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New here - question about heel pain into leg

Posted by pw on 4/14/03 at 01:24 (116076)

I developed minor heel pain almost a year ago, sometimes accompanied by leg pains, and because it got worse, I visited a podiatrist. The x-rays confirmed PF and he said the best thing I could do is get custom-made inserts. The cost is a few hundred $$ each (!!) and insurance does not cover the costs. I had always walked around the house barefoot and was told not to do that anymore. So, I found an inexpensive pair of shoes strictly for home wear (not in a position to purchase very expensive shoes and inserts), and a moderately priced pair of inserts for heel pain. Within a short time, the pain was relieved and I only occasionally felt a little pain on the first morning step, with periodic pain in leg and hip. (It actually feels weird now if I walk around barefoot for even a minute).

Being concerned about the leg pain, I had a sonogram and the circulation was fine in both legs, and a lower back x-ray showed mild arthritis.

Now, after some time, the heel pain has returned and it's worse. But, I'm also having more severe leg pain. The past 3 days especially, my right heel really hurts and I have pain from my hip through the thigh (the pressure of sitting hurts my thigh!) down to the calf. Any pressure on thigh or calf hurts. Have tried propping leg on a large pillow - it hurts.

So, here's my question: can the PF cause such pains throughout the same leg?

I've tried using capsaicin cream today on my leg and it seems like it might be helping a little, but I had tried it on my heel once before and it seemed to inflame it. I've heard the shots are painful, and that surgery does not usually help, cannot afford the inserts, so not sure what to do. Have been trying stretching - would this be good to continue?

Any thoughts?
Thank you.

Re: New here - question about heel pain into leg

Ellen J. on 4/14/03 at 08:35 (116083)

Any chance one of your legs might be a tiny bit shorter than the other? My right hip hurt and sends pain into the thigh and sometimes down into the foot and I was told one leg is a little shorter than the other. I also do alot of sitting which makes the hip worse. Hopefully the docs and others can give you some good pointers. It must be frustrating that this got worse after getting better for awhile.

Re: New here - question about heel pain into leg

marie on 4/14/03 at 14:59 (116104)

I have a nerve entrapment in my hip. Right were the ball of the femur hits the hip bone. My right side is much worse because of the additional nerve entrapment. Have you been checked for your back?


Re: Nerve entrapment

Ellen J. on 4/14/03 at 18:15 (116115)

Hi Marie,
I'm wondering if when you lie on your sore side, does the pressure cause you to have to sleep on your back or other side instead? I have not been to a doctor for my hip because I don't know what kind of doc to go to for that. I don't want to pay a general practitioner just for her to refer me. Also, do you find that when you sit and try to shift your leg toward the outside (lateral side) of your body, does that aggravate your hip? I am not sure what's going on with the hip but a doctor once told me that one leg is a tiny bit longer than the other and that one hip is a little higher. I couldn't see any difference myself.

Re: New here - question about heel pain into leg

BrianG on 4/14/03 at 18:50 (116123)

Hi pw,

Has your doctor taped your foot yet? It's something they usually do, before advising you get orthotics. If the taping helps, supposedly the orthotics will help.

Good luck

PS: It's not too late to ask him to tape your foot.

Re: New here - heel pain into leg=TARSEL TUNNEL SYNDROM

Lolly O on 4/15/03 at 14:12 (116197)

MY HS/PF turned into TTS. I had tingling in my ankle and upper thigh & hip, not so much hard pain, more of a pressure-tingly feeling-but definetly uncorfortable. I have only felt it in my calf a couple of times

I suggest you get tested for TARSAL TUNNEL SYNDROM.


Re: New here - heel pain into leg=TARSEL TUNNEL SYNDROM

Ellen J. on 4/15/03 at 18:36 (116226)

Hi Lolly,
What did the docs suggest to help with the pain in your hips/thighs? I am curious, as i have no idea what to do to treat my hip/thigh pain.

