Painful feet

Hi all, I’ve had RA for 34 years & always had painful feet. I’ve had insoles made over the years but they don’t fit all my shoes & don’t really help. I’m always told at podiatry my footwear is wrong despite the fact I spend a fortune on shoes, m&s foot glove, hotter shoes & scholl. These past few weeks I’ve had excruciating pain in soles of my feet & they feel as though they are on fire. Also my heel is sore when sitting on my recliner or lying in bed. Has anyone else suffered this & if so has anything helped. Doctor changed my painkillers to tramadol & it was like taking smarties as they didn’t help & kept me awake so I’m back on my cocodamol 30/500 but there not really making a difference. Calling hospital tomorrow to speak to my liaison nurse. Thanks in advance.

Adeline x

52 Replies

  • I think we all have the same problem and what really annoys me when your at the Rheumy consultation and mention your feet they don't want to know and also the DAS score doesn't take into account your feet , how daft is that as they are one of the most important parts of the body

  • Thank you x

  • I so sympathise..I have had such problems with shoes since diagnosis in 1978. Now live in Birkenstock toe peg sandals in the summer, another pair for in the house with socks on in winter, and Ecco boots for outside.

  • I've had Mortons Nuroma's removed twice and injected a few times too, last week I had my foot straightened and metal plates screwed in and toes shortened a it bit to relieve pressure on th metatarsal pad. It did hurt before now is a bit sore while it heals. A few weeks discomfort for long term gain.

  • Thank you x

  • It sounds like you may need something like gabapentin as it sounds like it might be nerve pain.

  • Thank you, I’ve had gabapentin & they didn’t do much for me plus I put on pounds which didn’t help my joints x

  • I know my colleague was on it for depression. They’re now off it. I has many uses though.

    Maybe amitryptilin. I take these and they work and help me sleep.

  • Thank you x

  • The way you describe your heel pain it sounds like Plantar fasciitis. I have had it a few times and it is painful. There isn’t a lot you can do about it if it is other than anti inflammatories and analgesia. If really bad a steroid injection may help. I opted out of that as I just didn’t fancy it. Unfortunately mine took a year to go each time.

    Yet another thing we have to put up with. Sorry to sound so negative hopefully it will be something easy. 👍🏻

  • Thank you for your reply.👍

  • Thank you x

  • When i was having a flare it was like walking over sharp stones . I found that memory foam sketchers , or adidas memory cloud were really comfortable.

  • Have you tried Wider Fit shoes. I’ve been wearing them a few years now. I did have nhs shoes but they never fit properly and they were really ugly. Wider Fit do up to an 8E fitting with very comfortable insides. Not cheap but well worth the money. I can’t get into any other shoes.

  • Thank you, even wearing sketchers my feet are still painful & burning😢

  • My pain improved when i started rituximab infusions, im lucky that so far it is working for me

  • weathervane I have been offered tocilizumab but really not sure if I want to go on it x

  • Its a big decision to make , best wishes with what ever you decide xx

  • Thank you, I’ve been in biological therapy before & it worked for about 6 months then my bloods were affected & I take a lot of infections & had to come of it each time Bloods went low & also stop it every time I had infections. It ended up I was off it more than on it. My problem is that any meds I’ve been on I take side effects so it makes this decision even harder. It may sound silly but I don’t want to go on tocilizumab & be on it for 6 months & for it to work & me to feel better then have to stop it again like I did with first biological. My head is pickled. Take care x

  • I have just had to come off plaquenil as white cell and neurophil count is in my boots . I am hoping to go back on it again as my muscles are getting sore again and exhaustion is kicking in again . I don’t know if there will be a problem with 6 monthly rituximab. I had successfull acupuncture for my back in the past , could it work for the feet ???

  • Acupuncture is worth a try. I’ve had it for my knee & it didn’t work but st this stage anything other than biologicals is worth a try. Thank you x

  • Yes, i make sure i have good socks as well. Regardless of the weather i wear thick socks. I have wasted so much money on shoes. I even had some medical ones made for a small fortune and they were too heavy. Never again. I walk 2 kms a day with my dog along tracks and hard sand but when i get home , they are throbbing and i need to rest for a while. I feel like a wind up bath toy, run out and have to stop. Walking on concrete is the worse.

    I can only do it for short distances. I hope you get some relief. It seems to be a precious thing good feet.

