Throbbing pain in middle-inner arch of foot

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Hi Everyone,

 I’m a 27 yr old male in relatively good shape, other than this debilitating foot problem I’ve had for almost two years, of course.  Whenever I walk or stand (especially walk), I have a throbbing pain throughout the arch of my foot and up to the metatarsals – basically everywhere north of the heel.  It gradually gets worse the more I walk/stand.  More recently, the pain has been localized in the middle area of the inner part of my arch.  The pain is so bad that I cannot walk anymore.  I have to limp to get around, and even that causes excruciating pain.

Things that trigger pain in the middle-inner arch of my foot.  Note that I have this pain bilaterally, but it’s far worse in the left foot:

-walking more than a couple of steps

-standing for more than 5 minutes

-clenching my toes (especially big toe -- this instantly triggers the pain)

Any thoughts?  I’m stuck in my apartment for the unforeseeable future until I can figure this out.  Dr has ruled out neurological and rheumatological issues from recent testing.  Also have a morton's neuroma in 3rd webspace (other side) but I'll save that issue for another day.

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  • Posted

    Hi billstein22. I am wondering if you have any resolution with this issue.

    I do want to make sure to note that I strongly encourage you to have proper testing done before choosing a path to pursue. A podiatrist diagnosed me with several things including PF, MR, and an entrapped nerve, without doing an ultra sound, MRI, etc., and I had surgery and received no relief. Then I saw another doctor who did an MRI to find that I never had any of things that I had been previously diagnosed with and had surgery and steroid injections for. Just a warning.

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    • Posted

      I had a surgery to cut through the ligaments that hold some of the bones together to make room for the "oversized/inflamed" nerve. It was two incissions in the front foot, one between the 2nd and 3rd metatarsals, and one between the 3rd and 4th metatarsals. He told me that he could not actually see anything (like the nerve itself) b/c it was just to cut the ligaments. I suppose I could get the surgery notes, but these would not be so telling because of the type of surgery. I went back to him to tell him that I had had no relief and he blamed it on me and told me that it was just scar tissue and that I had a low pain tolerance. Then tests showed that I had no inflamation in the nerves and the pain was not even in the right area for it to have resulted from that nerve.
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    • Posted

      I am not a doctor but I can tell you from experience and being on to my fourth podiatrist that podiatry is a sketchy area. I have been told so many different things without proper examinations. What I have learned now is with the right orthotics that actually strengthen thr arch over time and by not bracing the foot with those very supportive shoes it is actually the best way forward. Maybe the bracing footwear is good when you are in crisis but they weaken the feet and you need to strengthen and create more blood flow to the area.
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    • Posted

      On this site is the tale of a podiatrist dividing the inter-metatarsal ligament to "release a trapped nerve". The inter-metatarsal ligament is an important structure, and to divide it on a purely speculative ("thumb-suck") basis without firm verification of causative pathology is indefensible malpractice..
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    • Posted

      Hi Stephie,

       Unfortunately I have not had any resolution with this issue.  I had an ultrasound in which the specialist told me I may have an accessory navicular bone which can cause the pain I'm experiencing, but haven't had a follow-up.  Also, there wasn't any evidence of this on the MRI so I'm unsure.  The MRI hasn't shown anything else, and the orthopedic specialist ruled out plantar fasciitis, posterior tibial tendonitis, and basically every other possible ailment he could think of.

      it has been frustrating but i'm still hopeful that i'll figure out what's going on eventually.  One thing that has been particularly scary, though, is that I'm having trouble curling my big toe.  It just feels weak.  The PT tried to have me build strength doing toe curls but that just makes it worse.  Pretty much all activity makes my foot sore and triggers the same symtoms.

      Anyway, perhaps too much information but that's where I'm at.  Thanks for reaching out to me again.  Keep me posted on your status, too!

