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Thread: Foot Pain
03-08-2013, 01:58 AM #1
I'm copying this over from my most recent training journal as my foot pain was getting bad enough to really affect my ability to train & do cardio to hit a contest target date. I've been working w/ a chiropractor who uses a lot of applied kinesiology and some really amazing 'function-based' approaches to her healing skills. My current collection of foot issues are probably the age-related culmination of genetic imbalances in my foot structure. I have 3 generations of bunions on my mom's side of the family, and I was lucky enough to continue the tradition. I had my first bunion surgeries (both feet) when I was 25, back in 1991. The results were great, but my left foot was structurally unsound enough to make the bunion come back so I had another surgery in 2008 which has also been a great result. (Scroll down 3 posts for before/after & x-ray pix of that.) But along w/ the general instability I was born with, I have the not uncommon later-in-life results of ongoing instability and the poor foot trying to compensate for all of it over the years. My latest issues are what I'm going to talk about here since I've found some good solutions that I'll be applying over the coming weeks to hopefully correct things and maybe even find a point of no foot pain.
What I am dealing with are 2 Morton's neuromas in each foot, the right foot being the much more painful one, and plantar fasciitis in my left heel.
To start, I'm posting 2 videos of what exactly these are. Then my solutions.
Short video on what exactly plantar fasciitis is:
03-08-2013, 01:59 AM #2
03-08-2013, 02:04 AM #3
For anyone interested - I've been dealing w/ intense pain for about 10 months from 2 Morton's neuromas in my right foot - basically inflamed nerves in that little area where all your toes (metatarsals) come together at the ball of the foot. It feels like all the padding has been ripped out of the ball of my foot and I have to walk barefoot across a field of golf balls. It burns when I'm just sitting and hurts like a muther when I walk. And keep in mind I live in the downtown area of a major metropolitan city, so I walk everywhere, including work every day. I also have 2 neuromas on my left foot, but the only real 'pain' I experience is randomly I'll get a pinch / numbness in my middle toes. Its not so bad in terms of pain, but I've been experiencing that for probably 3 years and the extreme case of neuromas is the nerve is dead and has to be removed. From what I've read it seems like about half the surgeries actually leave the patients worse off than they were before. And if you've ever had any sort of foot pain, its humbling and you get a really good appreciation for the mobility that you might otherwise not havw. It is life-affecting. I also have plantar fasciitis in my left heel - that's been going on for about 5 years - had it in the right heel but its taken care of itself. The left foot has been present for quite a while. Not as bad as the neuromas but also burns occasionally and generally feels like someone has been tapping on it w/ a ball-peen hammer all night.
So the corrections I've used in the past and what I'm doing now:
- using orthodics (higher arch) - have been doing this for the last 25 years related to genetic bunions - both custom & OTC orthodics
- using neuroma-specific orthodics - they have a dome in the center / ball of the foot area designed to help take pressure off that neuroma - sorta helps, but not making it go away
- ice / ibuprofen - like after training - helps a bit but not making it go away
- home ultrasound - after training - couldn't tell you if it helps - I use the ultrasound machine for the plantar fasciitis as well as other tendonitis issues I have. The problem is being consistent in using it - and I'm just not. Takes time and consistency.
- got 2 cortizone injections back in October. Didn't do anything At this point my podiatrist started talking about surgery. In my mind, I told him to go fuck himself.
- My chiropractor came up w/ a way to tape my 2nd-4th toes to promote stability and take the pressure off that area. The idea is the same as if you've ever twisted up a paper towel or kleenix and laced it between your toes to spread them out (e.g. to let toenail polish dry). Using some muscle testing techniques (applied kinesiology), she determined that the direction of the lacing should be a certain way to improve the balance & stability of my foot during the transition of balance from one foot to the other while walking. Here's the lacing method & orientation of the toe taping that I am using. (Sorry I really need a pedicure - I had a 25 lb plate drop on my big toe a few years ago and the nail is just finishing growing back (a second time) so it all looks a bit rough.) And yes my 4th & 5th toes look a little weird - I had hammertoes corrected as part of my first bunion surgeries - basically they took out the joint and the toes are little floppier than they would be normally (eeeeyyyywwwwwwww... but hey, at least they don't hurt.)
The end result is that I am using standard "coach tape" (cuz its cheap - since I'll be taping like this for a while) - take 3 strips that are hall of the tape width (~3/4") and ~4" long. Tape the 2nd toe to pull it up - wrap the tape around the back of the toe, anchor on the top of the foot, 3rd toe goes down - wrap the tape around the top of the toe, anchor on the bottom of the foot, 4th toe, same as 2nd. And then wrap another piece of tape around the whole foot to hold each of the little pieces down. (And make sure to step down and stand on the foot before securing the tape so it doesn't strangle your foot when you try to stand on it.)