  • My feet are constantly in pain I pick up my insoles in morning I've had made at hospital I get synovitis in my feet I can't walk far at all it's so bad and I find nothing helps x

  • tinayankee I really hope your insoles help you x

  • I have shoes from Some styles are not too bad and if you can find the ones you like on sale they are not as pricey. They do shoes that are deeper and in various widths with removable insoles so I can get my custom made NHS insoles into them and not pinch my feet. I find it very difficult to go without my insoles now. Farm

  • I can relate to that Adeline, so many of us do as feet are mostly involved with RD. Have Podietry never shown you what type of footwear you should be wearing? I thought I was wearing suitable footwear, they were comfortable with memory insoles but they were anything but right for my particular needs. Because of my difficulties, collapsed arches amongst them causing over pronation, I needed support & a heel, quite the opposite of what I thought was right (hence my username!). I have custom made insoles which I've to use with lace up shoes with either a block heel or a wedge & I must say the difference in comfort & support is surprising. Fortunately many nice styles both last winter & this have such styles, summer was a little more difficult but I've managed with just the two pairs.

    Yes I've suffered what you've described, the burning soles were the worst which it turns out from recent nerve conduction/velocity studies are related to neuropathy, which may or not have been caused by one of my meds which has nevertheless been stopped. I'm awaiting an appointment for further studies & intend to pin the Neurologist down to what specifically is causing it. It can be particularly bad at night & have to put my feet outside of the duvet to ease them, even the weight of a down quilt is too much. I also have corns on the balls on my feet which aren't particularly comfort making but fortunately I can just ring Podietry & have them dealt with regularly. Like you I'm also prescribed co-co 500/30's for breakthrough pain, pregabalin for neuro problems plus amitriptyline but it's the latter that seems to help most, though that's not an awful lot for my feet, well it does by default as it helps me sleep.

    So really what I'm saying is ask for advice, they know their stuff & should be able to recommend what you should be looking for, even makes. It may even be that you'd benefit from some NHS ones, but you'll need to ask. I've been told to avoid Hotter, Sketchers & some Clarks though I have on occasion printed off styles I think may be suitable & my Podietrist has checked them over & said yay or nay for suitability support wise. I'm due to see her in the next few weeks & already have half a dozen styles printed off already as I fancy some deep red/burgundy for this winter!

  • Thank you for such an in depth reply. Podiatry have suggested some shoes & I’ve had insoles made but they usually only fit the shoes I’m wearing on the day. Strangely my feet aren’t too painful walking as long as it’s short distances but they are at their worst at night, even if I haven’t been out walking they are still painful & on fire x

  • Have you asked about different toe shapes for you insoles? I was offered about four styles I think, one more pointed, one a square toe but I settled for an inbetween one square'ish as I need a deep toe box because of hammer toes etc & those fit all my shoes & boots.

    I'm just the same with walking. Do you have Blue Badge? I find mine most helpful, being able to park nearer to where I need to be helps a lot. Do you think something like a freeze spray might help, just to take the edge off the burn for a while?

  • Only been offered one type of insole. If I can get a hold of my liaison nurse I will be asking for another referral to podiatry but that will take forever.Thankfully I have a blue badge which makes such a difference & I’ve a wheelchair as well but can only use if my husband is with me as my hands & arms don’t have the strength to turn the wheels. I was referred for a power wheelchair but was refused because I don’t need it in house!!!!!!!! Our sitting room is small & I have every aid I can think of to help me plus I have a chairlift. Can I ask please what is the freeze spray x

  • A freeze spray like they use in sports injuries, for footballers & such, or sore joints or

  • Thank you & keep well x

  • You too.

  • Hi Rebecca5, mine are just as you describe and I have to have a cage to keep the bed clothes off my feet at night, or I couldn't stand the pain. I think the cause is where the arthritis has made the third and fourth toes curl round and left a sort of hole underneath the toes on the front of the foot. I have lost both my arches and the soles of my feet burn like crazy at night. 12 Hour Voltarol seems to help the most as your feet don't have much fat on them, and it reaches the spot! I can't walk much with them now in the day time and am always trying to lose weight, but it's hard taking a lot of anti-inflammatory drugs, on virtually no food. Even with large doses of Omeprazole, I still get indigestion. I hope you find some help soon.

  • Hi scruffyrabbit. I was getting bloods checked this morning & managed to see a doctor. I need to contact my rheumatologist as she thinks I may have spurs & would need an X-ray plus she thinks I may have oste in my feet but hey ho I just need to get on with it. Thank you for replying & take care x

  • Hi Rebecca5.

