While there are many conditions that cause foot pain, most of them affect only one part of the foot. Because fibromyalgia affects the muscles, people with this condition can experience foot pain in many different parts of the foot at the same time.
What is Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition which affects how the brain processes pain. The sensitivity that develops as a result of this condition can make everyday movement such as walking quite painful. However, not all people who develop this condition will have foot pain.
About 5% of the population in the US has this condition and it’s more common in women (90%) than men (10%).
What Causes Fibromyalgia?
Many theories abound regarding how fibromyalgia develops. It has been known to be triggered as a result of an accident, a long illness (Epstein Barr or Lyme Disease), or even a period of intense stress.
Getting A Proper Diagnosis
Many people live for years with fibromyalgia without a proper diagnosis. Because it affects so many different parts of the body and different body systems, patients will often see a variety of physicians for each complaint without getting to the root of the problem. While a primary care physician should be able to diagnose it properly, rheumatologists who treat other kinds of arthritis have been on the forefront of research and treatment of this condition. While a patient’s list of complaints can vary widely because of its effect on the whole body, criteria of 18 tender points for fibromyalgia has been identified by the American College of Rheumatology. These criteria are now widely used in its diagnosis.
Treatment for Fibromyalgia Foot Pain
One study published in Arthritis Research and Therapy found that about 50% of people with fibromyalgia experience foot pain. However, the pain people feel is not due to any structural abnormalities in the foot. Instead, it’s part of the overall pain syndrome.
Fibromyalgia pain in the feet can lead to problems with walking and gait, causing pain to flare up in other parts of the body such as the hips, back, and knees. That makes it extremely important to learn how to prevent or lessen foot pain caused by fibromyalgia.
While many treatments for fibromyalgia have been tried, there is no one method that can help everyone. However, several mind body treatments have shown promise. These include meditation and breathing methods used to calm down the nervous system.
While it might be tough to “cure” fibromyalgia, there are things you can do to decrease foot pain if you have it.
Getting A Better Night’s Sleep
Getting good sleep is quite problematic for many people with fibromyalgia. But doing so can help decrease foot pain. Work with your physician to try various medications. Exercise in moderation may also be beneficial. Relaxation exercises during the day and right before bed can help calm down the nervous system and promote better sleep.
Soaking Your Feet
Many people have used warm baths successfully to temporarily ease the pain of fibromyalgia. Foot soaks can play the same role for the feet. We recommend using Epsom salts or one of the newer foot soaks by Tolcylen, that can only be purchased through your podiatrist’s office. Alternating with very warm and cool warm can also help reduce muscle pain by increasing circulation to the area.
Getting Mild to Moderate Exercise
While many people have a tough time getting any kind of exercise with this condition, mild to moderate exercise can be beneficial for foot pain. Swimming is the best exercise for foot pain because it is mild and applies no pressure to the feet. Riding a stationary bike may also be helpful. I’d also recommend trying some foot strengthening exercises shown in this video.
Having fibromyalgia and an underlying foot condition like plantar fasciitis, overpronation, flat feet, or high arches can make your fibromyalgia worse. While fibromyalgia does not cause problems with foot structure, any of these conditions can cause foot pain and therefore a flareup of your fibromyalgia symptoms. Even mild heel pain can feel excruciating to a person with fibromyalgia. It’s best to get on top of these problems early since it can take longer to heal from a plantar fasciitis flareup if you have fibromyalgia.
Your podiatrist will likely recommend custom orthotics and a good pair of supportive shoes to help treat and prevent a flareup of your condition. It’s also important to wear supportive slippers or other shoes around the house as going barefoot can cause a flareup, particularly if you’re sensitive.
Need Relief From Foot Pain Made Worse by Fibromyalgia in Seattle, Washington? Request an Appointment Now
Get relief from foot conditions that can feel worse due to your fibromyalgia. Complete the contact form on this page or call our office at 206-368-7000 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Berg.
Most new patients are seen within 1-2 week's time. During your initial visit, Dr. Berg will spend up to 30 minutes getting to know you, your podiatry complaints, and your goals so that he can recommend the treatment best meets your needs. Don’t wait—contact us today.
North Seattle Foot & Ankle Specialist Dr. Rion Berg offers compassionate podiatry care for all foot and ankle problems to those living in Seattle Washington and the surrounding areas. Call us today at 206-368-7000 for an immediate appointment or request an appointment online.