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August 30, 2008 5:02 PM   Subscribe

I've got really distracting pain in one foot when I walk. It's dampening my night. Do you have some advice for this?

It all comes from wearing ballet-style flats to my job, which requires about 1 to 2 miles of street travel on foot during the day, in fits and starts. I enjoy that part, but I've had no arch support and it's killing me. The pain started yesterday after I wore a very unsupportive pair. This had happened before, but I thought it would leave by this morning. It never did.

The pain is on the top of my left foot, where it joins my leg. Although I don't know what I'm talking about, I'm looking at a diagram of the foot and it looks like it's in the area of the inferior extensor retinaculum.

Would heat help or hurt? Cold? Does rest matter or can I go about my business? I took Motrin, which helped a little, but so little that I might have imagined that.

I'll need to take this seriously and see the doctor if it lasts much longer; it's that bad. But I would really appreciate a suggestion or two tonight. It doesn't act like plantar fasciitis or common standing/walking pain . . .
posted by Countess Elena to Health & Fitness (9 answers total)
Just get off your feet and let them rest for the night. And consider that if you keep working under these conditions, one day you'll barely be able to remember a day when they didn't hurt like that.
posted by [NOT HERMITOSIS-IST] at 5:09 PM on August 30, 2008

Heat, rest, anti-inflammatory.
posted by orthogonality at 5:17 PM on August 30, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks. At least the shoes aren't part of the job -- that's up to me. I should probably wear walking shoes out, and then change to business-y shoes when I get to the front entrances. A pain in the ass it may be, but it would be better than this pain.
posted by Countess Elena at 5:35 PM on August 30, 2008

Does it hurt more or less the same all the time, or does it hurt a lot more when you apply pressure to bone in the area? If you get more pain when you press bone, it may be a stress fracture. Stress fractures of the foot are often seen in college frosh who start walking all over the campus in their first semester. If you have been walking all over the place in unsupported flats for weeks, this may have been enough.

It seems more likely that it's a soft tissue injury, though. If you still feel bad after rest, ice, elevation, anti-inflammatories, etc. throughout this weekend, see a professional.
posted by maudlin at 6:24 PM on August 30, 2008

Response by poster: maudlin, I'm not finding it tender to pressure on bone, or on soft tissue. So that's a good sign, though I know I can't press on all the bones under there. I once had a stress fracture under exactly the circumstances you describe, and it was so obnoxious. I love walking -- I walk everywhere outside of work, too! Oh, well . . .
posted by Countess Elena at 6:45 PM on August 30, 2008

Rest, ice & anti-inflammatories sound like good advice, combined with supportive walking footwear. If that's not enough, it could be referred pain: I'm having trouble with my ankle but suspect the real culprit is my hip (sacro-iliac joint dysfunction). Good luck. When in doubt on medical matters, doctors might know best :)
posted by woodway at 6:49 PM on August 30, 2008

This happens to me when I don't get enough support. I had a pain in only one foot for a long time and I was actually worried I'd broken a bone or something before I figured out what was going on.

What helps me is lots of gentle stretching (by hand) and yoga - especially positions that require you to rise up onto your toes slowly and sink down again. You might also try rolling your foot on top of a tennis ball.
posted by lhall at 7:13 PM on August 30, 2008

Countess Elena: " It doesn't act like plantar fasciitis or common standing/walking pain . . ."

When my plantar fasciitis started, the pain was primarily in the top of my foot.
posted by IndigoRain at 9:37 PM on August 30, 2008

It all comes from wearing ballet-style flats to my job, [...] I've had no arch support and it's killing me.

Maybe just getting some arch-support inserts for your shoes? I also have problems with my arches when I've worn shoes with poor support for a while, but they make insoles which have a support arch on them, and some can be cut to fit whatever shoe you've got and they really do help.

(Although, for the record, my archces hurt actually AT the arches, so the pain may be different.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:40 AM on August 31, 2008

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