Left foot, right foot, left foot, OW!
February 10, 2012 8:46 AM   Subscribe

Woke up this morning with a lot of pain in my right foot. What should I do?

The pain in centered at the top of my foot, about midway between my ankle and the base of my big toe. Lifting up my foot this morning to switch between the gas and the brake was extremely painful, and I found myself using my leg muscles as much as possible to try and alleviate it. Walking, on a scale of 1-10, is maybe a 7 or 8? I gave birth without drugs and this pain feels almost as bad. I am walking very slowly, like an old person, and just thinking about getting up to get myself another cup of coffee... well, I just stay here in my seat. The pain is kind of radiating into my big toe. Right now I'm icing it, but just with my foot on the floor and the ice pack draped over it, because trying to elevate it is impossible since that required engaging the muscles in that area to hold my foot upright and it kills. Not swollen that I can tell, though that area seems to be a little higher on the right foot than on the left if that makes sense.

But I didn't DO anything, so, WTF?? Yesterday it kind of felt like I had a cramp on the top of that foot, but last night it didn't hurt that I noticed. I did soak in my hot tub last night, that's the only thing I can think of that could possibly have had an effect. I certainly didn't sleep on it wrong, like you can do with your neck or whatever. The only other thing that might be relevant is that I wore a pair of shoes with a bit of a heel last weekend and kind of twisted my ankle a little bit, but this is 5-6 days later so that wouldn't be it, would it?

I have a GP close by, and also an ER, and could probably go to either one today, but I don't even know what to tell them. So I am tempted to wait and see, but it's a Friday, so if it gets worse over the weekend ER would be my only option, and they're expensive.

What would you do? YANAD, or if you are, YANMD, etc.
posted by rabbitrabbit to Health & Fitness (10 answers total)
If you can get the the GP today, do that.
posted by Ery at 8:48 AM on February 10, 2012

Any pain of 7 or 8 is worth a trip to the doctor, I think. If it's nothing, you'll rest easy over the weekend. If it's something, you'll know without potentially causing further damage.
posted by xingcat at 8:50 AM on February 10, 2012

I would call the GP's office and tell them you woke up with a very sore foot, describe the pain and its severity as clearly as you can to the nurse and see if they suggest you come in, go for an X-ray, take ibuprofen, or something else.
posted by miaou at 8:51 AM on February 10, 2012

It sounds vaguely like gout, which I've had twice at completely random times twenty years apart. In both cases there was no obvious swelling, but even touching the ground with the ball of my big toe was really painful. Taking ibuprofen was what my doctor recommended, and that made it feel a lot better pretty quickly.

But I'd definitely go to see a doctor a.s.a.p., even if I was pretty sure that's what it was.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 8:52 AM on February 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

1. Go to the doctor. Could be gout, could be plantar fascitis, could be lots of things.

2. If it is plantar fascitis, I'd recommend that you strongly consider acupuncture with a traditional Chinese doctor. (Totally fixed mine.) And moving to a barefoot style of shoe.
posted by bearwife at 9:08 AM on February 10, 2012

Response by poster: I've made an appointment with my GP for 10:15 this morning. I'll let you know what he says. Thanks for pushing me in that direction.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 9:24 AM on February 10, 2012

Doesn't sound like gout. Initial gout attacks are almost always at the big toe joint, not in the middle of your foot.
posted by w0mbat at 10:10 AM on February 10, 2012

I've managed to extend foot/ankle pain from a slight slip to a multi-week ordeal by sleeping on it wrong. I'd just changed the sheets to a jersey knit, so it was high-friction, and stretchy enough that I couldn't make a loose pocket, there was slight pressure on my foot all night long. That, combined with actually tucking in the blankets well when I made up the bed, meant my foot was pretty effectively pinned in place while I thrashed around. I didn't think to blame the soreness on the bed until it miraculously got better when I changed the sheets the next time. We got rid of the jersey sheets, but I occasionally have issues with flannel sheets (high friction, heavy winter blankets piled on top). Not saying this is your problem, just something to consider.
posted by aimedwander at 10:18 AM on February 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Diagnosis: tendonitis in the big toe tendon.

800mg ibuprofen 3x/day, ice, rest, supportive shoes.

So, could have gotten away with not going to the doctor, but at least now I know.

Thanks AskMe!
posted by rabbitrabbit at 11:08 AM on February 10, 2012

If it doesn't go away with the treatment that your doctor prescribed (and neither ice nor supportive shoes are actually likely to fix it) then you may want to consider acupuncture, which can be quite effective for tendonitis.

I'm an MD's kid myself on both sides of my family, but have learned with age and experience that it is hard to beat acupuncture for pain conditions that don't respond to anti-inflammatories, rest, or physical therapy.
posted by bearwife at 11:59 AM on February 10, 2012

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