Foot pain
November 22, 2004 12:26 AM   Subscribe

Foot Trouble: I can't run anymore due to foot pain. Should I visit a podiatrist or orthopedic specialist or what? [symptoms and stuff within]

Recent attempts to get back into jogging (which I've done on and off since 1997) have been repaid with some sharp, terrible pain in my left foot. This seems different from plantar fascitis, which I had trouble with 1-2 years ago... rather than feeling tightness and pain in the fascia of my foot, it feels like it's near the tarsals in my left foot (I'd guess the second in from the outside). It feels like it might be some grinding or pinching in that general area. It kicks in just short of about a half mile, and when it does, continuing is out of the question.

I think I need to see a specialist. I was thinking of visiting one to get custom orthotics anyway. The trouble is, I don't know which particular kind of specialist I should be going to see. I had general practitioner diagnose and recommend some stuff for my plantar fascitis, but I doubt this is inside his domain. What's the difference between a podiatrist and an orthopedic specialist and a physiotherapist and other specialists? Is one better than another for this sort of thing?
posted by weston to Health & Fitness (6 answers total)
Be prepared for your doc to tell you to cool it on the jogging. It's not a very fashionable way to get exercise among health care pros. They'd much rather see you swimming or biking or something lower impact.
posted by scarabic at 1:21 AM on November 22, 2004

sounds like it might be a stress fracture. could just be bruising.

the best person i've seen for running was at a sports clinic. they had various staff, and i can't remember what the particular person i saw was qualified in, but being a sports clinic, they were very supportive (no "stop running").

if it is a stress fracture (wild guess) you do need to ease up, however, and it takes a fairly long time to get better. sorry.
posted by andrew cooke at 1:53 AM on November 22, 2004

Sports clinic is a good idea, as andrew points out. A podiatrist would be the next logical bet. If by "orthopedic specialist" you mean an orthopedist specializing in feet, that could work too, except that orthopedists are surgeons specializing in bones, and you may or may not have a bone problem, although it could be a bone spur, or a stress fracture. Hard to tell without examining the foot and probably doing an xray. I'd see a physician (not a physiotherapist) in a sports clinic.
posted by cahlers at 4:28 AM on November 22, 2004

Be aware that if you see a surgeon, he or she will be much more likely to recommend surgery than would a non-surgeon. Be skeptical.
posted by callmejay at 9:06 AM on November 22, 2004

Podiatrists are surgeons too. You could also simply see your primary care physician, ie your internist, first. But he may just refer you to a podiatrist anyway.
posted by cahlers at 9:42 AM on November 22, 2004

Could be bone spurs. My mother-in-law has had surgery on both her feet to remove bone spurs, and after surgery, she was basically unable to walk for two months--she had to go on a leave of absence from work, &etc. She had the first surgery two years ago, and just recently had the second surgery. She claims that the healed foot feels great now, but it took at least six months for it to feel normal again.
posted by cass at 9:44 AM on November 22, 2004

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