normal shoes again!!!!

Re: Please help....how do I talk to my doctor?

Dr. Biehler on 11/06/00 at 11:24 (032072)

There are a lot of concervative treatments that can be tried before an injection. Ask for a referal to a podiatrist. Dr. B

Re: Please help....how do I talk to my doctor?

Dr. Zuckerman on 11/06/00 at 19:12 (032108)

There is a very good online book by Scott Roberts and the pf family . Start by education from this web site

Re: Please help...anyone with sore arches!

salina on 9/24/00 at 14:49 (029049)

Sue, its eerie, you sound just like me.
I have had painful arches since the beginning of my pain.
So even though I can't tell you how to get rid of them, I can sure tell you that you are not alone.
I am wearing orthotics now in my reebok shoes. And, it made my arches even worse at first. The first two to three weeks of wearing them i almost quit, because i thought it was making my situation worse.
But, I stuck it out, and its been over a month now. My left foot has quite a bit of improvement. I have to press very hard and only in certain areas along my arch to feel the pain. A couple of months ago, I had days where I couldn't even move a finger across my arch. Just the heat from my hand would be enough to hurt. Weird, but true.
Now, my left foot is tired a lot, still have to keep resting, but by the end of the day my arch is not on fire or achy the way it used to be.
Right foot seems to be coming along, but not as quickly. Sometimes I want to tear the shoes off cause I just want to be out of them and get everything away from that arch. But I just ice when I feel that way, and put them right back on. And by the end of the day, my arch isn't as bad as it once was. I just wish the right would catch up with the left.
I, too, am hoping to one day get to try eswt treatments. But my feet seem to not have the classic signs of pf. I read up on posterior tibial tendonitis, and found I have some signs of that.
But it seems to be treated in much the same way as pf is, at least the initial treatments. Rest, ice, arch support, etc.
I think the problem with having such painful arches is that it is so hard to do what you need to do to get better. Its hard to have an insert or orthotic pressed against your arch all day when they are in pain. But if we don't support it, then it can't heal. Its frustrating, I know.
Hope your pain eases up soon.

Re: Please help...anyone with sore arches!

Beverly on 9/24/00 at 15:15 (029051)

Sue,

I feel for you with arch pain. We've had this about the same amount of time. I'm at sixth months. I have it in both feet, and my worst pain has always been in the arches. It is hard for me to describe it but it ranges anywhere from a deep, raw, can't stand to be on my feet more than ten minutes kind of pain to an achey mild pain, depending upon the day you ask me.

I am currently in physical therapy, and after months of trying to go the 'rest only' route, I can say I see signs of hope from PT. (Although I am currently having a setback due to feeling a little better and then doing too much.) If you can get your doctor to send you to physical therapy, I can't say enough good things about it. I shopped around until I found a place I felt would take my PF seriously. Compared to knee surgery and out-of-whack disks, too many PT's see PF as a 'minor' problem. For me, it paid to 'shop' PT's. I also asked my sports med. doctor who he liked best.

At PT, I get ultrasound, deep tissue massage, and supervised stretches.
At first, the massage hurt so much, I didn't think I could stand it, but my PT worked me into this gently and I would rate it up high for what is helping me.

I also NEVER go barefooted. You'll find plenty here about that topic.

I tried many, many inserts and I've tried custom orthodics. It is tricky finding the right one for your feet. The best thing to do, is just keep trying them. What works for me, may be worthless for you.
For instance, I have a fairly high arch, and I've found the green Spenco's to be my best bet. I wore Superfeet for awhile, but they irritated my arches.

Birk (Classic line) have helped me. Some people love them. Some hate them. People with flat feet seem to have more trouble wearing them.
I have recently learned that for a small fee, some pedorthodicists (spelling?) can make a custom Birk (rebuilding an existing Birk). I'm pretty happy with my Birk Arizona's; so I have not tried that.

If I could redo one thing, the next time I feel better, I will keep 'babying' my feet.
Beverly

Re: Please help...anyone with sore arches!

Sue R on 9/24/00 at 17:16 (029059)

Salina,

What do your docs say about your arches? Do they look swollen at times? Do you actually leave your house for errands yet?

Thanks for all the advice. I'm having a weekend and need all the help I can get. The docs don't encourage me much and it's all so frustrating. As usual, I don't have much time to post as my kids are right here!

Sue R

Re: Please help...anyone with sore arches!

Dr. Biehler on 9/24/00 at 17:48 (029061)

I just wanted to mention that a very strong and snug fitting heel counter, wether it is the shoe or the orthotic,is really what controls the pronation and hense the strectch on the fascia and posterior tibial tendon. The arch is just for gental support and needs a strong lateral border of the shoe or orthotic to be effective.

Re: So, Dr. B, why do the Birks work for so many of us?

Beverly on 9/24/00 at 20:04 (029071)

Dr B.,

That makes sense, but it leaves me with a question. Why do Birks work so well for so many of us if we need a firm/snug fitting heel counter?
Thanks,
Beverly

Re: So, Dr. B, why do the Birks work for so many of us?

