Feet Discomfort

My mother was diagnosed with pbc a couple years now . She seems to be doing pretty well at the moment except with her feet. She has been having numbness/discomfort on the ball of her feet. It's gets to where it's very uncomfortable for her to walk sometimes. This may have no relation to the pbc but I had to ask if anyone knows or has experienced anything like this.


12 Replies

  • Hi,

    There may be different causes but one possible cause might be a condition called Morton's Neuroma. It has no connection to PBC as far as I know. The name is a little misleading (where have we all heard that before!) as it refers to a benign swelling of the nerves usually between the 2-3 toes on one or both feet in the area between the ball of the foot and the toes. The cause of the swelling may not be known but the end result are symptoms that swing from numbness (especially first thing in the morning in bare feet) through to extreme sharp pain. The pain can be so severe that it prevents walking in shoes.

    I have this but had the one in my left foot cut out several years ago (easy, minor operation) so, joy - no more agony. But I do need shoes at least a size bigger than I used to and square-toed ones - no fancy little pointy numbers..! I also can't seem to wear certain kinds of sole, certain thin ones or ones that put all your weight onto the ball of the foot.

    Get your mother to talk to her GP but meanwhile suggest she wears her biggest shoes with the biggest toe area and, temporarily at least, shun all shoes that might in any squash the ball of the feet & toes.

  • I have painful feet too, the pain usually starts about half an hour after I start walking about. My feet are usually sore in the morning when I get out of bed and I hobble around for a while. I believe it is another of the aches and pains of pbc.

  • Dear badpiglet - I can't believe someone had the exact same thing! Besides the pain I felt like there was some kind of padding in my shoe but I realized it was the sensation of the numbness. You are right it can become swollen and numb or extremely painful. I also get severe cramping between my bid toe and next toe, to the point where the toe is acturally arched backwards. As with all thing PBC it comes and goes.

    Too strange sometimes to even tell your family about because it's just another quirk of the disease.


  • Hi, I have had this off and on for about two years and it is quite baffling. Mine feels almost like there's a thickness or lump on the ball of the foot as soon as I put weight on it, and there is a persistent numbness and tingling. I've wondered if it could be a. Morton's Neuroma, but it doesn't really seem to be related to anything between the toes, and there's no real pain, just discomfort. I've had a frozen shoulder in the past and also a mild Dupuytren's contracture of one finger and have always suspected they're connected but no one seems to really know. I remain on PBC watch - positive AMA and ANA with SCL-70 antibodies, but normal LFTs, normal liver biopsy, normal skin, no clinical symptoms other than occasional itching which doesn't persist. I also have had Hashimoto's for over a decade but it's well controlled. Bouts of hair loss come and go, and have persistent iron deficiency if I don't supplement with iron tabs. Does your mom have other antibodies? I've wondered if the foot thing relates to the SCL70 or some connective tissue disease lurking in the shadows.

  • My mom never tested positive for ama antibodies. We found out she had pbc through the liver biopsy. We did mention to her specialist about her feet issue and he didn't seem to think there was any relation with the PBC. However seeing the other ones here that are also experiencing feet issues sure makes you go HMMMMMM!

  • Autoimmune diseases have lots of overlap. Most people with one autoimmune disease have at least some elements of others. I've learned that many disease processes on the autoimmune spectrum don't always have clear boundaries - they flare up, then seemingly disappear, are often accompanied by features that are hard to pin down to one condition, can evade a clear diagnosis for years, or forever. Symptoms like hair loss can occur in lupus, Hashimoto's, Sjogren's, Scleroderma, and many more. Muscle and joint problems plague sufferers of a wide array of autoimmune manifestations. In my case, I have one thing crop up out of the blue, it flares brightly, then fades away to nothing for awhile. I get a false sense of security for a period of time thinking maybe, just maybe, my commitment to a healthy lifestyle has won out, that I've somehow managed to beat whatever "this" is. And then, it starts all over again - usually with a new set of bizarre problems, and rarely do the puzzle pieces fit neatly together. So, long story short, I have no idea if these foot problems can be specifically linked to PBC proper, but I do think they are likely another manifestation of autoimmunity. This is all still very poorly understood, and I think each affected individual has his or her own areas of vulnerability. Your mom's been diagnosed with PBC, and is apparently one of the few that is negative for AMA, although that's not really thought to affect the disease course positively or negatively. It is still an autoimmune condition, which means she has a high likelihood of having or developing some elements of other autoimmune conditions, however vague. I too was fascinated with such a similar description of the foot sensations I've had so much trouble relating to doctors, and it just reinforces the conclusions I'd already come to form on my own - that the foot thing is yet one more manifestation of whatever autoimmune rampage is taking place in my body. I suspect the same is true for your mom, although she should probably visit a foot specialist and a neurologist to get it checked out. Even if it has an autoimmune origin or trigger, there may be treatment that can help. I plan to see the above specialists myself at some point. Best.

  • Hi I was recently diagnosed with PBC and I also have sore and sometimes numb feet especially around the toes and balls of my feet. I also have growths around left ovary and in my womb and someone suggested that it may be connected to that. It is painful for me when walking on uneven or stony ground, even the surface at either side of pedestrian crossings is difficult for me. I'm not due to see consultant for a while but will mention it next time I go. Not much help but your mum is not alone.

  • Hi Yvonne, I get exactly the same pain in my feet when walking on the surface at either side of pedestrian crossings. I feel as if I am walking on the bones of my feet.

  • Hi nomoreplies/Yvonne22, I also find this very painful. In addition to that I am unable to wear shoes with insoles that have any form of stitching, lumps and bumps or little holes in because the slightest mark feels massive and make my feet burn with pain.

  • I'm rather late joining in this discussion as I was away. There have been times over the last years when I have felt that I have a hard stone under the balls of both feet so can sympathise. For many years I have had insoles made to relieve pain from an arthritic toe, ( by walking in the correct position) and I find that I have no problems wearing these in lace up shoes, However wearing court shoes or dancing shoes is a very different story and its a case of "grin and bear it" as nothing helps. The podiatrist tells me I have very good feet but I can`t get across how painful they can be. Knowing that I am not the only one I shall ask my consultant if he has any suggestions of anything that will help.

  • Hi ive got pbc osteoporosis and vitamin d deficiency I too have the same foot pain my specialist says I have corns but I haven't he just went on what I told him my feet are so painful that sometimes I cant walk and my feet throb even when I lay down I think it is to do with pbc xxc

  • This really amazes me with the number of people having the same feet issues as my mother. This has to be related to PBC in my mind but how is the question. My mom use to walk a mile or two a day and now this has kept her from doing that now. Lets hope her podiatrist can help her find some relief somehow. Good luck and best wishes to you all! Thanks so much for everyones input on this.

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