    I first had "Plantar Fasciitis" I could not stand up let alone walk without immense pain. I thought I had sprained my feet whilst excessively working out. The soles of feet was extremely painful, which affected my ankles and legs including knees, after a few weeks of going back and forth to doctors I went to see my Osteopath who confirmed what my gp had diagnosed. So in between having blood tests which diagnosed Seropositive RA bought on from a car accident 5 months previous,

    my Osteopath suggested I ditched the flip flops and sandals and invest in a pair of Birkenstock sandals the ones which comes up the front of the foot with the toe piece. I took her advice - must say what a great investment. I eventually after many weeks started to walk again I was not able to drive as the pedals were so painful on soles of feet, with help from painkillers also anti-inflammatories until they got my diagnosis. Sandals are very stylish also great colors although I chose black . They took few days to bed them in. I have not looked back. I wear them from spring right through to autumn , I also wear them round the house never bare feet . I do now very very occasionally wear a normal pair of sandals if I'm not going to walk far tho not very often. I am hoping to possibly look into Birkenstock boots.

    I wish you well

    Sending {hugs}

    Pamela xx

  • Pamela thank you so much for replying. You are the second person to mention Birkenstock footwear so I’m going to have a look at that while waiting to see rheumatologist. Take care & keep well x

  • I absolutely agree that excluding feet from the DAS is ludicrous and I've never heard an explanation why - has anyone? Would it be cynical of me to suggest the inclusion of feet would entitle 'too many' to expensive biologics?

    Feet are high on my agenda this week. My new orthotics (paid for myself since my Rheumatologist isn't interested or can't offer anything other than meds) are great but I now have 40 ☺️ pairs of shoes to ship out and it's breaking my heart. I won't be able to do that until I can afford to buy replacements (OK so not 40 pairs, those were trial and error!) but even then, it will be hard to say Goodbye to femininity and style. Choices aren't as bad as 36 years ago though when I had my metatarsal heads removed - BIG mistake. Do they still do the Fowlers op? Never hear of it now and in my experience that's a good thing! Instead of the metatarsal heads being painful, the remaining bones stick into my soles instead making walking without shoes agony.

    Commiserations to all of us as we try to overcome the problems of painful feet.

  • Thank you for replying & I’m glad you’re new orthotics are helping you. It’s shocking that you had to pay for them yourself. Take care x

  • I too have pains in my feet along with my R.A. My doctor gave me an injection in the ball of my one foot to ease the pain, but I am now having problems in the whole foot and find it hard to walk. I think it is just part of the condition. I am on Methotrexate and hope this is going to help. Hope you start feeling better with time and medication.

  • Thank you for replying. I hope methotrexate helps you.

  • Icepacks give me a wee bit of relief during bad feet flare ups, when I'm really struggling. Obviously not a long term solution but at least a it of relief at the time when it gets too much :)

  • Thank you, anything is worth a try x

  • I also get reflexology done when things are bad. Again, only temporary relief, but even temporary relief helps a bit when you're feeling totally miserable x

  • I agree, even if it is short term. Going to try & see someone at doctors today x

  • Good luck x

  • hi rebecca 5 it could be plantar atrophy that is agony ,or plantar fasciitis its agony as i also have perifual neuropathy and many more disabilaties i cant walk i am wheelchair bound but my feet feel as though they are on fire take care ,

  • Thank you mason. Trying to go hold of someone at my rheumatology dept for advice. Was at doctors today & she doesn’t think its plantar fasciitis. She feels X-ray would help as she thinks I might have small spurs & osteo on heels & feet. Take care.

  • hi rebecca i was at first diagnosed with haglands deformaty that is bone spurs on my heels i then saw a rheumatolagist he told me that is the usual diagnosis he then told me after x rays and scans that i have perifual neuropathy and i also have fibromyalgia that makes it worse my feet feel as though they are on fire or ime walking on sharp glass please let me know how you get on when i was diagnosed with haglands my doctor gave me morphine patches to put on the bottom of my feet they worked very well .take care ps look up haglands .xx

  • Thank you Mason, I will definitely let you know how I get on. You’ve certainly got a lot going on. You take care & will catch up as soon as I know anything. xx

  • good luck so sorry your in so much pain sending a big soft hug ,

  • I put my feet on frozen peas or similar find it helps a bit with pain and swelling

  • Thank you for that idea x

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