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Old 11-10-2008, 05:57 PM   #1
Chris H Laing
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crippling pain on top and bottom of foot?

My mom came staggering down stairs today at around 5 o clock with pain in the top and bottom of her foot. The pain is so bad she can barely talk, and she can't walk.

I have tried everything that I use when I'm hurting: self myofacial release with a lacrosse ball on the bottom of her foot, contrast baths, and some trigger point massage from CFJ 37. I've also made her drink a butt load of water, because I read that dehydration can cause things like this. I've also given her a 500 mg calcium tablet because I read that could help, and I made her a sweet potato for some potassium.

Eventually I had her stop putting her foot back into the cold, because I'm pretty sure its not muscle pain; its more like tendon pain.

Out of everything that we did, something seems to be working because she can now move her foot up and down and wiggle her toes, but she can still not spread her toes without debilitating pain and the foot is still hurting her with no movement at all.

Anybody know what this could be? Right now shes sitting with her foot in a bucket of warm water massaging the back of her calf, gulping down another cup of water, and watching Andy Griffith.

I would really like to know what happened to her and effective ways to fix it because I can't stand to see my mom in pain, and next time this happens (fingers crossed it doesn't) I would like to be able to jump right to the solution instead of making shots in the dark and hoping something works.
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Old 11-10-2008, 07:08 PM   #2
Dave Matteson
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Re: crippling pain on top and bottom of foot?

What was your mom doing when the pain came on? Has anything similar to this (even of lesser magnitude) happened before? Does the pain extend any further up (e.g. into the calf). Does anything alleviate the pain, albeit slightly? What makes the pain worse? Is the pain more like an ache, or is it sharp? Any loss of sensation? Does the foot look different (color, shape)? Are there any signs of injury; redness, swelling, warmth? Are there any problems with the other foot right now?

How old is your mom? Any chronic health problems such as diabetes, neuropathies, clotting disorders? Any prior injuries to the affected foot?

If the pain isn't better soon, call her family doc or go to an ER.
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Old 11-11-2008, 02:56 AM   #3
Christian Lemburg
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Re: crippling pain on top and bottom of foot?

Dear Chris,

go to a medical doctor and get this checked out.

Symptoms of deep vein thrombosis (see, e.g., http://www.patient.co.uk/showdoc/23068982/) also include pain and swelling of the lower extremity. Just one of the conditions you want to check. If something like this has not gone away by now, it is time for the pros ...

Good luck, and fast recovery,

Christian
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Old 11-11-2008, 10:22 PM   #4
Ganine Vanalst
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Re: crippling pain on top and bottom of foot?

Look up neuroma. Might be what she has. It can be very painful.

I hope she feels better.
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Old 11-16-2008, 06:44 PM   #5
Chris H Laing
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Re: crippling pain on top and bottom of foot?

Dave - She had just been grocery shopping, and was sitting down eating her lunch when the pain came on. She has had foot cramps before but says they didnt feel like what happened. The pain didn't go anywhere else but the foot. The only thing that alleviated the pain was pulling her foot back by grabbing the toes and pulling them towards her, stretching the bottom of her foot. Putting pressure on it (e.g. standing on it) made the pain worse. The pain was sharp. There was no loss of sensation and the foot looked the same. There were no signs of injury and no problems with the other foot.

My mom is in her forties, has no chronic health problems besides high cholesterol, which is genetic, and I'm trying to get her to start zone to help out with that. She has also had no prior injuries to the foot.

The pain got better that night, but we're not sure from what or what even caused the pain. Any insight?

Christian - I was thinking deep vein thrombosis also, but she didn't have any swelling in her foot.

Ganine - I will look into that. Thanks.
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Old 11-16-2008, 08:36 PM   #6
Dave Matteson
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Re: crippling pain on top and bottom of foot?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris H Laing View Post
Dave - She had just been grocery shopping, and was sitting down eating her lunch when the pain came on. She has had foot cramps before but says they didnt feel like what happened. The pain didn't go anywhere else but the foot. The only thing that alleviated the pain was pulling her foot back by grabbing the toes and pulling them towards her, stretching the bottom of her foot. Putting pressure on it (e.g. standing on it) made the pain worse. The pain was sharp. There was no loss of sensation and the foot looked the same. There were no signs of injury and no problems with the other foot.

My mom is in her forties, has no chronic health problems besides high cholesterol, which is genetic, and I'm trying to get her to start zone to help out with that. She has also had no prior injuries to the foot.

The pain got better that night, but we're not sure from what or what even caused the pain. Any insight?
First, and most importantly, I don't think we're looking at a DVT or other vessel problem based on your description of the problem. The lack of swelling, radiation of pain, or color changes puts this pretty low on the possibility list. A relatively clean bill of health and young age also makes this less likely.

Second, this probably isn't any acute injury or trauma based on how the foot looked and lack of any noticable cause.

Most likely based on the description, this was a severe cramp especially since your mom has a history of foot cramps. Relief of pain by stretching the toes and worsening pain with stepping is often associated with cramping of your toe flexors (the muscles on the bottom side of the foot which also extend deep into the middle of the foot which can explain pain on both sides). Plus, the pain lasted awhile which is likely due to a sustained contraction of the muscle. Lack of any paresthesias (numbness, tingling, burning) is also suggestive of a cramp.

I do, however, like Ganine's idea. Morton's neuroma would be the specific name applied to this location. This happens when abnormal scar tissue (fibroma) surrounds a nerve in your foot putting pressure on the nerve. Your mom fits the "classic" age and sex (30s-40s, female) of a patient presenting with the neuroma. Your mom's history of foot "cramps" could be the result of a slowly enlarging fibroma. The pain of the neuroma is typically sharp, worse on the bottom of the foot, and worse with weight bearing and tight shoes. It is usually associated with burning or numbness, which you did not mention, so again, I think this is less likely. The pain usually does not take a long time to go away once pressure is taken off the foot.

Overall, although the symptoms overlap somewhat between a neuroma and a cramp, the latter is just MUCH more common and I would lean more towards that first. As long as this doesn't happen frequently, massage, heat, hydration, and potassium supplementation are the best at-home remedies. Take note if any particular pair of shoes cause the cramps more often than others since poorly fitting shoes are the most common problem.

Also, look up Mulder's Sign and see if that replicates your mom's pain. That WOULD be suggestive of the neuroma, which has a number of effective treatment options best discussed with your doctor.
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