diagnosing foot pain
August 21, 2018 6:13 AM   Subscribe

I've had an on and off ache in one foot and I'm trying to find out if there are things I can do to ease it.

I just had a physical and asked my gp about it but she seemed a bit dismissive and said I should try arch support. I'm willing to do that but I want to get a bit more understanding before I start spending money.

For the past several months I've had what feels like soreness or stiffness in the outer edge of my right foot. It gets worse when I've been off of it for a while (often when I get up in the morning it's the most achy). It feels better when I massage it but the effect doesn't last long. I've taken to pressing the side of my foot down on the floor when I'm standing as a way to put pressure on it. All the articles I've been able to find talk about this as an issue for runners (which I am definitely not). I do walk a fair amount but nothing high impact, and from what I can tell it's not likely to be a fracture. I have very wide, relatively flat feet so arch support could definitely be the issue here, though it seems weird that I wouldn't have pain on both sides. I think my shoes are sized properly so it's not that they're pinching. Any thoughts on what could be happening (or "get orthotics already dummy") are greatly appreciated!
posted by brilliantine to Health & Fitness (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Have you considered seeing a podiatrist? They specialize in feet, but they're not really *specialists* they're sort of primary care doctors of feet.

Unfortunately, they can also be hit or miss in quality. The best two I've seen were one who was associated with a big academic medical center (NYU) and another who was both an MD and a DPM (doctor of pediatric medicine.)
posted by Jahaza at 6:16 AM on August 21, 2018 [1 favorite]

Did you have any kind of impact or twist injury at some point? A strain can take quite a long time to heal. Try cycling out different shoes for a period to identify if one is not right, oldest first. Try support hose. Keep the foot elevated when reading or watching tv.
posted by sammyo at 6:26 AM on August 21, 2018

Where are you located? Where I am (Ontario), there aren’t any podiatrists, so I would go to a sports medicine doctor for this.
posted by cotton dress sock at 6:44 AM on August 21, 2018

You saying that it is worse when you've been off it for a while, particularly when you get up in the morning, makes me wonder if you're heading towards plantar fasciitis. I've been trying to fight it off myself -- it's no fun! Do get it checked out, maybe try a sports massage therapist or physio for some exercises and suggestions?
posted by diffuse at 7:12 AM on August 21, 2018 [5 favorites]

Talk to a sports medicine physician. They treat the body as an interconnected system rather than isolating the feet as most podiatrists do.
posted by matildaben at 7:29 AM on August 21, 2018

Yes, seconding looking I'm to plantar fasciitis. They make inserts specifically for that. Profoot makes on that is about 3/4 length that works well for me. It also helps to stretch it out while still in bed, mostly pointing foot up as much as you can and rolling a bit.
posted by Short End Of A Wishbone at 8:14 AM on August 21, 2018 [2 favorites]

I get this kind of pain occasionally in my right foot . I have found that while the pain is in my foot, it is really a muscle tightness or knot in my calf muscles, either front or back, that is actually causing the issue. There is no actual pain in my calf when my foot hurts this way, but if I get my husband to massage that leg it helps a lot and my foot feels better.
posted by blacktshirtandjeans at 8:37 AM on August 21, 2018 [1 favorite]

Pain when you wake up? Nthing plantar fascitis. Also nthing the suggestion to see if you can get an appointment with a sports medicine or physical therapist for some good stretches and strengthening exercises to prevent the pain.
posted by TwoStride at 9:07 AM on August 21, 2018 [1 favorite]

In addition to getting yourself checked out, maybe take a read through this book - Simple Steps to Foot Pain Relief (I'm reading it right now!) I've been really enjoying the author's style - Katy Bowman is a biomechanist who focuses on a whole-body, alignment, and movement approach to pain relief. You could also read through her blog and listen to podcasts about foot pain and plantar fascitis.
posted by Uncle Glendinning at 9:32 AM on August 21, 2018 [1 favorite]

Also nthing plantar fascitiis! (Source- I deal with this from time to time and my sister has had it very severly). Going to a physio could help you, as would inserts as mentioned above. They actually didnt work for me, but they did wonders for my sister. Try stretching out your foot (wouldn't hurt to do both) thoroughly before you get up in the morn. Lying on your stomach and pushing your toes flat into the bed with your heels to the ceiling until you feel a stretch is good. Also when you get up, push your toes flat into the floor, again trying to point your heels to the ceiling. Do this 3-4 times throughout the day. Another thing you can try is putting a bottle of ice water under your arch when sitting down, and pushing your foot down on it. My sister did this and rolled it back and forth, which seemed to work well for her. If all else fails, a podiatrist and orthotics would be good. Good luck!
posted by DTMFA at 9:35 AM on August 21, 2018

Thanks everyone! I hadn't been thinking plantar fasciitis because all the things I read said that it manifesting in a different area of the foot, but I'll try out these stretches. I'll probably also see a podiatrist and keep the sports med recommendation in my back pocket.
posted by brilliantine at 9:58 AM on August 21, 2018

Could be plantar fasciitis, though that typically is more of a heel/plantar fascia insertion type pain. Have you looked into cuboid syndrome? Can be common in runners/walkers with less than optimal anatomy.
posted by Thesisaurus at 10:35 AM on August 21, 2018

Yes I cuboid is commonly associated with that area. If your foot hurts on lift off that can be a clue.

Stretch the calves, and try long, not too hard massage, sweeping upwards in the triangle of skin that lies between your ankle and achilles. Head upwards towards your knee. It will take a good ten minutes at least to relax it.
posted by smoke at 2:38 PM on August 21, 2018

You could always look for walking shoes that work with your feet
posted by infortunity at 9:38 PM on August 28, 2018

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