What might my mom's unexplained but severe foot pain be?

9 answers | Last updated: Oct 09, 2016
Bev1120 asked...

My mom's right foot started swelling 3 weeks ago...she says the pain is almost unbearable. We took her to hospital, and at first they thought it was broken, but the x-rays said it wasn't. The hospital said it was neuropathy. Last week I took her to a foot specialist, but he said he did not think it was what the hospital thought. They wrapped it thinking it would make swelling go down, but the pain was so bad we took it off 2 hours after it was on her foot. It hurts to even touch it, but now it is starting the same thing in her other foot. What do you think is wrong? What doctor can I take her to that will help her? Please help; I hate seeing her in so much pain.


Expert Answers

Jane Andersen, DPM, is a board-certified podiatrist in private practice in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. She provides surgical and nonsurgical foot and ankle care to all types of patients, including the geriatric population in her area. With the American Podiatric Medical Association, she has worked to educate the public on foot and ankle health.

There are so many different things that could be causing pain and swelling in your mom's foot. Sometimes, unfortunately, the true diagnosis isn't always obvious to even the best of doctors right away.
If I were seeing your mom, there are several steps I might consider taking. Sometimes fractures, especially stress fractures, are not obvious on the first or even subsequent x-rays. I would consider repeating the x-ray or consider other types of imaging if needed. I would consider blood work to rule out infection or any other systemic cause (like arthritis). A thorough follow up history and physical exam is important to see if anything has changed. Here are some questions that may be considered: "¢ Has the redness or swelling worsened? "¢ Are there any wounds? "¢ Does the swelling decrease with elevation?
"¢ Are there varicose veins present that could cause skin inflammation? "¢ Has there been any fever?
"¢ What kind of pain is it?
"¢ What makes it worse/better?
"¢ Is there a rash? The possibility of a blood clot in the leg may need to be considered as well. This can be screened for with a simple ultrasound after a physical exam.
I would recommend seeing a podiatrist in this case. Be prepared: you and your mom should be ready to answer all of the questions listed above and more. A follow up appointment with the prior doctor may be helpful for the sake of comparison. If he/she cannot help you, ask for to be referred to someone that can, or for further testing. Good luck. Remember that feedback, whether it be negative or positive, is critical in helping your doctor figure out the best treatment for your mom.


Community Answers

Bev1120 answered...

Why is no one answering my question? Am I suppose to be a group or something for someone to answer me? If everyone don't know..just please say so..please just don't ignore me...I am at my wits end...please please someone help me ...help my mom...

caring daughter


Laural answered...

Hi Bev,

Your question has been assigned to one of our experts for a possible answer as of this evening.

Thanks!


Webbermajors answered...

Swollen feet since JUNE 24TH, WENT TO ER ON jUNE 29TH, NO DVT,BLOOD WORK OF CARDIO ENZYME' NORMAL, EKG NORMAL, NO TYPE OF FRACTURE DID E-RAY. I BELIEVE IT IS A DEFICIENY OF SOMETHING, OR UNDERLYING PROBLEM LIKE THYROID OR LYMPHEDEMA.


Deke rivers answered...

Do not waste your time at a podiatrist. They are not real doctors and are nothing but custom orthotic salesmen.


Tresses63 answered...

i just now saw your plea and your mother's plight and i am sooo sorry for i know how horribly the feet can hurt. i suffered for 8 years and no one could figure it out. it took the 5th podiatrist to find it....


Tresses63 answered...

What he found was a combination of problems: 1. plantar fascitis 2. trapped nerve 3. tons of inflammation 4. neuritis 5. a neuro cluster of some sort between 2 of my toes 6. stress fractures and 7. a ganglion mass from too many twisted ankles in my past. i feel sorry for both of you and i know the torment. injections higher up the ankle of cortizone and between the affected toe and ice packs inside a sock then placed on the affected areas are a good indication of inflammation. if the cold hurts instead, then you are probably looking at a vitamin deficiency, or underlying illness or stress fracture. Has anyone mentioned Gout to you? health food store that deals with a wide variety of things. Ask the person there..if buffy know nothing is behind the counter then find another health food store in the know. i have also turned to health suppliments and an excellent podiatrist and i have avoided the surgeon's knife but above all else The awesome power of The Lord and His grace and goodness and forgiveness and healing because He loves us.


A fellow caregiver answered...

Believe it or not similar thing happened to my young niece. A few weeks later she had an op for nearly burst appendix, even though their were no tummy pains or nausea till the morning of the appendix op. In reflexology the appendix point is in the foot. It was an early warning sign of inflamed appendix


Goldenstar answered...

The top of my right foot swelled up during the night last October; very painful and sudden. My doctor did not have the faintest idea what the cause was, suggested a sprained ankle or gout as the foot was quite hot. I unfortunately had to drive a total of 36 hours to visit my son who had just been operated upon for a torn aorta so was unable to seek further medical help. On my return 2 weeks later I still had a swollen and painful foot and developed severe cheat pains. My doctor made the usual incorrect diagnosis on 3 occasions but eventually sent me to the hospital where, after a CT scan found that I had blood clots on both my lungs. It appears that the clots may have formed in my foot initially then broken lose to finally end up in the lungs. A week in hospital fighting for every breath is no fun!