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Pain is Gone while on Low-Carb Diet

Posted by Matt on 6/01/03 at 12:40 (120618)

I've been suffering with heel pain in my right heel for about 5 years now, and have seen several doctors as well as been prescribed orthotics, etc. However, while some treatments have provided some relief for various lengths of time (usually not for very long), none have provided me with consistant total relief...until now! Although at 6'4' and 230 lbs, I would not consider myself terribly overweight, I did need to lose some weight. So I went on the strict Atkins diet (induction phase) with my wife, only to find that almost within hours (OK...a day or so) my heel pain was gone. I was amazed but was puzzled as to why? So after staying on the diet for a couple of weeks and losing about 10 lbs, I went off for just a day and ate a fairly normal American diet, which is--as we all know--much too high in refined sugars. And within hours, the pain was back! After repeated tests similar in nature to the first, I've found that I can pretty much turn the pain on & off like a switch. So what I'm thinking is that, at least in my case, my problem is related to my body/blood chemistry and my body's reaction to it. Yes, I have had my blood sugar checked and it and my ability to regulate it are great. Which leaves me asking the question: Why do only my heels (mostly the right) hurt when I am off the low-carb diet? Any ideas? (By the way, if feels great to walk without pain again!)

Thanks,
Matt

Re: Pain is Gone while on Low-Carb Diet

Pauline on 6/01/03 at 12:57 (120620)

Thanks for posting. This I think is a new one for us too hear. We've all known about losing weight, but low carbs. relationship to less heel pain is certainly new.

It doesn't take much to try what your doing. Are you strict Atkins at this point?

Re: Pain is Gone while on Low-Carb Diet

Dr. Z on 6/01/03 at 13:02 (120622)

Did you have a uric acid level checked ? How about a sed rate ?

Re: Pain is Gone while on Low-Carb Diet

Cyndi T. on 6/01/03 at 19:31 (120663)

That is very interesting, Matt. I have been an advocate of the low carb lifestyle for the last three years, since losing weight on Atkins. However, when I started training for the Houston marathon in September, I was told by various trainers that you need to be sure to eat carbs. At first I didn't believe it, but I soon discovered that proteins and fats alone did not supply the needed energy for such a vigorous workout, so I went back on carbs! It was after the marathon in February that I developed acute fasciitis and pain in the right heel. I had never had it before! After three full months, my foot is slowly getting better, but not enough to go out walking yet. I went back on induction two weeks ago and have lost about 4 pounds. Not sure if I see much of a difference yet, but I will let you know.

Re: Pain is Gone while on Low-Carb Diet

lara t on 6/01/03 at 22:12 (120683)

Could you have Gout? I know it's usually in the toe, but it does show up in other joints, and is influenced by sugar intake? Probably not.

Re: Pain is Gone while on Low-Carb Diet

Matt on 6/02/03 at 11:22 (120716)

Lara,

Gout was the first thing that came to my mind as well. But when I dusted off the old medical dictionary and looked up its symptoms, nothing really matched. From what I understand, gout's main symptom is swelling and pain in the joints, of which I have none. My symptoms are pretty much the classics for heel spurs, with most of my pain isolated to the inside of my heel...the exact spot where, according to this site's diagram, most people experience discomfort.

Thanks for the response!

Matt

Re: Pain is Gone while on Low-Carb Diet

Matt on 6/02/03 at 11:24 (120718)

Dr. Z,

No I have not. Are these commons tests (don't know what sed rate means) & would high levels of either lead to my problem?

Matt

Re: Pain is Gone while on Low-Carb Diet

Matt on 6/02/03 at 11:38 (120722)

Cyndi,

There's no doubt in my mind that you would need something more (carb-wise) if your running or in training for something as rigorous as a marathon. I've been on the induction-phase for just over a month and I've been working out as well. And for now anyway, I've been able to live off the fat of the land, so to speak! I'm very close, though, to the point where I'll be reintroducing carbs, but , as you might expect, I'm a bit wary of the negative affect doing so 'might' have on the dramatic pain reduction I've experienced as of late. However, to keep from wasting away to nothing, taking on additional carbs is inevitable. My plan is to do so gradually, keeping refined sugars to an absolute minimum. That way, hopefully, I'll be able to isolate the culprit that's been causing my particlar problem.

Matt

Re: Pain is Gone while on Low-Carb Diet

Matt on 6/02/03 at 13:10 (120726)

Pauline,

Yes, it is amazingly simple to make the pain come and go. Figuring out what's going on is the challenge. As for the Atkins diet, my wife and I are into our sixth week. I'm just about ready to start eating a more normal diet, but I'm going to watch what I eat closely to see if there's anything in particular aggravating my heels. My thoughts right now have me leaning toward refined sugars. Why? One of the days I went off the induction diet was my Birthday, and to say I put a small dent in the German Sweet Chocolate Cake my wife made for me would be a serious understatement. However, not long after indulging I paid a huge price. My feet (heels in particular [mostly right]) hurt so bad later that day and the next that I almost had to sit for the day. But after going back into induction the next day, all was better. Believe me, I know it sounds strange...but it's true!

Matt

Re: Pain is Gone while on Low-Carb Diet

Ed Davis, DPM on 6/02/03 at 14:31 (120737)

Cyndi:

I tend to agree that one needs sufficient carbs to provide sufficient energy for extended workouts. Sticking with low carb is good while sedentary or doing high intensity, low rep type of exercise but one may need to add more carbs back in when doing distance work in running.

Ed