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Foot Pain

Posted by Linda P on 2/26/05 at 13:07 (169951)

I have constant foot pain in both feet I get sharp stabbing pains and I get Hot feet then extreme cold feet and when I get the extreme cold feet they curl up and I get charlie horses from that I have alot of numbness in both feet and a prickling feeling 90% of the time. I am in constant pain have bought over 100 pair of shoes in the last year to try to get the pain to subside but nothing helps my feet hurt if I am a complete rest or in motion I have found nothing that will subside the pain. Please Help tired of the pain.

Re: Foot Pain

Dr. Z on 2/27/05 at 19:32 (170080)

Have you seen a foot specialist. What professional diagnostic testing and or evaluation have you had. This could be so many things.

Re: Foot Pain

Aly R. on 2/28/05 at 10:09 (170134)

Hi Linda,

First let me tell you that you have my sympathy for all the pain you're experiencing. I know how isolating and depressing severe foot pain can be.

Pls note that I am not a doctor, but it really sounds to me that like me, you may have RSD / CRPS (Reflex Sympathetic Disorder / Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome). It's hard to explain, but in a nutshell it's a malfunction of the Sympathetic Nervous System ('SNS' - part of Central Nervous System) where the SNS is misfiring and causing pain, temperature changes, swelling and potentially a whole host of seemingly unrelated problems. It can come on due to a mild injury like a sprain, or people can develop it without any known trauma. Just because the pain is caused by the SNS (and not a broken bone or other obvious serious cause) does NOT mean that the pain is not severe, or is all in the patient's head, or that they can ignore their pain b/c it's 'just' the SNS malfunctioning. It can become MUCH worse if you aggravate it – at worst it can be entirely disabling and devastating, and irreversible.

If you search online, you will see all sorts of dramatic symptoms that do not sound like you, and some nasty pictures too. There are numerous sites that lay down a 'classification' of what symptoms 'must be present' in order to have a diagnosis. But I have to tell you that with this disorder there are many variants. The hot and cold, stabbing pain, prickling, spasms, 'charlie horses' and numbness can all be symptoms – but each person's case is unique. The truth is, there is a LOT they don't know about this disorder so you find a lot of different opinions as to what constitutes RSD. It took me 3 years to be diagnosed with this – I was told I had atypical plantar fasciitis (despite icy feet and prickling) and despite seeing 12 different kinds of doctor, none of them diagnosed me correctly, either because they don't know about RSD / CRPS or because I don't fall into the 'classic' symptoms. I had normal ultrasounds, normal MRI's, normal EMG's – I looked totally healthy but yet was spending a good percentage of my time in a wheelchair.

I'm sure you're desperate to find help. Please see if you can find a physiatrist (a 'physical medicine & rehabilitation specialist', not to be mistaken with psychiatrist! ) or even better, a pain management specialist in your area. If you need a referral, tell your GP you want to be evaluated for possible RSD. If you happen to be near a large metropolitan area, you may try using http://www.americastopdoctors.com – I found my pain management doc who started my treatment on this site (I believe I searched on RSD). It would be worth it to travel if only to get your initial evaluation / diagnosis – esp if you live in a small town. RSD/CRPS would not likely resolve on its own! As for me, I saw neurologists, rheumatologists, orthopedists and of course podiatrists – some at the top of their field – and no one diagnosed me correctly. Before you even bother going to the specialist – ASK if they treat RSD patients. If they have little or no experience with it – say no thanks and call the next one. Otherwise you'll be wasting your time. Dr's who have extensive experience treating RSD know it comes in many shapes and sizes and can't be easily diagnosed (or ruled out) with a cookie cutter-type methodology. And personally I would see a pain management specialist (make that 2 – I always believe in 2nd opinions!), as they often are SO caring about your pain and take it (and you!) SERIOUSLY – which many regular docs just don't seem to do.

Lastly – in the meantime, if you plan to follow my advice – please for now just assume you DO have it and take very good & careful care of your feet (which you probably are doing anyway given your pain!). Just prior to my diagnosis, I decided to push myself past the pain – I thought maybe people were right and I was over-exaggerating my symptoms. Well I really did myself in, and the RSD spread to my knees. Wearing comfy shoes is good, since bad shoes would only aggravate things, but this will not cure your problem at all. Do NOT push yourself. Do NOT use ice (this is contraindicated in RSD / CRPS as it freaks the nerves out further.) Things like caffeine & stress can aggravate it (since it's a problem with excitability of the Central Nervous System). Try to bring calmness into your life whenever you can. Do not be afraid of the bad things you read online, as there are many of us with MILD cases that do NOT progress (and yes, if you have it, yours would be considered mild believe it or not!) and we can definitely recuperate with treatment.

You may want to consider renting or buying things like a shower seat and a wheelchair for shopping etc. – anything to get you off your feet as much as possible. Non-aggravating exercise (e.g. cycling or swimming) is considered very important, but anything that increases your pain should be avoided like the plague!

Good luck to you, I really hope you are able to find a diagnosis and get a good treatment plan going.


PS If it turns out that you are diagnosed with this – there's a great support chatgroup at http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/RSD-CRPSofAmerica . The people on this group are the incredible and are the most caring I've ever found online. They can offer an immense amount of support and information.

Re: Foot Pain

Aly R. on 2/28/05 at 10:16 (170135)

Hi Linda,

A quick clarification on my previous post:

When I wrote: ‘If you need a referral, tell your GP you want to be evaluated for possible RSD.' – I did not mean that your GP should evaluate you – I meant, as an explanation as to why you want to see a pain mgt doc or a physiatrist. Good luck.


Re: Foot Pain

DENEEN K on 2/28/05 at 14:55 (170156)


Re: Foot Pain

Aly R. on 3/01/05 at 08:54 (170195)

Hi Deneen -

You posted your msg at the end of an on-going thread. Don't know how many people will see it there. You might want to repost in a new thread.

Good luck with your foot problem...