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Heel pain- I still don't know what I have!

Posted by Paul O' C on 9/14/02 at 09:18 (095309)

I have gone through 3 sets of orthotics in the last few years but my feet only seem to be getting worse.
Although I do have flat feet I suspect that something else may be wrong but I'm not sure what. The podiatrists I've seen have only suggested orthotics and seem baffled beyond that, although obviously they are not working. I have been doing my own research but can't decide what I might have- plantar fasciitis, heel spur, tarsal tunnel syndrome, sciataca, psoriatic arthritis, Reiters syndrome etc, etc...
Maybe somebody can identify with my symptoms and point me in the right direction as this thing is really trying to take over my life!
I am a 35 yr old male, very fit from gym and running 3/4 times a week. No other medical problems that I am aware of. My symptoms are as follows:-

- Feet are ok 1st thing in the morning after rest but get worse as the day goes on (this seems to rule out Plantar Fasciitis). Left one is much worse than right one lately. The discomfort (I wouldn't exactly call it 'pain' but then again maybe that's because I'm so used to it) is in the heel, primarily the base but also the back of the heel. Re discomfort in the back of the heel I only really notice this at night- lately I cannot lie my feet in the normal position where the back of the heel is resting against the mattress, as it's too uncomfortable. Instead I have to either lie my feet on their side (or at least the left one which is worse) or better still hang them both in mid air over the end of the mattress where they aren't in contact with anything.
At the moment here at my desk there is no position where they are not tingling or aching or something- it's constant, shoes on or shoes off.
After running on the treadmill for half an hour (with orthotics in) the arches of my feet will be aching and I can't wait to get my shoes off.
My last podiatrist taped up my left foot for a week as a test. That worked very well in relieving the aching discomfort although the bandage was quite tight which made my foot feel a bit numb, although not in an uncomfortable way.
Driving my car for any distance I will usually try and rest my left foot on its side as it's uncomfortable in the normal position resting flat or on the back of the shoe.
Sometimes after a fair bit of driving I'll get a dull ache down the back of my left leg, starting from the buttocks. This has never occurred on the right side.
If I'm ever standing in one place i'll try and stand on the side of my feet. Standing in one place for long my lower back gets sore quickly.
I am 6ft 2' and have a long neck and backbone. I am suseptible to the odd back injury from exercise but am not sure if this could be linked to my foot problem. I have read up on sciataca but its symptoms seem more painful than what I am experiencing which I would describe as discomfort, aching and tingling going from the mild to the distinctly uncomfortable. The only other strange thing I can think of that may possibly be related to any of this is that over the last few years I have become very sensitive to the type of mattress I have in my bed. It needs to be quite soft or I find it very uncomfortable, particularly on the lower back, or shoulders which ache if I end up sleeping on my side.

Sorry to go into so much detail about my problem but I feel it's important to be as descriptive and accurate as possible. Now I hope it's been worthwhile and someone out there can help me. If you can you're a godsend and you'll have my eternal thanks- I just want to treat this thing and get on with my life.

Paul (email '(email removed)')

Re: Heel pain- I still don't know what I have!

dawn on 9/14/02 at 11:52 (095320)

wanting to know what causes spurs to move and wondering if they can ever go away, and possibly what causes them. I am told it is too much calcium in my body, is this true?

thank you\
Dawn

Re: Paul O'C

Carole C in NOLA on 9/14/02 at 13:12 (095329)

Paul, plantar fasciitis can't be completely ruled out due to not having morning pain. It could be PF.

If I were you, I'd get a diagnosis from a foot doctor who can examine your feet in person and do whatever tests or x-rays he thinks are necessary.

I'm not a foot doctor but maybe one will answer your post soon.

Carole C

Re: Heel pain- I still don't know what I have!

Dr. Z on 9/14/02 at 16:33 (095331)

Paul,

How much running do you do each time you run 3=4 times each week. How many months, years have you been running, What kinds of surfaces do you run on ?

Re: Heel pain- I still don't know what I have!

Julie on 9/14/02 at 16:39 (095333)

Paul

May I make a couple of suggestions?

1. Read the heel pain book for information about plantar fasciitis and other problems. (Don't rule out PF: not everyone has first step pain in the morning, many get worse throughout the day.)

2. Look at the section on Taping in part 2 of the heel pain book. There are simple, economical techniques that you can apply yourself that will help support your feet and relieve the pain.

3. Stop running. If you're using the treadmill for half an hour at a time, you're re-injuring yourself. Rest the first line of treatment for most cases of PF, and many people here will tell you that running through the pain caused their condition to become chronic.

4. Switch to non-weightbearing exercise. Swimming.

5. Find a new podiatrist who isn't so baffled by you! There is surely one out there who can evaluate you properly, diagnose you accurately, identify the problem and whatever its cause is - and address it sensibly.

Re: Heel pain- I still don't know what I have!

Julie on 9/14/02 at 16:41 (095335)

PS

Try to avoid standing on the sides of your feet. If you really can't stand with your weight evenly and correctly balanced, then don't stand any more than absolutely necessary. Standing on the sides of your feet will give you new, knock-on problems - in your knees, hips or lower back - further down the line.

Re: Heel pain- I still don't know what I have!

Sharon P on 9/14/02 at 18:59 (095343)

on the sides and under my feet i have like a sesame seed shaped hard like substance that looks like a rock come out when i cut them out with a sterile knife and they always come back very quickly and can be extremly painful. What is this? and, Can you help me?

Re: Heel pain- I still don't know what I have!