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    • Posted

      Hi Bill,

      The problem you seem to be having SOUNDS like it might be a sprain or tear of the abductor hallucis muscle or tendon. That is the muscle and tendon that runs from the inside of your heel bone to the inside of the proximal phalanx of the big toe. Basically, that muscle you feel if you rub your big toe from the main joint on the medial side of the ball of your foot back to your inner heel.

      This happens a lot in sedentary people. The abductor hallucis muscle is one of the main muscles responsible for propelling us forward during our gait cycle. It also helps support a large portion of our body weight.

      Many people confuse abductor hallucis muscle/tendon pain with plantar fasciitis because of the location of the pain.

      I struggled with pain from my abductor hallucis muscles myself for several years. I tried "custom orthotics" from a podiatrist who did many tests on me, just to tell me that I had plantar fasciitis (which I did not have). After using the orthotics for several months, to see no results, I quit using them and quit seeing that podiatrist. After speaking with other people across the internet, I realized just how much podiatrists "guesstimate" their work. 

      I am not a doctor. I am just a well-read, highly informed specialist that has thousands of hours of research and training on footwear, insoles, and the anatomy and biomechanics of human feet. I usually research this stuff anywhere from 2-6 hours almost every single day, and have done so almost every single day for the last 13 years. The complexity of the human foot enthralls me. It is a fascination I've had for a long time. It's not one of those weird foot fascinations. LOL. I'm just so captivated by how complex and important this small part of our bodies can be.

      I digress. 

      One of the best treatments for this is laser treatment sessions to help reduce the swelling and pain to promote faster healing. 

      The treatment that worked best for me was three-fold.

      Firstly, I read up on some over-the-counter "orthotics," if you will. I have come to be a huge believer in SuperFeet Insoles now, after using them and seeing tremendous decreases in pain related to my abductor hallucis muscles. So, I would highly recommend reading up on those to find the proper fit for your foot and activity.

      Secondly, icing and resting helped to lessen the pain after being on my feet all day.

      Lastly, taping using kinesiology therapeutic tape (KT Tape Pro, specifically) has worked very well for me. It helps lift the skin off of swollen or inflammed muscles, tendons, and ligaments to help increase blood flow and drainage to help aid in recovery. It also provides support without reducing range of motion. 

      Like I said, mine wasn't one thing that solved everything. I tape using the KT Tape Pro before runs, workouts, and any time I know I will be on my feet for extended periods of time, and ice immediately afterward if I do still get any pain (which happens every once in a while), and always wear my SuperFeet insoles in the proper type of running shoes for MY foot and pronation needs. I would suggest the KT Tape and SuperFeet insoles for your walking to and from work, as well as icing at the end of the day, and elevating your feet above your heart when at home. All of this should help aid in the recovery from your pains, assuming your pain is the same as mine was, which seems like it is. 

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    • Posted

      Thank you for the detailed reply, I appreciate it. If you wouldn't mind, can you elaborate on the "laser treatment sessions" you described? I have tried SuperFeet, KT tape, and icing/resting, all of which help a little bit but i'm not even close to fully recovered.

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    • Posted

      Sounds very much like accessory navicular to me. I had this in both feet and am currently recovering from surgery on my left foot. Right foot was done 4 years ago and no trouble with it since. Are you in the U.K. Or USA? I am happiest bare foot or in flip flops as the shoes do not rub on the sides of your feet making the pain worse. All the best with your recovery.
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    • Posted

      Three things they might resolve your issue: check your blood sugar level, cholesterol and check how much you're drinking water. fix this and trust me you will be fine within few days. but you need to keep up with a healthy diet regarding sugar, cholesterol and water. many people feel a lot better after they took this diet very seriously. another doctor added the sleeping "diet" that you have to sleep before 11pm or so. resolved my issue now, and I hope it will resolve your issue too.

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    • Posted

      I had a accessory navicular bone- with the same problem you have... it was causing me pain. the bone started to push out of the side of my foot. I just continued pushing on my podiatrist when they finally sent me to have it removed. when they went to remove it is when they found it was actually broke off into my tendon which was causing me not to be able to walk, move my big toe or much of anything else.

      stay on the doctor and don't let the case rest or go see another professional. if you are unable to move your big toe it sounds like your tendon is possibly tore from your navicular bone.

