Fibromyalgia is a painful condition that can affect all parts of your body, including your feet, ankles, and toes. Although this area of your body is not the most common place you will experience fibromyalgia pain, a paper published in the journal Arthritis Research and Therapy says that half of the 202 patients they studied had foot problems.
"Compensation for foot pain leads to pain in the knees, hips, and lower back," says Dennis Frisch, DPM, in practice in Boca Raton, Florida. Having foot pain is just one more thing you don't need when you have fibromyalgia. As well, foot pain increases your likelihood of falling, having an injury, and being less active.
Patients with fibromyalgia tend to have a greater awareness of pains throughout their bodies than those who do not have the condition. "In general, because people with fibromyalgia have higher sensitivity to pain and lower pain tolerance, they are more sensitive to pain everywhere," says Dr. Frisch.
No foot pain is directly related to fibromyalgia, but the pains associated with them can be increased because of the condition. A Morton's neuroma, an enlargement of the nerve between the third and fourth toes that causes shooting pain, can be exasperated by fibromyalgia. Plantar fasciitis, the inflammation of the plantar fascia, the large ligament that runs from your big toe to your heel bone, is an another example.
It can be very easy with fibromyalgia to stop physical activity. You likely feel fatigued, and even when you start to exercise, you feel discomfort in your feet and blame it on your fibromyalgia. Many stop exercising all together, and "usually, for fibromyalgia, the recommendation is walking," Dr. Frisch adds.
To avoid unnecessary foot pain and get moving again, here are some tips you can try:
- See your doctor. If you experience any pain in your feet, see your podiatrist. Before you start any exercise regimen, see your fibromyalgia doctor and speak with them about it.
- Choose the right shoes. "Make sure you have the right shoe for whatever activity you are going to do," says Dr. Frisch. If possible, pay a little more for a quality shoe that will help support your feet and keep you pain free. You should look for shoes that have a wide toe box, a supportive arch, and a sole that provides stability and flexibility.
- Start slowly. We know it's easy when you're motivated to start exercising to go in whole hog. But you're more likely to sustain an injury when you start too quickly. And remember: fibromyalgia can be an unpredictable condition. Think moderation.
- Know you will have some discomfort. When you begin exercising, it's likely you will experience some discomfort. This is normal. However, if the pain persists, seek medical attention.
- Wear lower heels for everyday use. We know it's difficult to give up your beloved heels. But bringing your heel height down to an inch will significantly decrease your fibromyalgia symptoms. If you absolutely have to wear high heels, pack them for times when you are sitting or not standing for long periods of time.
Reference: Everyday Health.
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