Metatarsalgia (foot pain) when riding? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 12-02-2010, 10:31 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: NE Ohio
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Metatarsalgia (foot pain) when riding?

I've had problems with pain on the ball of my left foot, called metatarsalgia, for the past 1 1/2 years. I've had to quit wearing even slightly high heels and find that even with the best shoes my feet hurt at the end of my work day. I can't exercise anymore because it exacerbates it (I used to run and lift weights). I've had it injected with steroids - didn't help at all. Taking Aleve or Advil helps, but I don't want to live on them.

Since riding is another thing that makes it worse, I was wondering if anyone else has had this problem. By the end of a trail ride my left foot is killing me, since the pain is right where my foot contacts my stirrup. Plus, walking in my riding boots during breaks makes it worse, since the heel throws my weight onto the ball of my foot.

If anyone has had this problem, what made it go away? I've seen a podiatrist and I've had X-rays, which were normal. All of the treatments (meds, flat shoes, steroid shots, etc.) help me not exacerbate it, but nothing seems to really fix it. I don't feel like it is any better than it was 1 1/2 years ago when it started.

Feel free to throw any advice my way......

I was normal...then I got a horse.
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post #2 of 6 Old 12-02-2010, 10:55 PM
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First off, is there anything that you can recall happening around the time that it first flared up?
I mean, anything...from something physical, like fall off, to some kind of emotional upheaval?
This is going to sound really *really* weird, I know. But I promise I'm not completely insane (just a little bit).

A friend of mine's mom had something similar happen to her about three years ago now. She'd been having the most unbelievable pain in her right hand. It had started just after she'd had one of her dogs put to sleep - he'd been hit by a car and they vet said that there was too much internal damage to fix. At first putting it down to overuse (because it's her writing hand). She went to doctors, had xrays, was on medication etc etc...but the pain never really abated. It got so bad that she actually taught herself to write with her left hand, because it hurt too much to use the right. Doctors put it down to arthritis (even though there was no physical evidence to support it) due to her age (at the time she was just 50).

Anyways....long story short, my friend's mom (her name's Brenda) decided she needed some other kind of help, and went to a psychic (here's the insane part! - giving fair warning). This psychic put Brenda under hypnosis and it turns out that about five centuries ago, Brenda had lost that hand to gangrene after cutting it with a knife. She'd died from the amputation.

Yes, I know it's completely and utterly bizarre and I don't blame you for writing it off as some psycho-rubbish, but just thought I'd mention it, since I'm a full believer of reincarnation and that events in past lives affect us in our current life.
And just reading what you're saying, about how nothing else has really helped, I just thought I'd throw that into the pot as something to consider.

I might add, that Brenda hasn't had a days worth of trouble from that hand since, and she hasn't changed anything in her lifestyle to affect that.

I just remember her saying to me and my friend how sometimes, stuff happens that can trigger past life 'memories' even though we don't remember them, or know the cause.

The other alternative would be looking into your family history. Has anyone in your family - immediate or extended, ever suffered from this?

Sorry...just rambly thoughts.

It is not 'cool' to ride without a helmet! period.
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post #3 of 6 Old 12-03-2010, 06:34 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: NE Ohio
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Thanks for the suggestions, but I don't believe in reincarnation. I think it was more likely caused by wearing shoes with medium high heels to work for years and some injuries that occurred last fall.

BTW - I love the quote in your avatar.

I was normal...then I got a horse.
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post #4 of 6 Old 12-05-2010, 08:53 PM
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Vermont
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Going back to Shimla's post, there may be some credibility behind the traumatic event part. When I go through bouts of minor depression related to stress, my left butt cheek gets INCREDIBLY sore. I know, its crazy. But it often won't go away for weeks if the stress is bad. Turns out the cause is simply that I sit with my heel jabbing my left butt cheek if I'm really stressed out while working. Weird stuff.
They make "comfort" english stirrups if you ride english, though I HAVE seen people using stirrup irons on a western saddle before. Just funny looking. I would look to see if you can borrow or try out a pair of some (they're not cheap) to see if it helps any.

"The wise man thinks he knows nothing.
The fool thinks he knows everything."

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post #5 of 6 Old 12-05-2010, 09:09 PM
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I have pain in my heel that is KILLER - it is better than it used to be though. I used to be literally crippled on waking in the morning. The tendon that runs from the ball of the foot back to the heel and to the hamstring gets inflamed - plantar ficiitis - is PAINFUL.

It is not near as bad as it was years ago - I started wearing shoes with major arch support - I work shoe inserts by an ortho place - and gradually it got better. It is still painful but not like before. Wear serious arch support - not matter what. I have a tendency to go barefoot at home and sometimes that is NOT good. Get a heavy duty shoe insert for the ball of your foot to cushion it.

So sorry your are having this painful condition. :( I feel your pain.

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post #6 of 6 Old 12-06-2010, 02:00 AM
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I Had Plantar faciatus too, and it took two years to heal. It is still with me, but manageable. I now am able to walk barefoot for small amounts of time and take the opportunity to strengthen the muscles in the bottom of my feet.

Here's what helped me; custom orthotics! 350$ but its your feet!
I wore Hafflinger slippers around the house for support, and used anti inflammatory drugs. Icing after walking and wearing a night splint.

As for the poor lady with ball of the foot pain, that's a different issue, I think.
You may have almost no natural padding under the bones of your feet.
There are ways of injecting your own fat into the pads under your metatarsal bones. you might ask your doctor about it.

OR, if the issue is more with the tendons and ligaments, ask your doctor about the newesst therapy called "Prolotherapy" where saline solution, or your own plasma, is injected all around the area (like 10 different shots) and the irritation this causes the tisssue actually stimulates the healing process.

Consider getting some stirrup pads by Cashel and try very hard not to brace into your stirrups (for your feet sake and to improve your riding)
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