Re: New here - question about heel pain into leg

pw on 4/15/03 at 19:29 (116232)

Hi Ellen - Thanks for the reply.
Don't know if one leg is shorter - they don't appear to be; that is, I don't feel a difference when I walk. Yes, it's been very frustrating, because the pain is getting worse. I'm taking Advil which does not seem to help, I've tried epsom salt in hot water, capsaicin on the heel (ouch! don't do that again), and an ice pack. However, I've put capsaicin on the back of calf/thigh and that seems to help a little. The heel definitely hurts, but the leg pain is worse. Actually, right now, I've got more pain all around my thigh. Sitting is rough, and I've found that even when I lay down, the pressure on the back of my thigh and calf hurts so that I have to constantly move my leg, trying to find a position that won't hurt.

I just never knew anything about heel spurs and how much discomfort they can cause.

Thanks again and good luck to you.

Re: New here - question about heel pain into leg

pw on 4/15/03 at 19:32 (116233)

Hi Marie - Basically, concerning my back, I had x-rays which revealed mild arthritis in the lower area of the spine, as well as some in the upper area in the neck. What is the treatment for nerve entrapment?

Thanks and good luck.

Re: New here - question about heel pain into leg

pw on 4/15/03 at 19:39 (116234)

Hi Brian - No, he didn't. They took x-rays, he had me walk back and forth down the hall, (he noticed that I put more weight on the other foot) and then we discussed the x-rays. He prescribed prescription an anti-inflammatory (didn't help at all), and basically said it's there, it will get worse, and that the inserts should be the choice. There's no way I can do that.

Thanks for telling me about taping - I didn't know about that.
What treatment do you use and has it helped?

Thanks and good luck.

Re: New here - heel pain into leg=TARSEL TUNNEL SYNDROM

pw on 4/15/03 at 19:41 (116235)

Hi Lolly - Thanks for the suggestion. I've only read a little about TTS.

What treatment works for you, if anything?

Thanks and good luck.

Re: New here - question about heel pain into leg

kimc on 4/15/03 at 19:58 (116236)

After experiencing over 6 months of heel pain- I went to a podiatrist who perscribed me an arthritic med...told me to ice...don't walk bare foot etc...well today after still experiencing tremendous pain and additional pain up through my calf to hi[- I got the cortisone shot-
now, he says the pain i am experiencing in my hip is from how I walk-with my foot tilted to compensate for the pain in the heel--it makes sense and this could be where your problem is coming from

good luck

Re: New here - heel pain into leg=TARSEL TUNNEL SYNDROM

john h on 4/16/03 at 08:56 (116273)

My wife had a shot into the hip for hip pain.

Re: New here - question about heel pain into leg

Ellen J. on 4/16/03 at 09:13 (116276)

It sounds like possibly the hip/thigh problem is what is making your heel hurt, though it could be the other way around too. It sounds really painful! Hopefully a doctor can figure out which is causing all the problems--your back/hip or your foot. Many times problems in the hip will radiate pain down into the leg and heel.
Good luck figuring it out.

Re: New here - question about heel pain into leg

Ellen J. on 4/16/03 at 09:20 (116279)

One more thing--have you been checked for sciatic pain? I remember having the sciatic (sp?) nerve irritated and I had to keep moving my leg at night, though moving it didn't really help the discomfort.

Re: New here - question about heel pain into leg

Michael C on 4/16/03 at 19:24 (116353)

Good point Kim, the ankle, knee and hip are all connected. In that, ground forces transmitted through the foot also travel up towards the knee and hip. Any change in gait (walking) will add stress to other parts of the body. For instance, if you injure you right ankle, you tend to 'baby' it more, thus put more weight on your left leg. And after a period of time of walking that way, you will most likely have left knee or hip pain.

Re: New here - question about heel pain into leg

pw on 4/16/03 at 21:11 (116360)

Hi Ellen,
Well, I know I have some arthritis in my lower back. My husband has a bulging disk (for which he's had a series of 4 steroid injections that really haven't helped) and his sciatic also bothers him - at times, his legs are really jumpy, and it's very bothersome to him.

