What is this weird foot pain?
April 16, 2014 3:42 PM   Subscribe

Three or four weeks ago I fell at work...and then days later, fell down some steps at home. I know, I'm coordinated like that. Ever since the falls I've had pain that goes across the top of my foot. It's been a while now and the pain isn't getting better...but it's not getting worse either. What could it be?

The pain is weird, and it goes across the top of my foot. If I were wearing these sandals, the straps would be right where the pain is (note: these are not MY sandals, they just serve as a visual aid). It generally doesn't hurt to walk, but at the end of the day my foot is usually sore if I've been walking a lot. What hurts the most is if my foot moves in a way that's uneven...for example, if I step down on an uneven surface and the left edge of my foot is higher than the right edge. Another extremely painful moment was when I was sitting with my foot sideways on the ground, and my three-year-old daughter sat on it. Normally that would be fine, but I howled in pain. It hurt like crazy.

My foot is just not getting better. I don't have a general doctor, so my options are wait it out or urgent care, and I really don't want to wait around urgent care if this is a problem that will resolve itself in another couple of weeks. Also, the pain is not excruciating...but it's not getting better, either.

How long does it take for a mildly injured foot to heal? Is there anything I can do (besides limiting walking) to help it heal? Put it up? Ice it? I have no idea. Help me out here, Metafilter.
posted by christinetheslp to Health & Fitness (9 answers total)
A month and it still hurts? Either the injury is worse than you thought (crack or break in a bone), or you are repeatedly re-injuring yourself from walking on it.

I know you don't want to go to urgent care, and if it had only been a week I'd probably say wait...but at almost a month I think it's time to go. It's your foot. It's important.
posted by Lutoslawski at 3:55 PM on April 16, 2014 [2 favorites]

If it still hurts badly enough to restrict how you walk to a very small degree, you really should see a doctor (or a podiatrist or a sports doctor-- someone with direct experience.) Are there single spots of pain, like if you press down in a particular area? Does it hurt while flexing or pointing, or bending the foot? Do you usually wear sneakers or heels or what? I mean, there are a huge number of parts in your feet: tendons, ligaments, inordinate numbers of bones. Maybe it's a tiny fracture, or a tiny torn something-- but really, if it's not improving, I think a doctor is the only safe way to go here.
posted by jetlagaddict at 4:09 PM on April 16, 2014 [1 favorite]

I agree with Lutoslawski. (I had a stress fracture in one of my foot bones once that your pain description reminds me of. As soon as I put on the boot cast at the podiatrist, walking became painless again. I just had to wear it for six weeks to give the bone a chance to heal up, but it was not a huge hassle since I could take it off for showers & sleeping.)
posted by oh yeah! at 4:51 PM on April 16, 2014

File an accident report at work. See a doctor.
posted by theora55 at 5:10 PM on April 16, 2014

I injured my foot almost the same way, with the same pain in the same place a couple months ago. I can't remember how long it took to go away (multiple weeks, for sure) but it's gone now.

One thing that exacerbated it was something I didn't even even notice I was doing before I injured myself -- when I walk up and down the stairs in slippers, I lift my toes upward to help keep the slippers on. This upward-lifting toe thing apparently pulled on whatever part of my foot I'd injured and made it hurt much worse after.

So, my suggestion would be to try not to lift your toes upward relative to the rest of your foot and to avoid slippers and slip-on shoes in favor of shoes that securely lace or buckle on instead until your foot has completely healed.
posted by Jacqueline at 5:12 PM on April 16, 2014

I've broken and fractured toes and bones in my feet a bunch of times and what you describe does sound like it could be a stress fracture. Since IANAD what I'm really here to do is suggest you see a doctor because you may be compensating by altering your gait, and that can cause other kinds of pain that can linger long after your foot is healed.
posted by Room 641-A at 7:32 PM on April 16, 2014 [1 favorite]

It really sounds like a stress fracture. The only way it's going to heal is stop walking on it. Go to the doctor.
posted by catatethebird at 6:33 AM on April 17, 2014

Theora55 is correct. You need to file a report with your employer about the original injury, and follow their policy about access to medical care. Your private insurer will probably (correctly) decline to pay for diagnosis or treatment, as the employer is responsible.

If you do need to stay off your foot, need xrays or a splint or cast - or whatever - you will then be covered by workman's comp for missed time and missed wages. What if your job requires standing/walking etc. and you are injured and can't do those things? Workman's comp protects you!
posted by citygirl at 8:19 AM on April 17, 2014

This literally just happened to me. Like I'm still in the middle of it, and my podiatrist appointment was two weeks ago. Mine is a stress fracture. I'm betting yours is too.

I would see a podiatrist to be sure. There's not much they can do, but they'll do an xray to confirm, and they can give you advice on what type of shoes you should be wearing (or a boot, if necessary) and a modified way to walk.
posted by dithmer at 7:05 PM on April 18, 2014

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