Dr. Biehler on 9/24/00 at 21:28 (029079)

Barb. Do the Birks have a high arch and raised heel? If so that is one way of trying to keep the foot supinated with less stretch on the fascia.

Re: Please help...anyone with sore arches!

Barbara TX on 9/24/00 at 22:24 (029083)

Sue - have you had an MRI or X-ray, or have you gone to Dr. Lifshen? I am wondering if you have pursued the medical route yet with either a DPM or orthpod. My MRI showed only 'a thickening of the plantar fascia.' Typical PF stuff. You might ask the docs if an MRI would show any abnormalites in your arch.

I do notice that when my PF is really inflamed that the nerves of my arch hurt - even all the way to the ball of my foot. Even though your problem is PF, the nerve compression from swelling makes the arches hurt. I notice that it comes and goes. Just one of my many theories to explain all this weirdness. Figuring this out is frustrating - and I too am afraid of the surgery. I met a woman at a baby shower with PF the other day and she is about to have the surgery, and she thought I was nuts to have suffered like this for so long. She trusts her doctor absolutely and is convinced that she will recover completely in 3 days... to each his own!

Sorry that you are still in so much pain... Hopefully this cool weather is cheering you up a bit. I think I took my last dip in our unheated apartment pool. I have been freezing my fanny off for the last two weeks, and now I have to go over to Northlake College to use the pool. This will take some motivation to give the kids the slip each night and get some activity in. Swimming saves my life. It is the only activity that makes me feel great. Let me know how you're doing. B.

Re: So, Dr. B, why do the Birks work for so many of us?

Barbara TX on 9/24/00 at 22:35 (029084)

The Birks have a deep heel cup, and although many describe the heel cup as negative, I believe that it is level with the toe bed. B.

Re: Massage

VickiJ on 9/25/00 at 16:22 (029123)

I have no idea if this will help you or not...I cannot, at this point in time, afford to go to my massage therapist as often as I would love to...but, because it was mentioned here I sought out the Homedics massager...it looks exactly like the one sold at Brookstone for around $250, but I got it at Target for $90 (saw it at Sams Club for even less)...there are two round balls that 'thump' and variable speed...it is absolutely fabulous for me...when my foot hurts the worst I use the lowest speed (or my hands until I can stand the 'thumper') and gradually increase.

Perhaps this will help you.

Also, I NEVER get up from sitting for a period of time without stretching my arch/foot before I put weight on it...the big toe stretch that I read about in Scott's book...I'm assuming it is still there...or rolling the entire bottom of my foot over a ball. I used a tennis ball when my feet were at their worst because I couldn't stand anything harder...now I use a very hard ball. I had to experiment with all kinds of massaging/stretching options until I found something my feet could tolerate and helped me finally be able to walk without crutches.

Good Luck!!

Re: What is a heel counter?

salina on 9/25/00 at 17:35 (029128)

What do you mean by heel counter? Excuse my ignorance.
Does it just mean to make sure your heel is secure and not able to move around in the shoe?
I have to keep tightening my shoes up during the day, cause as soon as my foot gets a little loose, my arches ache. But as long as I have my shoes tied good so my foot stays against the orthotics, then it doesn't hurt.
Or, i just can't feel the pain cause i have cut the circulation to my feet by tieing my shoes too tight, haha. No, I don't mean that tight.
I just cant stand for them to be loose.

Re: Please help...anyone with sore arches!

salina on 9/25/00 at 17:40 (029129)

I guess it would be nice to have that much trust in a doctor.
The doctor I have been seeing, just spoke of surgery as a casual decision to make. Maybe that is why some people aren't scared of it.
He had that effect on me, for a minute. he explained it in the same simple way he explained how to wear a night splint.
Oh, how I wish it were that simple.

Re: Please help...anyone with sore arches!

andread on 9/28/00 at 13:45 (029338)

I can sympathize with you. I have not been to the board in almost 7 months. That is because I was living almost absolutely pain free everyday during that time. I stopped by today because for a week now I am back to the pain in my arches 24/7 ! I developed this in Sept 1998 and it lasted until February 2000. Now its back and I have been feeling somewhat down. But what keeps me going this time is knowing that at least it did go away for awhile and I resumed normal life (running up to 6 miles 3X a week, grocery shopping, hiking etc.) I think I aggrevated it again by wearing high-heeled boots and standing on my feet for 3 hours last week. When will I learn that I will never be able to wear normal shoes again!!!!

Re: Please help....how do I talk to my doctor?

Dr. Biehler on 11/06/00 at 11:24 (032072)

There are a lot of concervative treatments that can be tried before an injection. Ask for a referal to a podiatrist. Dr. B

Re: Please help....how do I talk to my doctor?

Dr. Zuckerman on 11/06/00 at 19:12 (032108)

There is a very good online book by Scott Roberts and the pf family . Start by education from this web site