Strained foot: what do I do now?

You’re not my doctor, blah blah…

A bit more than two months back, thanks to my #@#% neighbors who couldn’t be arsed to shovel their sidewalks for most of the winter, which meant that if I wanted to go farther than half a block from home I was skating and my feet would slide around sideways at odd angles, I injured the muscles across the top of my left foot. For placement, these muscles would hurt when I pointed my foot, and would hurt more if I pointed my foot and flexed my toes (like in walking on tip-toes, only at a more extreme angle).

Way back then, I thought it was a fairly typical over-use kind of soreness, so I stopped running for 5 days, and afterward ran carefully with my foot and ankle in a bandage to keep my foot/ankle from moving around too much, and iced daily. This seemed to work fine, and I was steadily improving, until 6 weeks ago. I went for a run, foot wrapped, which felt fine until two hours later when I couldn’t move my foot again.

So, at that point, I stopped exercising completely for two and a half weeks (which made me miserable because exercise is the only thing that controls the pain in my shoulder), kept it wrapped, and iced it every day. In that time, it healed progressively in stages: it would stay pretty much the same for most of a week, then overnight would suddenly hurt a lot less, repeat about two times. The last time, at the end of two and a half weeks, I woke up and it was almost, but not quite, painless.

The problem is, it’s stayed exactly like this for the last three weeks. In the morning it barely hurts or doesn’t hurt at all. By evening, it’s slightly sore again, since I can’t avoid walking completely. I have been biking for shorter periods of time, rather than running, which I don’t even do every day. I am, obviously, reluctant to just start running again (although I really want to), because I don’t want to re-injure it and start all over from the beginning again.

Yes, I understand that muscle/tendon strains take a long time to heal, but most figures I’ve seen say complete healing in four to six weeks.

So, what now? I’m still icing daily, sometimes twice a day. It was nice yesterday, and I’ve been shorting myself on exercise because of this, so I went for a longer bike ride, which made it a bit more sore than usual. Is it time to see a doctor? Can a doctor do anything except tell me to do what I’m already doing? Do I need to stop exercising completely until it completely heals? I still can’t avoid walking entirely – I have to leave the house on occasion.

And if anyone can come up with a form of aerobic exercise that doesn’t involve the use of my foot, let me know. I’ve tried doing calisthenics, but it’s just not enough to deal with my shoulder or keep me from gaining weight. For the record, I had over-use injuries in my ankles last summer (the soft tissue on either side of the Achilles tendon), which healed fine just by switching to biking for a month, so I’m pretty weirded out that I’m still having problems.

I don’t have much to help you except support - I hurt my foot in an unknown way a couple of summers ago, and it took forever to heal up (probably because you can’t just stop using your feet) - probably about three months. I’m no slow healer, either. Hang in there, baby! :slight_smile:

After all you have been through, I would expect that there is nothing seriously wrong. It takes so little to cause a big pain. After a while you just have to get back in the game. I have had several metatarsal bone fractures and that is right where your pain is. But you have allowed enough time for a stress fracture to mend there. I have caused myself pain there by taping for plantar fasciitis over that area. I don’t think taping offers you an advantage.

PS. The worst thing going is to take seven weeks off and come back only to find you have the same injury/pain you started with. This has happened to me. My motto now is to make the body force me to quit and I work from there.

Tried that, re-injured myself. I want to heal as quickly as possible, not drag this out for another six months or however long. I do NOT want to start over from the beginning again.

Bump. Anyone?

Is there any reason not to go to a doctor? Yeah, he/she might tell you to keep doing what you’re doing, but maybe not. It may be that you need to stay off of that foot for a while and use crutches.

Can you swim or do water aerobics?

I’m trying to avoid spending money unnecessarily, as I don’t have all that much to spend. I’ll do it if I have to, but I’d hate to spend the money just to be told to do what I’m already doing.

I checked into swimming at the nearby pool and their schedule conflicts with mine, unfortunately. I suspect that kicking would still use the muscles across the top of my foot, anyway. Anyone have a handbike I can borrow? :stuck_out_tongue:

I sprained my ankle last year. Took over 6 months to fully heal, and now, a year later, I still don’t have 100% range of motion - PT says I likely never will.

Go to the doc, at least to make sure its not broken.

When I broke a little bone in my foot (again, not really knowing when it happened), I did get it x-rayed and casted and all that, and they told me that the foot bones are actually quite stable. If you can walk on it, I doubt that it’s broken (I couldn’t put any weight on my broken bone). Instead of running, how about brisk walking, maybe with a cane to take some of the pressure off that foot?

Several months ago I too injured my foot/ankle. Based on what I know of the anatomy of that area, I felt that it was a peroneal tendon strain (I used to teach anatomy) However, my attempts at rest, bandages, and such did nothing to ease the pain.

Finally I went to a physician who specializes in injuries to this area. He examined me and agreed that it was a peroneal tendon injury. He gave me a sample of Voltaren Gel, and a prescription to use if the sample proved effective. After just a few days, the pain was much less, and I have recovered my mobility.

I’m not a physician, and am not suggesting that my case is like yours, but my injuries were treated effectively after seeing a physician. Suggest you do the same.

I have recently rediscovered an old remedy and am finding it works wonders on my injuries.

Soak in a warm bath of epsom salts. Last week I pulled my knee and had it feeling better within days. For a foot injury, no doubt you can just put it in a bucket or basin.

Good luck.

Why would you not see a doctor when this is interfering with your ability to exercise? It might be a strain, or it MIGHT be a hairline metatarsal fracture that requires casting or a walking boot for 2 months+. You should rule that out and since neither of us is a doctor, you know where to go.

Yes, it’s possible to function without using your foot. Armpits, meet crutches. It might require that amount of intervention; what you’ve done thus far obviously hasn’t worked.