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How to treat pain in the feet ?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2004
Answered : 1777 Questions
The base of my right foot, esp the mound where the thumb starts has been paining for 4-5 days now. I kept thinking it would go. But now the XXXXXXX has also started paining. What could be the problem. Its a mild pain that is continuously there.

when I touch the mound of the base of the foot, I experience a sharp pain as well.
Tue, 1 May 2012 in TMJ
Answered by Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar 59 minutes later

Thanks for posting your query.

I need to know a few more details in order to help you better.

1.     Do you notice any swelling, redness, tingling or numbness at the site?
2.     Do you have a toe deformity?
3. Does the ankle joint hurt?
4.     Does the pain increase on walking?

You say your pain is at the base of your foot. You elaborate it at the base of thumb by which I presume you mean the great toe. From the currently available information, the pain that you describe appears to be caused by extra stress being put on the metatarsal bones in your feet. If you have recently engaged in hiking, running, jogging or any other high impact activity, I would suspect it to be the cause. Being overweight (often seen in hypothyroid individuals) can also put too much stress on your feet and cause such pain. Long distance walking or ill-fitting shoes can also cause repetitive stress on feet and cause such pain. All these can also lead to pain in your XXXXXXX

Irrespective of the cause, relief of foot pain involves rest and avoidance of activities that worsen the pain. You can apply ice to the affected area and take over-the-counter pain medication for pain relief. Use footwear that is wide in the front rather than narrow or pointed ones. Wear low heeled footwear with a firm sole and some padding inside such as Dr.Scholl’s. Most injuries to the bones and tendons in the foot should heal with these measures.

If the pain worsens or does not get better in a week, it is advisable to see an orthopedician. You may need an X-ray to rule out early arthritic changes.

Do get back to me with more details and follow-up queries if you have any. I will be happy to help you further.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: How to treat pain in the feet ? 8 hours later
Hi Doctor,

There is no swelling or redness thats noticeable. However there is some numbness on the foot.

I have not trekked or done any strenous exercise lately. Have been undergoing some work related stress though. Also neither am I overweight.

However, I do think it could be pinched nerves. When I lie on my tummy and curl my back backwards the pain vanishes completely. However when I stand or lie on my back, it comes back and is quite sharp. Could it be related to my lower back? Infact when I drove to work today even my XXXXXXX - the area between my ankle and knee in the front started paining.

I have never had this problem earlier. What do you recommend?
Answered by Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar 12 hours later

Thanks for sending more details.

I recommend to continue the home measures mentioned in my earlier reply which include ice compresses, pain relief medication like Tab DOLO-500 four times a day after meal for two days (This is an over the counter medicine so you do not need any prescription). If this medicine does not help, your doctor can prescribe better pain killers which are available on prescription.

These are the following possibilities I could think about the pain:

1) First suspicion is a local cause like Tendonitis. There is a tendon called EHL, extensor hallucis longus which starts from the XXXXXXX and goes into the great toe. This helps in the movement of great toe. The cold pack and the pain killer is the right way to treat tendonitis.

2) Arching back relieves the pain at the toe. Also the pain recurs lying on the back - This makes me suspect a spinal cause in the lower back at the level of L4 / L5 disc. This fits your description of nerve pinching pain.

3) I would also consider Serum Uric Acid levels (blood test) to rule out Gouty arthritis.

I would recommend an examination by an Orthopedician even if your pain subsides in 2-3 days. He may run few investigations if necessary to rule out the above possibilities.

You can write to YYYY@YYYY who can assist you further by finding the right doctor in your area and fixing an appointment with him.

Hope this helps.

Take care.
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