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daily, constant pain all over both feet for over 10 years!

by Glen

I first noticed pain in both feet while working a retail job and being on my feet all day long. This was just over 10 years ago (when I was 31 years old). I bought Rockport shoes which did not help.

Then, within a few weeks after daily shooting pain, I went to a foot clinic (a store that boasted the benefits of Alzner orthotics). I followed the "prescription" and gradually wore them more and more. They relieved the ball and heel pain I was feeling, but introduced arch pain. The built-in arches were more than my normally-flat feet could stand.
After several months, I took the Alzner's out. And, in summary, over the last 10 years, I have tried many different shoes, another clinic-prescribed set of orthotics (this time a soft type). I have used Z-Coil shoes, MBT's, Earth shoes, and finally Vibram Five Fingers. But NOTHING has "cured" me of the daily foot pain. Some shoes are instantly worse than others, while some work only for a several weeks. What I have noticed is that the Earth sandals (not shoes) and the Vibram Five Fingers are my best friends. But even so, I still experience some pain with them. (Often, the thought of taking off my shoes and putting my sore feet into the cold snow during winter days was a temptation.) But enough history...
The pain in each foot starts within seconds of getting out of bed and doesn't quit until going back to bed. It is a shooting pain, a numbing pain, and a dull pain in numerous places of each foot. The pain has been present in the arch, the ball, the heel, the top of the foot (above the arch and, separately, closer to the outside), the toes, the ankle. Some days the pain will be in just the arch, or just the ball, or a certain toe (usually the big toe or second toe), and other days there will be a combination of spots that hurt. Most of the time, it is a shooting pain, and the pain travels up past my ankles and it feels as though I am wearing boots of pain. Other times, it is numbing or dull. All I want to do is just get off of my feet. (Today my left foot isn't bothering much. But my right foot hurts at the big toe and on the top and bottom outside of the foot. I'm even wearing my current favorite shoes, Vibram Five Fingers. I chose them because they do NOT have any arch support.)
But, this daily pain just kills any motivation I have to get anything done. I've put up with this for far too long, hoping that a certain shoe style will "cure" my ills. I have little patience for specialists telling me that an orthotic is the answer. I've tried to do research on this, but I keep coming up with the common, traditional foot problems. I'd love to meet someone who suffers from this, too. I would love to compare notes about activity, diet, health, etc.
I am a 41-year-old male and was very active in my teens and 20's. In my 30's up to now, I've gained about 20 lbs. in weight. However, I cannot see how this weight gain can lead to such a debilitating condition.

Hi Glen,
It appears that you have never actually gotten a specific diagnosis as to what is causing this pain. Without knowing whats causing it, it will be difficult to alleviate.
Orthotics and shoes are fine, but they do not cure all foot problems.
Without having the luxury of actually examining you, it sounds like a condition known as tarsal tunnel (read my section on that topic), however, that is not the only potential cause for this problem.

If you have not done so already, I would suggest you make an appointment with a foot specialist and get a thorough examination to determine the source of your pain.

Marc Mitnick DPM
Find a Podiatrist Near You

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Jan 10, 2011
my daily footpains
by: angel

I'm a 22 year old male and I've been havin daily,every minute foot pain for two years. I have flat feeet,but never suffer from any pain. I was normal worked full time and was boxin, enjoyin life.The pain started in my heel and after several weeks the pain was to much to bear. I've visited several podiatrist but they can pin point anything out except inflamation. Now after two years I still have foot pain is in several parts of the foot sometimes the pain rotates. I don't know what's wrong and it gets depressing!!

Nov 01, 2010
additional info
by: Glen

Dr. Mitnick:

Thank you for your quick reply to my post. You are correct. I have never received a specific diagnosis from a podiatrist. I have only been to "foot care clinics" that are really just shoe stores with specialists selling custom-fitted orthotics. I have too long made the excuse that I was too busy to actually visit a foot doctor.

I read the section on Tarsal Tunnel, and it seems plausible, considering that compression on the main nerve can affect one or more branches resulting in pain in multiple places.

Usually, the pain is sharp, but subsides to a dullness and numbing when I get completely off my feet. (Not even sitting down with my feet resting on the floor brings relief. They have to be dangling or up in air.) And of course, the pain comes while standing, but is just a dull pain while walking or even running. Yes, nerve compression makes some sense to me.

The types of shoes and foot support that alleviate the pain seem to be open-toed sandals and flat shoes. Relatively flat (little arch support) but expensive Nike running shoes cause pain in the balls and toes. Other running shoes with "good" arch support will cause my over-pronated arches and the heels to hurt. And I have similar pains with other shoes: casual dress shoes, work boots, trail-hiking shoes/boots, etc. So, it seems as though I need open-toed shoes for my toes to spread out, and I need no arch (although that goes against the conventional wisdom of the shoe store specialists). And it seems to me that this is why the Vibram Five Fingers had worked for almost a year. (The daily pain has drifted up a level or two in recent weeks-- even with the Vibram Five Fingers. It's time for me to do something about it.)

However, I can wear my Florsheim wing-tip dress shoes for a couple of hours with no significant pain. And these have less toe room than any of the other shoes that do cause me pain. Go figure!

Incidentally, about 3 or 4 years ago, when I first visited my wife's Gonstead chiropractor to treat lower back and neck pain, I noticed that, for the first time in years, I had almost no foot pain. (Unfortunately, a year-and-a-half ago we moved to the sticks, er, Appalachians, and my wife has yet to find someone she trusts in what in already a remote area for medical care.)

Still, I made an appointment this morning with a podiatrist in Beckley, WV, to get an evaluation. I will see what happens.

Many thanks for the suggesion, Dr. Mitnick. I have a new avenue to try.


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