Suspected Foot Tendonitis - 5 weeks of pain & doctor no help!

by Kara
(Bucks, UK)

Hi, I've had pain in my right foot for the last 5 weeks. It started spontaneously with no trip, fall or known injury. The pain varies in intensity; going from a dull nagging (ie: like toothache) when resting with feet up to intense, sharp and almost unbearable when standing or walking.

The pain almost disappears when I wear high heels - the higher the better, but its almost unbearable when I go bear foot or wear very flat shoes. My work shoes are flat with a strap across the middle top of foot, this strap really hurts/irritates and leaves a mark when the shoes are removed.

The pain runs from the big toe lengthways down my foot towards the ankle and around the outside of the ankle and up the back of the calf, with aching around the front of the ankle.

It doesnt hurt when I point my toes, even with resistance when pulling them back. However, its very painful when I flex the toes and then point them downwards. This movement also causes pain around the arch.

I can also make pain more intense by squeezing the foot from side to side nearish to the toes.

I've no redness or pain when touching the area and hardly any swelling, just a bit puffy. Had an x-ray but no breaks found.

Please help as I'm really fed up :(



Joshua Answers:

Hi Kara. That doesn't sound fun at all.

I don't have my anatomy book on me at the moment, but right off the bat it sounds like Flexor Hallucis Longus is involved (curls the big toe down, stabilizes when walking and such), Tibialis Posterior, and something I can't thing of that could directly explain the pain around the outside of the ankle (could be referred pain, could be muscles/structures on that side).

I bet you most of the source of your pain is from the muscles in the back of the lower leg that send long tendons down to connect to the bones of the foot.

Nothing's broken, that's good.

Could be Gout, though it doesn't sound quite right.

What you said about 'pain goes away when wearing high heels' REALLY points to lower leg muscles being the problem.

I wrinkle my brow a bit when you say 'It doesn't hurt to the touch.' That's interesting.

1. So, if you poke around into the muscles and such of your feet, it doesn't hurt?

2. If you poke around into the muscle and tissue of your calves and deeper muscles, does that hurt?

3. How much do you wear high heels, historically?

So as you answer those questions, start Ice Dipping like crazy.

5 gallon bucket. Ice and/or frozen water bottles, get your foot in as high up the leg as possible. 10-20 second dips, as many as you can do in a day, for AT LEAST 4 days. If that works or doesn't will give us good clues.

Start Ice Dipping, answer the above questions, and we'll go from there.

Joshua Tucker, B.A., C.M.T.
The Tendonitis Expert

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Dec 29, 2009
PART 2 - Answers - Suspected Foot Tendonitis - 5 weeks of pain & doctor no help!
by: Kara

Hi Joshua,

Thank you so much for your help, I've done some reading up and as you say the Flexor one sounds like it.

1. Proding the muscles, even quite hard, doesnt produce any pain - only squeezing does. If I squeeze the fleshy bit between my big and second toe (thumb on top and other fingers under foot) this produces a very small about of discomfort but nothing bad.

2. Proding the muscles in my calf feels like discomfort/tightness rather than pain. I agree that the outside ankle pain is probably referred, I find that Im leaning my foot on to that side when standing as my foot hurts so much.

3. I dont wear high heels very much, I work as a Beauty Therapist so my "day" shoes are mostly flat & during the summer I wear flip-flops all the time. Im wearing boots at the minute which have "low" high heels (approx 2/3"). I actually possess nothing higher than 3" and I havent worn "high" heels for the last 15 years.

I'll start ice-dripping and get back to you.



Joshua Comments:

Hi Kara.

Yes. Ice Dip as much as you can for the next 4-7 days, and let me know what happens with that. make sure to get the cold water as high up the lower leg as possible.

That's a little surprising that pressing into the muscles doesn't hurt. But squeezing the foot does...

Is it the bones/joints that hurt when you squeeze? Or muscle/soft tissue?

Mar 27, 2012
Foot pain when walking flat
by: Anonymous

I'm having a similar issues, I run and rock climb a lot and suddenly the past few days, I've noticed when I am flat footed, it hurts to walk and pick up my right foot. However, when I wear high heels or walk on my toes it doesn't hurt.

What's wrong with me?

I need to continue running as I'm training for an ultra marathon.


Joshua Comments:

Do you wear high heels often?

My first thought is that your structures of your lower leg are too tight and too short.

Shortening the structures takes pain away, right?

Then when you go flat footed, the too tight structures are pulled apart and fire off danger signal.

Plantar fasciitis isn't a foot problem, it's a back of the lower leg problem.

May 01, 2013
Intense Foot Pain in 75 year old
by: Anonymous

This is my husbands pain, it is after three foot specialists, MRI's, and still unknown what is causing the pain! He describes it as a throbbing toothache!! It hurts from the time he gets up until he goes to bed! It does not hurt when he lies down but hurts in the recliner! It came on suddenly, one day he was walking with a normal gait, was wearing cowboy boots. In two days he was hobbling, with a cane and wearing large tennis shoes! It is mind boggling! He is 75 years old and has COPD! We are almost to the pointy of hinking it has to do with lower back! Had a friend with similar complaints and after back surgery, it pain went away!! Any ideas!?


Joshua Comments:

Are there any other symptoms that might point to a blood clot?

When in a recliner, does it hurt because of pressure on the calves? If you squeeze the calves , can you replicate the pain?

Certainly could be a back issue, but they usually don't pop up overnight unless there's a movement/accident that kicks it in.

Jul 04, 2013
Same problems
by: Danielle

Hello Joshua,
I am having the same problem tho mine is only in my right foot not my calf, I seem to have pain all over my foot but not when I flex my toes, I often ask my partner for a massage but in the last week it's been so bad I can't take the pain.

I am 25 weeks pregnant and I do not wear high heels.

Can you help?


Joshua Comments:

Hi Danielle.

1. Get your Vitamin D level checked, then get your level to between 50-80ng/ml with Vit D3 (not prescription Vit D2) ASAP.

2. You can't take what pain? From massage?

Describe the pain (location, duration, behavior, flavor, who what how where when etc).

Oct 18, 2014
foot pain gone after a filling at the dentist
by: Anonymous

hello ive had foot pain for the last 6months.

I went to the dentist on friday to have a deep filling when as soon as i came out of the dentist i realised that i had no pain in my feet and its now Saturday night and still no pain its gone.


Joshua Comments:


Stranger things have happened. Take your wins where you find them!

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