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Unexplained foot pain

Posted by Margaret H. on 11/11/03 at 11:32 (137047)

A dear friend (age 45, 200 pounds on a 6ft frame) is having extreme foot pain in both feet, but much worse in his left foot. It began after he tripped on the edge of some pavement and caught himself on the side of his left foot. There is a bony protrusion midway on the outside edge of his left foot that is painful to touch and that he actually went to the doctor for, but they didn't take an x-ray and simply told him they thought he had an arthritic condition in his feet, to take pain med's, and to wait for it to heal.

The pain is worse after he rests following a period of walking. In the mornings he can barely walk - he has almost fallen in reaction to the sudden pain. There is no pain when he does not bear weight and no tenderness when his feet are rubbed, except in the area of the bump on his left foot. He describes the pain as being on the heels, outside edge and balls of his feet radiating to his little toes. Rubbing and soaking in hot water seems to help the pain, as do anti-inflammatories, at least a bit. He has flat feet, but the good shoes we bought him have helped only a bit. This has been going on now for about three months.
Any advice is greatly appreciated! -Margaret H.

Re: Unexplained foot pain

Aly on 11/11/03 at 12:37 (137059)

Hi Margaret,

Your friend really should be evaluated by a podiatrist - foot pain can become chronic (years) if left untreated. I'm not a doctor, so I couldn't say if he has plantar fasciitis, though the pain in the mornings does sound like PF.

Until he can see a specialist, you might print out the heel pain book for him, located on this site - it's long but filled with info on PF and how to deal with and treat the pain. Icing with frozen peas, ice packs or frozen water bottles has helped many of us, and some of us have found alternating ice and heat to be helpful.

For the pain he experiences being off his feet for a while - he should try is gently stretching his calves and the bottom of his feet before he puts any weight on them. To stretch the bottom of his feet: if he started with the right foot, he would bring the right foot up to opposite knee & rest it there, flex the foot up toward the knee, hold on to his toes with his right hand, and GENTLY pull them back, stretching the bottom of the foot.

He can also massage the arch area with his free left hand. With any stretching, it's imperative that he do so gently, as he can aggravate the condition if he overdoes it. Stretching and massaging as described above can really help 'warm the feet up' before standing or walking.

Good luck to your friend, I hope I've been of some help. :)


Re: Unexplained foot pain

Julie on 11/12/03 at 11:27 (137229)

Margaret, I can't believe that after sustaining an injury such as you describe, your friend was turned away with such a ludicrous explanation! He should certainly persevere with getting a diagnosis - from another doctor if necessary. There could be a fracture (I'm suspicious of the 'bony protrusion') or some other condition.

Three months is a long time for a trauma like this to be uninvestigated.