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Old 08-17-2013, 05:47 AM   #1
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Intermittent Stabbing Ankle Pain, Etc. Please help!

I am a 37 year old female. I have been getting an intermittent stabbing pain in both of my ankles, mainly the right one, for about 7 years. The pain occurs when I am wearing shoes that don't have great support. It sometimes occurs when I am wearing flip flops with thick soles and hard bottoms and it always occurs if I wear high heeled shoes, even small 1-2 inch heels. I have noticed that it is the worst when I take very small steps or walk very slowly in crowds.

I have been researching this problem for years and can't find a reasonable answer as to what causes it or how to make it go away. I weigh about 20 lbs more than I should and I wore a lot of high heels in my 20s (I was not overweight at all when I wore the heels).

To make matters worse, I overexerted myself 2 years ago when moving into my new house which caused my feet to be in a lot of pain if I stood on them and both my ankles and feet swelled up. I stayed off of them for a few days and the swelling went down. I was like oh no, I better lose some weight (thank you Corp America/stressful job that kept me working 55 hours per week) so I quit my job and started exercising daily (running/hiking/biking/walking). I lost the excess weight but also developed a nasty case of plantar fasciitis. Eventually, I also developed a pain in my calf that eventually ended up making my foot feel like it was numb. It wasn't numb though, just very tingly, tight and nasty feeling in general. Recently it feels like I have restless foot syndrome or something.

I have been to 2 podiatrists to address these problems. One told me to stretch, stretch and stretch some more and the other told me no stretching at all, stay off my feet for 3 months and massage and ice the foot and calf regularly. The second doctor said all of my issues would resolve if I followed his plan.

I tried both approaches and still have issues. I also ditched the heels and threw away all my flip flops. I have been wearing Keen (super supporting) shoes only for months now. I wear them both inside and outside so my feet are always getting support. The no stretch plan relieved the plantar fasciitis but the nasty feelings/pains in my right calf that are tendon related come and go. I also have very reduced stabbing pain (like once a month vs. once every few hours). I was feeling good so I tried wearing high heals 2 days ago (I miss them so much) and the stabbing was back like it never left. Essentially, the problem has not been solved.

I am a total loss of what to do. I can't exercise (3 months off the feet per doctor) and am gaining back some weight that I lost which ultimately exacerbates the problem. I can't wear heals or flip flops and I can't walk barefoot on my hardwood floors.

Does anyone out there have any suggestions on how to fix my issues? I want to know what is causing the stabbing pains (inside of ankle, sharp, acute, only last a second or 2) and how to get rid of them.

I want to know what is making my right calf/tendon feel so horrible and develop a reasonable plan to fix it (staying off my feet for 3 months and massaging/icing 5 times per day isn't practical since I had to get another job).

If anyone out there can help me, I would be forever in your debt. Thank you!

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Old 08-17-2013, 09:47 AM   #2
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Re: Intermittent Stabbing Ankle Pain, Etc. Please help!

I think I would see an orthopedic surgeon (OS) that specializes in foot and ankle work. I didn't have the same type of issue as you are having but when I went, the first thing he did was order a ton of weight bearing x-rays - which were very telling in my case! Have you have any weight bearing x-rays or MRIs?

My hubby was actually the one that suggested I go to the OS; I thought that was a little overkill - after all, I just had flat feet, right? It turned out to be the right move for me. For years I had on-again, off-again issues with my left foot and I always thought I had a "weak ankle". I had been to 3 different podiatrists over the course of 15 years (1 visit with each) and was always just told - you just have flat feet and ordered orthodics. They never explained why my foot would sometime have this shooting pain or lock up on me. You need to know why your feet are acting the way they are - someone that is going to get to the real root of the issue.

I thought for certain the OS was going to take one look at me and say - you have flat feet and feel I was wasting his time but it wasn't like that at all. In my case - by the time I went to the OS, he said my supporting ligaments were shot and my posterior tibial tendon was starting to go as well. This was due to being flat-footed my entire life and my bones starting to shift out of alignment putting too much stress on the tendon.

I am not certain where you live but I live in Maryland. I had my surgery at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore. (not saying you'll need surgery - mind you! - but they have a foot and ankle institute with some great OS that specialize in nothing but the foot and ankle). I also had a second opinion prior to surgery by an OS from Union Memorial in Baltimore.
Flat Foot Reconstruction Surgery on June 26, 2013:
Lateral Column Lengthening
Medial Translation Osteotomy
Cuneiform Osteotomy
2 bone grafts
Gastroc Recession
FDL Tendon Transfer to PTT

Old 08-17-2013, 01:21 PM   #3
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Re: Intermittent Stabbing Ankle Pain, Etc. Please help!

Hi Mkks,
I agree with 129, find an Orthopedic Surgeon that specializes in Foot and Ankle. I think the most important thing you can do is have the best doctor you can find assess your issues. An OS that specializes in Foot and Ankle is the only way to go!

If you can, get a recommendation from your General Practitioner, or call some Physical Therapists and get their suggestions, but see an OS.

Good luck.

Old 08-17-2013, 04:48 PM   #4
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Re: Intermittent Stabbing Ankle Pain, Etc. Please help!

I could not disagree more with whoever told you not to stretch. If the plantar facia is tight, it will raise all sorts of problems with your feet, ankles and hips. I had it so badly that I was crippled from it; I stretched and most of it went away. I had HORRIBLE flat feet; made the mistake of wearing orthotics, at the suggestion of a surgeon, and all they did was make my legs and ankles and feet much weaker. Fortunately, I found a therapist who majored in body mechanics and he has made my legs much stronger as well as the arch and the feet. I now have lovely arches. Your feet are full of nerves and if they go to sleep and are not activated, one can have all sorts of trouble. I was a very, very athletic person, so always overdid and then wham, my bad feet caught up to me. I cannot stress it enough that you should stay clear of surgery, which I am sure people will write and tell me about, but had I known years ago before I had my bunion surgery on both feet, I NEVER would have let a surgeon near me. This man I have can align the feet, ankles and the rest so that all are working together. Podiatrists I would stay clear of. Good luck. By the way, some of my nerves had to reactivated by this man.

Old 08-18-2013, 06:42 AM   #5
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Re: Intermittent Stabbing Ankle Pain, Etc. Please help!

I should have said in my original post, but I don't have flat feet which is good because if I added that to my other problems I would probably need a walker/wheelchair!

I was willing to give the no stretch approach a try because the doctor I saw was a marathon runner that has successfully treated many cases of plantar fasciitis. The plan actually did alleviate the plantar fasciitis but as you say it did cause other problems. Also, if I try walking for exercise now, the plantar fasciitis comes back like it never left so ultimately it isn't the correct solution for my case.

Thank you all for your suggestions and comments! It is good to have some new ideas for such an old problem. I'll make an appointment with an OS and see what they have to say.

Old 08-18-2013, 07:38 AM   #6
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Re: Intermittent Stabbing Ankle Pain, Etc. Please help!

Good luck and please keep me posted, if you wish! If I got better, I have high hopes that you will because I was a true basket case!!! If you live in my state and are located fairly near me, and, if you wish, I will recommend my guy, but chances are slim that you are near me. One never knows!!!

Old 08-21-2013, 02:21 PM   #7
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Re: Intermittent Stabbing Ankle Pain, Etc. Please help!

Check Foot Smart , they carry shoes for every problem, kind of expensive but worth it

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