      Good Luck and Hopefully you have it fixed! ( I went 9 months before the doctor sent me to the surgeon)

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  • Posted

    Bill I cannot believe I found this conversation on the web I have been searching for something like what you're having since November I have the same exact thing and I have been in my house since November cause I can't walk well almost like you said the pain is unbelievableI am on loa from Home Depot where I work for 16 years. So far I went to the foot doctor and he gave me pain meds and some fluffy foot pads I have fibromyalgia and I thought it was that but my fibromyalgia doctor told me no it wasn't I go to pain management for my right leg this Friday I think I'll mention this to him he works by ultrasound. This week it's been so bad even taken a shower I have to sit down as soon as I'm done
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    • Posted

      Hi there! I'm sorry to hear that you've had similar problems...it's really frustrating knowing there are no answers.  Sadly, I've been working my butt off in PT and going to the gym and such, but everything seems to exacerbate the foot pain.  I had to walk a mile with my colleagues in Nashville the other day and I thought my foot was going to fall off afterwards rolleyes

      I hope you feel better...my dr hasn't mentioned fibromyalgia, but has suggested pain mgmt...maybe htey'll have answers for the both of us.

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    • Posted

      Just wanted to mention that the medications for Fibro can cause pain in your feet.  So can statins, antidepressants and a variety of other medications.  Cymbalta had me SCREAMING in pain.  It wasn't until I stopped the medication and eliminated wheat and dairy that the pain finally subsided.

      Antidepressants (and Fibro meds) seem to do something to the digestive or immune system that makes common foods toxic to the body.  Somehow the end result is incredible inflammation.  Mine was in my feet.  

      I would never have believed this to be the case if I hadn't lived the experience myself.  I've been off of medication for over a year and have body wide damage from their use that causes symptoms that are hard to believe were from a med targeted at neurotransmitters.  sad  Anyway, any time I eat dairy or wheat (because I miss my favorite foods), it takes MONTHS for the pain in my feet to again disappear.

      I think what I've learned most is that our bodies are so complicated.  Doctors fail to see the the foot is connected to the leg is connected to the torso is connected to the head...  They treat symptoms based on guesses not disease based on cause or source.

      Anyway, I hope this message finds you're condition much improved.   If you are on Cymbalta, I invite you to join the Facebook group "Cymbalta Hurts Worse" where you'll find information about other damages these drugs are doing.

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    • Posted

      Interesting information and so insightful. I had fibromyalgia and healed from most of my pain with a natural supplement. But I still have pain in my feet and constant popping. I think mine is related to all the meds they gave me while they were "treating" my disease. I'm happily not on any meds anymore just trying to resolve this recurring foot pain. Thanks again for the information you posted 😊

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    • Posted

      Bill and Plastic,

      Not sure if you are both having issues but I would like to tell you about what helped me.  I just came across your thread.  I was taking a dance class and suddenly felt a stabbing pain in the arch of my foot several years ago.  The foot and ankle specialist first had me stay off it and it continued to have pain where I could barely stand on it.  This went on for over a year.  The doctor suggested I do a nerve block up by my ankle on my leg to block the pain in my arch.  He then suggested massage to bring the blood flow back to the area to allow it to heal.  He also gave me a brace that held my foot in a right angle to sleep in.  Between the therapist doing the massage and my husband massaging it every single night after 1 month I had significant improvement and after 2 months I barely noticed it and by the 3rd month no pain at all.  It has been pain free in my arch ever since.  I wish I could say the same for other issues in my foot as I recently went thru surgery for those things but my arch stays pain free.  I know it sounds simple and I was willing to try anything nonsurgical and I was sceptical when he said the nerve block allows your foot to relax so it can get better blood flow but low and behold it worked.  

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