Here's the prototype tape job using the stretchier tape my chiro likes - but I haven't found where I can actually buy it yet -and also found it is too bulky to really wear comfortably in shoes). I like the coach tape better.
And voila! The amount of pain is nearly negligible. I also notice that I am walking w/a normal gait - in other words, I'm not anticipating the pain w/ the way I walk, because I forgot about the pain. And the extra push/pull of the tape is helping get my foot to the structure it should be while taking some of the pressure of the area where the neuromas are. Also by getting my gait back to normal, my balance and stability is closer to 'normal' all up & down my body. It is also helping reduce some of the exaggerated pelvic rotation I'm experiencing right now. I've been getting adjusted like 2x /week for the last 3 months for this.
This is more of "d'oh shoulda thought of this earlier", but the whole tape approach to the neuromas inspired me to go search youtube for some Kinesio Tape methods to help deal w/ this as well on the off chance I might actually get myself to a point of being pain free in my feet for the first time in many years.
I used this video because the person does the taping on herself instead of needing someone else to do it. I found the KT Tape comes off in the shower, at least on the feet so I'm experimenting w/ coach tape as well - again - its cheaper but it doesn't have the stretch that KT Tape does. I'm also finding the 3 pieces of KT Tape works better than only 2 for pain, and at $12-13/roll of 20 pre-cut pieces, I can go thru that in a week. (Yes I can put a bag over my foot in the shower, but I'm just not real excited about doing that. I like my feet clean!)
So anyway - wanted to give myself a couple of weeks using these methods to let my feet start healing. I know feet aren't the sexiest thing in the world, but when they hurt, it really does affect you. For me, this is huge! If you have any sort of structural instability in your feet, as you get older you can probably plan on experiencing at least one issue w/ your feet. It seems plantar fasciitis especially starts to show in around mid-40s.
03-08-2013, 02:26 AM #4
I'm attempting to copy over some stuff I posted on a different site right after my 2008 bunion surgery if anyone is interested in those details.
Got some before & afters of my foot surgery ...
Here's what I started with - note the bend in the big toe on the left foot compared to the right. Both feet were were fixed in 1991 - the right foot stayed straight & the toes are all essentially aligned, the left started to poke out again.
This is a picture of my left foot w/ the original screw in the toe. There's a red arrow pointing out the screw. The other straight lines are showing the alignment of all the toes -- normally they are all straight and parallel to each other.
Here's the original screw. Sorry for the fuzzy pic - the screw is about 3/4".
This is after the toe was rebroken, rescrewed (new screw, I have the original in a plastic container w/ my name on it.. why I don't know...). Again, yellow arrow pointing to the new screw and the straight lines show the alignment.
In addition to the screw, there is a line of "fiberwire" running between the lower bone of the big toe and the 2nd toe called a "tightrope". The pair of yellow arrows shows where the two ends of the fiberwire are anchored in the bones. This should tie in the big toe from slide over again in the future just under the natural shape tendency of the foot. It also looks like the extra bone sticking out at the ball of the foot (at the base of the big toe) was shaved off some so the final big toe is much straighter than before.
03-08-2013, 03:27 AM #5
Crazy...but as usual your post is well thought out and very informative!
Hope it all turns out well, you and I are the same age and I am hitting the stage this year, first time since 2009. Just like falling off a log though.....once you know how, you know how!
03-08-2013, 11:34 AM #6
I think anyone who has persistent issues w/ their body gets intimately familiar w/ it and all the stuff around it. I'm particularly fascinated by the stuff my current chiropractor comes up with. I've been working w/ chiropractors for the last 20 years in 5 different states and some very good ones - but none of them did the extent of muscle testing / applied kinesiology that she does. If you do a bit of research, some claims of "applied kinesiology" lean towards the side of quackery, but everything she uses is demonstrably applicable to chiropractic and stability management. Just fascinating.
At the end of the day, when I walk home from work and am able to knock a good 7 minutes off my pace simply because I forgot I have foot pain and I walk normally - is just huge. I love itI! Just gonan roll w/ that and start playing around w/ cardio again to see how that works w/ the taping and get back on the stage wagon. Maybe something in August. There isn't a lot to choose from here after the spring until October, so I miight need to look outside the midwest for something. I think waiting until Fall starts to get too late.
03-08-2013, 11:45 AM #7
- Join Date
- Jun 2009
- Rep Power
~ Geebus ... It's a wonder you can walk at all with all that going on with your feet!! I feel bad now for moaning about my collapsed arches, when all I need to do is stop being vain and wear 'sensible' shoes!!