Re: New here - question about heel pain into leg

pw on 4/16/03 at 21:19 (116364)

Hi kimc - So you've developed pain in the hip on the opposite leg from the foot pain? I know people will shift weight to the other leg if the heel spur is in just one foot and that can cause additional problems. But my pain is in the same leg, and it's mostly calf and thigh. Much of the time, I can't find a comfortable position, keep moving around to try to get comfortable. It basically hurts to sit for very long.

Did the meds not help at all? Anti-inflammatory med doesn't seem to help me much. Yesterday, I decided to try ice again and it helped a little. I'm going to try that regularly and see if there's any improvement.

Thanks and good luck.

Re: New here - question about heel pain into leg

Ellen J. on 4/17/03 at 09:50 (116402)

I'm going to see yet another doctor next monday to ask about the feet and hips. If I find anything out I'll post it. My hip pain is right where the hip bone is at the surface on the outside of the hip (head of femur, I think). It burns, and the pain extends down across my thigh a bit. It seems worse when I've been doing something that aggravates the feet and it coincides with a stiff lower back. Seems like the hip and back are trying to compensate for my hypermobile feet/gait. Sitting is the worst and I may even cancel a trip to visit family memebers this weekend, as I can't imagiine sitting in the driver's seat for 3 hours. I don't know if your symptoms are similar to that. I know you get calf pain too, and I think that's pretty common with foot problems since the calf muscles help move the foot. Oh, and before I forget, my hip pain is on the same side as my bad foot and if I move my leg the wrong way, causing pain in the hip, that pain can pften be felt in the foot at the same time. Anyway, if any of this sounds similar to what you have, maybe I'll be able to post something on monday after my appt. that could be of some use. (I'm not holding my breath on that one though--I've been to a zillion docs with not much benefit!). 8-(PIPE)
Ellen J.

Re: New here - question about heel pain into leg

pw on 4/19/03 at 16:46 (116585)

Hi Ellen -
Sounds as though we have somewhat the same symptoms.
I have the burning sensation in the back of my thigh and calf (same leg as foot pain, although beginning to feel some pain in the other leg) - and I've also been having sharp, sticking pains. The pain has really gotten worse just in the past several days - not sure why. Can't find suitable footwear, and have been trying different things, but nothing seems to help much.

I know just what you mean about a car - just sitting for a short time is difficult, as is standing. When I lay down and prop my leg on a pillow, the pressure on the back of my leg is painful.

My podiatrist was one of those with a 'do as I tell you' attitude - I don't think he's willing to offer many options - he really pushed for the expensive orthotics. So, I'm considering just going back to my primary care doctor and see what he can suggest.

Hope you doc visit is successful, but it's difficult to have much optimism, isn't it? Honestly, the way I've been feeling, I think it's just going to always hurt; beginning to forget what no pain in foot and legs felt like. Do you know what I mean?

Let me know what you find out.

Have a good weekend.

Re: New doctor

Ellen J. on 4/21/03 at 12:35 (116690)

That burning sensation you describe sounds awful and it sounds like you can't get away from it. It sure sounds like the origin of your miseries could be in your back and in that case you might want to see a different kind of doctor. Back pain can cause foot pain and vice versa, from what I have read. I wonder how you are able to sleep at night!

I went to see the new doctor (a sports medicine doctor this time) and, like all the other docs, he had a completely different opinion about my feet. He says that although I'm an overpronator, that orthotics would be bad for me. So far orthotics and arch supports of any kind have not helped me--they have aggravated my feet, so I couldn't disagree with him. However, I was hoping he might try making a new set for me to try, at least. He says I have myofascial pain spasms and that I have muscle imbalances. Well, we will see if physical therapy on my feet/legs might help but I hesitate to spend the $ no knowing if it will work. Before I forget, the new doc said that I need to stop crossing my legs while I work all day. Very bad and is a probable cause of my hip pain.

I hope you can see another doc and find out where this pain is coming from. Although it could be from the feet, I really wonder if that's the true origin for it.
Please keep us posted and I hope you can get some help quickly.
Ellen J.