Carmen H on 9/15/02 at 10:11 (095361)

I am not a doctor but I would repost your question individually so you can get some commments from the doctor. I also wouldn't do any cutting on your own feet....you could really end up with some problems (infections mainly) and see a doc asap!
Good Luck!

Re: Heel pain- I still don't know what I have!

Paul O' C on 9/16/02 at 09:07 (095415)

Dr.Z,

I run twice a week on the treadmill for 45 minutes each time, use stepper the other 2 gym days but I know this is low impact so probably not a contributing factor. I've been running for about 1 year now I'd say but have had foot problems for maybe 3 years. This is when I first started to notice it, sought help and ended up with my first set of orthotics. However, the aching, tingling and aggravation has got progressively worse in the last few months (left foot is now alot worse than right foot) and maybe this has been exacerbated by the running. Still, surely stopping running isn't going to solve it completely as I had it before I started running?

Paul

Re: Heel pain- I still don't know what I have!

dave r on 9/16/02 at 12:56 (095455)

If you have pf then running is not helping the situation. Nor is the stair climber. Once you reach that chronic stage there is no turning back. you must stop running. Start passive stretching. Ice and Nsaids.
Runners are one of the largest groups to get this.

Re: Heel pain- I still don't know what I have!

Carmen H on 9/17/02 at 12:49 (095536)

I'm not Dr. Z but had to interject as an 'ex' athlete...stop running and stair stepping (made me ten times worse to stair step) until you get a handle on this.
Julie's post makes great sense!!

Re: Heel pain- I still don't know what I have!

dawn on 9/14/02 at 11:52 (095320)

wanting to know what causes spurs to move and wondering if they can ever go away, and possibly what causes them. I am told it is too much calcium in my body, is this true?

thank you\
Dawn

Re: Paul O'C

Carole C in NOLA on 9/14/02 at 13:12 (095329)

Paul, plantar fasciitis can't be completely ruled out due to not having morning pain. It could be PF.

If I were you, I'd get a diagnosis from a foot doctor who can examine your feet in person and do whatever tests or x-rays he thinks are necessary.

I'm not a foot doctor but maybe one will answer your post soon.

Carole C

Re: Heel pain- I still don't know what I have!

Dr. Z on 9/14/02 at 16:33 (095331)

Paul,

How much running do you do each time you run 3=4 times each week. How many months, years have you been running, What kinds of surfaces do you run on ?

Re: Heel pain- I still don't know what I have!

Julie on 9/14/02 at 16:39 (095333)

Paul

May I make a couple of suggestions?

1. Read the heel pain book for information about plantar fasciitis and other problems. (Don't rule out PF: not everyone has first step pain in the morning, many get worse throughout the day.)

2. Look at the section on Taping in part 2 of the heel pain book. There are simple, economical techniques that you can apply yourself that will help support your feet and relieve the pain.

3. Stop running. If you're using the treadmill for half an hour at a time, you're re-injuring yourself. Rest the first line of treatment for most cases of PF, and many people here will tell you that running through the pain caused their condition to become chronic.

4. Switch to non-weightbearing exercise. Swimming.

5. Find a new podiatrist who isn't so baffled by you! There is surely one out there who can evaluate you properly, diagnose you accurately, identify the problem and whatever its cause is - and address it sensibly.

Re: Heel pain- I still don't know what I have!

Julie on 9/14/02 at 16:41 (095335)

PS

Try to avoid standing on the sides of your feet. If you really can't stand with your weight evenly and correctly balanced, then don't stand any more than absolutely necessary. Standing on the sides of your feet will give you new, knock-on problems - in your knees, hips or lower back - further down the line.

Re: Heel pain- I still don't know what I have!

Sharon P on 9/14/02 at 18:59 (095343)

on the sides and under my feet i have like a sesame seed shaped hard like substance that looks like a rock come out when i cut them out with a sterile knife and they always come back very quickly and can be extremly painful. What is this? and, Can you help me?

Re: Heel pain- I still don't know what I have!

Carmen H on 9/15/02 at 10:11 (095361)

I am not a doctor but I would repost your question individually so you can get some commments from the doctor. I also wouldn't do any cutting on your own feet....you could really end up with some problems (infections mainly) and see a doc asap!
Good Luck!

Re: Heel pain- I still don't know what I have!

Paul O' C on 9/16/02 at 09:07 (095415)

Dr.Z,

I run twice a week on the treadmill for 45 minutes each time, use stepper the other 2 gym days but I know this is low impact so probably not a contributing factor. I've been running for about 1 year now I'd say but have had foot problems for maybe 3 years. This is when I first started to notice it, sought help and ended up with my first set of orthotics. However, the aching, tingling and aggravation has got progressively worse in the last few months (left foot is now alot worse than right foot) and maybe this has been exacerbated by the running. Still, surely stopping running isn't going to solve it completely as I had it before I started running?

Paul

Re: Heel pain- I still don't know what I have!

dave r on 9/16/02 at 12:56 (095455)

If you have pf then running is not helping the situation. Nor is the stair climber. Once you reach that chronic stage there is no turning back. you must stop running. Start passive stretching. Ice and Nsaids.
Runners are one of the largest groups to get this.

Re: Heel pain- I still don't know what I have!

Carmen H on 9/17/02 at 12:49 (095536)

I'm not Dr. Z but had to interject as an 'ex' athlete...stop running and stair stepping (made me ten times worse to stair step) until you get a handle on this.
Julie's post makes great sense!!