I remember when I was young my Granny complaining about her bunions but being a kid at the time I never realised how sever it could get!! Best of luck getting it sorted the best you can!! ~
03-08-2013, 02:09 PM #8
So ... w/ the help o fDr. Google, here's some info on fallen arches:
I was just talking to a friend (guy) who has flat feet and actually started experiencing a neuroma last year. He was able to catch it early and mostly just by reducing the pressure on that area where all your toes come together and could be crowding the nerves - that will make it "go away". They recommend orthodics as one option - they are great if you're wearing tennis shoes all the time, but prior to moving to Chicago, I only wore tennis shoes for the gym and always wore heels or flats - i.e. no room for the damn orthodic in the shoe - but now I'm wearign them most of the time. So I'd suggest getting a pair and tryign them in your tennis shoes when you wear them and see if that much helps. I'm not sure how you get the "right" orthodics for fallen arches because I need the med- high arch for my foot. I highly recommend Powerstep brand orthodics if you are interested. There are a couple other posts on RX about them - (search on "bunion" - you'll find a couple other brands mentioned). If you can do "something" towards some support for your feet so you don't start seeing some of the other shit I'm dealing w/ as a result of the fallen arches - because it is still forcing a less than perfect stability in your foot and the rest of your foot has to work that much harder to re-establish some attempt at stability - and that starts to propagate an odd gait, or maybe making your hips work a certain way they really aren't intended to work, etc. The shit just propagates and everythign eventually gets out of whack.
Anyway ... just a suggestion
03-20-2013, 09:40 PM #9
- Join Date
- Feb 2009
- Rep Power
This thread could not have come at a better time, Jill, because I too, have been suffering foot pain for the past year. I'm not sure but I may have a bunion forming??? I will definitely look into the Powerstep orthotics.
04-10-2013, 01:26 PM #10
Hey Lisa - where is the pain? When I first started feeling issues related to the bunions, it felt like pain in not in the ball of the foot (that would actually be a Morton's Neuroma - feels like you have a rock in your shoe) but rather more like a dull soreness across the whole area where the big toe joins into the foot - like where that bone starts to stick out (like old lady feet LOL!). When I first started feeling it, I had no idea what a bunion was - it felt more like it got stepped on or some general pain, but also no support - I was using coach tape to tape around the whole ball of my foot area to give more support. It wasn't really fixing anything but it helped w/ the pain until I found out what was really going on. I'm not sure that I'd call taping an approach to "fixing" it. I think the orthotics will help a lot.
05-02-2013, 03:12 AM #11
So some update:
- I did about 4 weeks of massage & adjustments 1/week, and acupuncture 3x/week. With the taping things were starting to get a little better - the right foot neuroma was less feeling like a rock in my shoe and reduced more to just a burning soreness, but the plantar fasciitis was flaring. I was volunteering at the local animal rescue 3 hrs on Saturdays - mostly taking the dogs out to the courtyard to pee. Just that was really aggravating things and basically setting me back a full week, every week. I stopped doing the volunteering for a while (which sucks because I really enjoy it) and also dropped the massage & adjustments because it was getting expensive (met my ins deductible by March...) and have been doing acupuncture 1/week, and will continue for the next 3 weeks.
Something that seems to have really made a difference is getting a pair of the goofy looking Vibram Five Finger shoes. (I call them my "Frodo Feet" LOL!) I only wear them around the house right now, but they are helping everything a lot. Things are not "corrected" yet, but seem to be heading in a better direction. Also with spring here, I was looking for some white canvas walking shoes for work - ended up getting some Dr. Scholls tennis shoes, and those also are helping. God willing, I'll be in a much better place soon. I've got family visiting thru this weekend and after my schedule settles, I'm looking to start up stairmaster cardio to see how that goes, and get back in the gym. While I've got my deductible caught up, I'm also going to schedule an MRI for my right shoulder that has been sore since right before my last show over 2 years ago. Between that and my feet, I've just had no desire to go to the gym because pretty much everything I do involves either shoulder or feet and all of it is very painful.
10-08-2013, 06:11 PM #12
Hey there how are you doing these days? Sorry to hear about your issue. My left foot has been bothering me but it's probably nothing serious just some pain on my soles once in a while. Hope you're doing much better these days...
10-08-2013, 06:47 PM #13
Sassy does your chiro do ART? My wife is now ART certified and is workomg on Graston. My old Chiro said plantar fasciatis was an easy fix as he works on a lot of ironman comps. Just something to think about as I didn't see anything aboit it in what you've posted.
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01-12-2014, 12:12 AM #14
Nice thread... wasn't at all familiar with Morton's neuromas until this!
I've had to deal with a lot of foot issues myself in the past (plantar fasciitis, bunion, heel spurs, achilles tendonitis, etc) and my journey of rehab and discovery took me in quite a different direction than much of what I see here, or what I've seen a lot of chiros/physios do.
Basically, I avoided all stretching / massage type stuff, and weaned myself off of shoe inserts / arch supports. It took a long time but by building up strength and stability in my feet (and stimulating the nerves more) I became less dependent on external support from rigid footwear, taping, bracing, etc.
Here's what I'm talking about:
I doubt this would apply for a condition like the neuroma, so don't jump on me just yet LOL... but might be interesting to check out.
01-12-2014, 12:36 AM #15