Referred pain to ankle and foot causes

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Hello. I am a female aged 70. I have o a in knees spine and neck and possibly hips. Around 6 years,ago I suffered awful knee pain but the worst pain was going down the leg to the ankle and foot it was unbearable (no back pain then although I do have severe varicose veins) I was due to have a knee wash out in the September having seen the ortho doctor in July. The pain kept me housebound but never bothered when asleep. To cut a long story short by the time the surgery came up the pain has disappeared and the consultant said looks like nature had done the job and better not to upset it with surgery.

Fast forward to now having had a stressful couple of years due to other health problems a house move of 200 miles and anxiety problems I now am having the same pain. This time it started lower back just above buttock and knee hurting more than usual and this excruciating pain in ankle and foot. Due to gastritis I cannot take nsaids only paracetamol in desperation. I used some ibuprofen gel this morning although probably not a good idea. Because of diverticualar and ibs am really careful about what pain killer I take as I can't risk constipation. By chance I have a gp Appointment tomorrow. I was under the impression that knee oa does not refer pain to feet but that it does from the back. I dread having to once again spend weeks in doors but there is no way I can walk when it is bad. Would be grateful for any suggestions on pain relief and anyones experiences of this type of referrred pain. I am feeling so down. My husband also has health problems so he can't do everything in the house. Doctors don't seem to worry too much just saying it's Arthritis . I was advised by a,consultant orthopaedic doctor not to have knee replacement until really necessary saying that they do not work as well as hip replacement and it is a very painful surgery.

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  • Posted

    Does it feel like nerve pain - so kind of a deep throbbing ache?

    Let me describe something I had and tell me if it sounds similar.

    In my case the pain tended to move. Sometimes it would be a deep ache in the buttock, other times I'd feel it down the outside of my thigh as far as my knee; other times all the way down to my foot. The pain was most extreme when I felt it in my foot. 

    It wasn't sciatica as the location the pain varied.  However, it was (or seemed to be) irritation of the sciatic nerve.

    If this sounds familiar I'll tell you more about how mine was resolved.


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    • Posted

      Hello thanks for replying. I am not sure how to describe the pain. At the moment it seems to start on the right hand side just above buttocks (my gp said it is probably is oa) It sometimes go to the left hand side but not so bad. I would describe the pain as a dull ache which gets worse at times it is also sore when pressed. I get fleeting pains in the thighs knees hurt is I assume Oa but the pain I can't stand is when it goes down the shins and into ankle and foot it seems to throb and cramp and make me shout out. I do admit I am no good with pain. I should add for the last few months I have been dealing with digestive problems and upper/mid back pain which was unrelenting also pain in chest and sternum. I was diagnosed with gastritis after a camera down also my gp said that my shoulders and spine was very tight and painful to the touch. Both a lot better now. My gp did mention costochondritis in passing but did not say I had it. My anxiety is also a big part of it all. Will see gp tomorrow. Really very confused and anxious about what is causing what.

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    • Posted

      OK, that does sound very much like nerve pain. 

      It sounds as if you've got major muscle imbalances throughout your body - which I also had! I was thought to have OA in multiple joints, but when I sorted out the muscle imbalances the symptoms all disappeared. Sorting out muscle imbalances is a long, difficult job though - right now all that matters is getting out of pain. 

      Tell your doc that you spoke to someone with similar symptoms and that in their case it was nerve pain - not true sciatica, but most likely due to either the piriformis or gluteus minimus pressing on a nerve (tight muscles).  I was treated with amitriptyline, which is what's known as a tricyclic anti-depressant; it just so happens that it's also very good at calming down irritated nerves.

      It takes a while to work, and you have to build up the dose slowly. It can take a couple of weeks or longer before it takes full effect, and it doesn't work with everyone - however, I think it works for most. There are some side effects, but nothing too scary - most common being extreme drowsiness and dry mouth, but it wears off in a couple of weeks. The drowsiness can actually help you get some much needed sleep.

      I had to stay on the drug for about 4 months or so and then I slowly reduced the dose until I was off it completely. That was a few years ago now and I've never had a re-occurrence. Thank goodness!! The pain was extreme, and could not be controlled by drugs.

      When you're out of pain Google for "Trigger Point Treatment" and "Self MFR" - this may well help you to get some relief from those tight, knotted muscles! 

      Good luck! 

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    • Posted

      Libralady - please don't take this next bit of info the wrong way!! I am NOT suggesting you are imagining your pain.

      However, after settling down my nerve pain I had lingering pain whenever I exercised. It didn't make sense - the pattern had changed completely. This video helped me understand why - please do watch it as I think it might put your mind at rest over a lot of things.

      Essentially, pain is ALWAYS in the mind. The nerves send signals to the brain, but the brain chooses whether to create pain as a response. This is largely done based upon perceived threat. If you're fearful because you've been in extreme pain in the past your brain can go onto red alert and start over-reacting to benign signals from the nervous system. Understanding this process is a big part of the battle when it comes to getting completely pain free. After watching this, I used a NLP technique called 'anchoring' and that eliminated all traces of pain.

      Moderator comment: I have removed the link(s) directing to site(s) unsuitable for inclusion in the forums. If users want this information please use the Private Message service to request the details.

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    • Posted

      Thank you for your informative reply. I am seeing my gp tomorrow so will mention about nerve pain. I do know of amytriptyiline as my son in law takes it was nerve problem in his back. My gp did offer me it but I was not sure I have the feeling it is contraindicated with glaucoma which I have but I will have to check. I am not sure if she meant it for pain or to help anxiety as I believe it is used for anxiety on a low dose. Once again will mention it

      After I replied to your email the pain in my foot got worse and even started in the other foot. It was unbearable. I could still feel pain in the knees and lower back but nothing like the feet. My lower legs and feet felt very heavy and I for some reason raised my legs up high on the back of the sofa and the pain slowly subsided. This now makes me think that the varicose veins are part of the problem. I had them stripped 25 years ok but they came back and are really bad and awful looking. I cannot go without tights or maxi skirts in the hotter weather. When I had the last problem with foot pain which I mentioned I had the veins checked but they were fine and they said they were not responsible for the foot pain and then as you know the pain went away. I am going to ask my gp about the veins as well. I must admit that because of my anxiety and the upper back problems I have not been going out much so not getting the exercise I and the veins need. It is hard when you are in pain but I must try.

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  • Posted

    I am 70 next month and have been diagnosed with chronic arthritis of the back, neck, thumbs and now ankle.

    ?I also have IBS. After having physio and acupuncture it was suggested that I do makko-ho a five minute system of health and fitness. It's a type of yoga done from a sitting position against the wall. I have been now doing this for about 1.5 years and do not need any medication and am attending the gym 3 times a week. The system has you stretching your spine from the top of you neck to your feet. I do the excercises about 3 times a week or when I feel my back tightening up and it has taken the need away for physio and acupuncture and serious medication.  I was diagnosed by a neurologist after an MRI after suffering from bad headaches. The exercises are done with your back against the wall and your body stretching towards the floor. I also take 3 caps of Rose-Hip and 1 cap of advanced curcumin a day.



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    • Posted

      Thank you Kate. This makko-ho health system you mention whet you say it is done from a seated position do you mean on a chair or sitting on the floor as there is no way I could sit on the floor. I cannot use a bath only a shower.

      It sounds like you are doing well and long may it continue.

      Best wishes


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