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burning itching painful numbness in feet
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burning itching painful numbness in feet

three years ago whilst holidaying at beach resort nth of sydney I walked along beach. it was hot day, and had been sunbaking. recall wading in rockpool collecting seashells etc. noticed stormwater pipe in vicinity. I did this excersice twice during week. noticed itching and swelling in feet before leaving for home,but was not till driving the 2 hr distance to home, that the feet became unbearably itchy and painful. it was on a sunday, so decided to see dr next day. had bad night soaking feet in cold water most of time to relieve itch. could not see family gp for 2 days. should have gone to local hosp. he was of opinion it was usual infection going around, and presc. antihystamine and cort cream. that night husband and I noticed rouround ringworm pattern on instep of fresh blood. certain it was a parasite burrowing out, as the dark purple spot at same place can still be seen. also one on other instep, both about inch or 2 below toes. red and white blotches and itch eased after after couple of days, but feet swell terribly mostly in hot weather, and soles so painful seems like walking on bed of nails at times. can only wear casual shoes, sandshoes, sandals, but pref bare feet. I am 74, but young at heart and very active. this complaint has ruined my future plans for social outings, travel etc. when tired, mostly night time, feet go purplish, and big toes are numb. it is as if peripheral blood vessels are cut off and circulation cuts off. so anxious re future problems if condition gets worse. local gp does not seem to take me seriously. intend getting second opinion next week, but interested in your reply. please help.originally looked up parasites found in polluted waters. long technical name, but I have it listed somewhere, but gp stated that we dont have that parasite in aust. only asian countries with dirty rivers.but this condition is rampant in area at these beaches nth of sydney.the lake systems are mostly on septic tanks, and they flow out to sea and beaches after rain. which it had been previous to holiday.  would appreciate your help SO MUCH...
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Avatar_n_tn
Dear Patsie,

Thank you for visiting the family practice forum.

It is possible that you were either exposed to a parasite or fungus of some time on your vacation. The illness, I suspect you are referring to is known as "Bilharzia" caused by a parasite known as a Schistosome.

It is also possible that you have developed a chronic fungal infection of the foot following this illness. You mention you are having pain, burning and numbness in your feet. These symptoms make me wonder if somehow your circulation to your feet and toes has been compromised in some way. Has the doctor examined the pulses in your feet? If they are diminished or absent, having a "doppler" study of the arteries in your feet would be prudent. If there is a problem with circulation, there are medications (i.e. Pletal) which may prove benficial.

I should mention there are 2 medications used to treat Pain in the extremities. These are 1. Amitryptaline and 2. Neurontin
I have had very good success through the use of these medications for treatment of chronic foot pain.

One more possibility to consider here is the possibility that you may have developed a condition known as "Raynauds Disease"
The condition known as Raynaud's Phenomenon (Disease) results in periods of decreased circulation to the small vessels of the hands and feet. Most commonly this will occur in the hands following exposure to cold. The fingertips will become cold, white and commonly will be quite painful. This is not a "serious" condition per se, however it can be quite uncomfortable. To treat this condition, medications such as Nifedipine have been shown to be quite useful. This is a medication which works to dilate the blood vessels. Note: this medication is commonly used to treat hypertension so it does have the potential to make your blood pressure drop. Therefore, it is best prescribed in lower doses initially and slowly increased over a period of weeks until the symptoms of Raynaud's phenomenon resolve.

To summarize:
1. It is possible you were exposed to a parasite or fungus.
2. You need to have the circulation in your feet checked
3. If the circulation is OK, consider asking your doctor about Neurontin or Amitryptline.
4. If the circulation is NOT ok, consider treatment with a medication such as Pletal
5. IF your symptoms match what I describe above regarding Raynauds Disease, consider asking your doctor about possible treatment with Nifedipine.

Let me know if I can be of further assistance.
Dean M. Tomasello, M.D.

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Avatar_n_tn
so grateful for your quick reply. sought second opinion. have been referred to vascular specialist, appointment 27 2 02. local dr. did already prescribe neurontin 300mg aprox 4 wks ago (300mg) thought it was helping, so stopped taking celebrex. but now pain still bad at night after dinner. mainly big toes. soaking in cold water still helps. hopefully specialist will help.will advise you of any improvement.
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Avatar_n_tn
have had second opinion, and he also advised that this particular parasite/fungus known as bilharzia (parasite "schistosome") is not found in australia. I will be making further enquiries as it may be known by other name. I have been taking one neurontin at night, and one celebrix.(the local gp put me on celebrix 3 years ago). The pain varies, but mostly at night when tired and not walking about. at times it feels like the pain is also coming from the bones of the toes, and the only relief comes from soaking feet in cold water  and massaging with arthritis cream. During daytime activity only experience slight discomfort. mostly tingling, but no more itching since that first attack three years ago. Hopefully the vascular specialist who I will be seeing on 27th February will help to solve this "mystery" bug, and advise me if I wil have to put op with this terrible pain and discomfort for the rest of my life. Incidently, my kidney function is good, so gout is not a reason.  Since my heart by-pass 7 years ago, my general circulation, blood pressure is quite good.
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Avatar_n_tn
at long last I saw one of the top vascular specialists in sydney. after thorough examination of both legs, he commented my arterial flow was quite good, but the venous study showed "venous imcompetence". next thursday I am to have ultrasound (catscan) which should show exactly to what degree the peripherial nerves and capiliary damage has been done. In mean time dr prescribed paroven forte 500mg  1 twice day. reduced swelling in feet, but pain in toes and ball of foot just as bad, until I purchased medical compression knee high stockings. (class 1)wonderful relief immediately. must put them on first thing in morning, and remove last thing at night. If only I had been advised to wear these 3 years ago I feel certain this problem would have been seen to. It probably would have saved me all this surffering. Hopefully, with further treatment, my precious feet might get back to normal, and I might be able to discard the stockings.  anyway, one step at a time. to think that all this was caused by picking up a silly bug whilst wading in beach pool three and half years ago. I have learned my lesson. always go to the top man with weird painful symptons that wont go away. I was so foolish....
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Avatar_n_tn
after having final ultrasound of the two legs 4 days ago, the specialist confirmed my arterial circulation was excellent. advised to keep on wearing the compression stockings for time being as they gave so much relief. (knee highs) most inconvenient in hot weather, but worth it to get relief. still taking the tablets as they are specially for venous blood flow, but only 1 a day due to slight side effects. also after purchasing pair of Kumfs shoes, noticed improvement. but even though things have improved so much since first contacting you, it is disappointing to feel the pain again mainly in big toes after removing stockings at night, mainly after a tiring day. tried wearing simple footsocks, like the ones supplied by airways, and to my surprise gave considerable relief. evidently just the slightest compression around the toes gives some relief at least. so all in all, I am happy and still hopeful that things can only get better.  thank you for your interest and advice.   ps have been reading up re capillary problems in toes on internet, and found that there is new treatment available for this problem. if things get worse, can you advise me on this subject?
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