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My Mom's Aching Feet
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My Mom's Aching Feet

Can someone please help my Mom's feet? She has been to so many doctors including pediatrists and neurologists as well as homopathic doctors and no one can help. I'm hoping someone will read this and recognize her problem.
My mom is 66 years old and has always been on her feet. She's a go getter. About three years ago, her feet really began to bother her, mostly on the bottom of her heels. Her feet are fine when she is off of them but she is in constant agony when standing on them. We believe the "fat pad" on the bottom of her heel has just worn out but do not know that this is what is causing her pain. She has had x-rays and been to many doctors in this area (the state of VA) as well as shoe shops and orthapedic shoe stores, tried every shoe and orthapedic shoe they make and no one can seem to pin-point the problem or offer her any relief.
Now it is taking a toll on her back as well which we think is from her trying to stand in a position on her feet to cause her less pain on her heels. I've heard one diagnosis after another but no one has any real suggestions to cure her or really even help her. She no longer has what we call a quality life because she can not stand on her feet with out torture.
Can anybody help me out on where to send her for help or any remediesor hopefully cures? I would be very grateful for any help at all.
Sincerely,
Tim
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Thank you for visiting the family practice forum.

People who stand on their feet alot are prone to different problems with foot pain. There are two conditions which immediately come to mind. 1) Heel spurs and 2) Plantar Fascitis.
Both of these conditions will cause heel pain.
Heel pain is common. It can be caused from several conditions such as:
* wearing hard shoes or cleats
* having tendonitis of the Achilles tendon and
* wearing shoes that rub against the back of the heel
The heel is padded with a shock-absorbing cushion of skin. This cushion thins with age or overuse. When this happens, standing or walking can be painful. Too much exercise or exercise without proper stretching can cause inflammation of the Achilles tendon (the tendon that attaches the calf muscle to the heel bone). This can result in heel or calf pain. Heel spurs and inflammation or "tendinitis" of the tendons on the bottom of the foot will commonly cause heel pain (Plantar Fascitis). A heel spur is an overgrowth of the bone of the heel which causes inflammation and pain to the surrounding area of the heel. These are more common in overweight individuals.
Other causes include
* poorly fitting shoes
* doing too much standing or walking (especially on hard surfaces) or
* not preparing for exercise by stretching and gradually building up activity over time
To help heel pain, TRY ANY OF THESE SUGGESTIONS:
* place a special "donut" pad over the hole of the sore area when the pain is located on the bottom of the heel (if a sore is present)
* apply ice to the sore area initially and then alternate this with moist heat
* limit standing or walking until the pain goes away
*do exercises to stretch the heel (flexing the ankle forward and holding for a count to 10 .. 3 sets of 10 3 times a day)
* take an anti-inflammatory medication, like aspirin or ibuprofen (These medications should not be taken without approval from your healthcare provider, especially if the person has an ulcer, kidney problems, an allergy to aspirin, or is on a blood-thinning medication.)
WAYS TO PREVENT HEEL PAIN INCLUDE:
* wearing good, supportive footwear which does not rub against any part of the foot or heel
* staying in shape
* stretching the backs of your legs before any activity and repeat stretches throughout the day if you continue to stand or walk

If all the above have been looked into and treatments as outlined above have not yeilded good results. Your best bet may be to have your mother see a podiatrist (or get a second podiatry opinion) and possibly have her fit with orthotics (shoe inserts) which not only relieve pressure on the heel, they will also help to reduce the back pain that she is experiencing.

I hope this is helpful!

Dean M. Tomasello, M.D.

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Dear Dr. Tomasello,
Thanks so much for responding to my comment. Believe me, she has been diagnosed with every condition you mentioned. She has tried every remedy or therapy you mentioned and more. I was just really hoping that maybe there were something else that was missed by all her doctors. Apparantly, there is little that can be done to treat her condition. I shall advise her to seek another opinion as you advised by another podiatist (which I carelessly misspelled in my first posting, forgive me).
If there is anything else at all that this condition could be that you can think of, please post another comment as we feel we are running out of options.
Thanks again for your response.
Tim
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