Pain. That’s the earmark of fibromyalgia. Pain, all sorts of pain, flows through the bodies of those with FMS and can make life less than pleasant.
Although most of the pain we associate with fibromyalgia is the kind of muscular pain that sits in the shoulders, back, neck and larger muscle groups of the legs, there are pains in the hands, arms and feet that are equally distressful.
Many people who suffer with fibromyalgia experience pain in their feet. However, medical doctors do not feel foot pain is symptomatic of fibromyalgia since FMS tends to present with muscle and soft tissue pain rather than joint and bone pain.
They associate foot pain more with a condition like arthritis. However, when you check symptoms and treatments, you will often find the treatment of fibromyalgia pain listed on arthritis sites and in arthritis literature. It is quite evident that a person can be dealing with both arthritis and fibromyalgia at the same time.
There have been several studies conducted in a bid to link fibromyalgia to other conditions that may present with foot pain.
Some of those conditions are:
- Plantar fasciitis
- Morton’s Neuroma
Source of Foot Pain with FMS: Plantar Fasciitis
Plantar fasciitis is a relatively common foot pain that can affect anyone. This type of pain is often found in highly active people like runners and athletes. It occurs in older people as well and generally in people who may be on their feet a lot.
The pain in the foot is the result of inflammation of the plantar fascia, a thick band of tissue that stretches from the heel to the front of the foot, supporting the arch of the foot. As with many things in our bodies, it becomes less resilient with age and can be damaged by frequent or intense physical activity.
Plantar fasciitis is caused by:
- excessive pronation, when the feet roll inward too much when walking
- high arches or flat feet
- walking, standing or running for long periods of time, especially on hard surfaces
- poorly fitting shoes or worn out shoes
- tight calf and Achilles tendons
Irritation and swelling of the tissues within the foot and heel cause serious pain and for people with fibromyalgia syndrome and the heightened sensitivity to pain that is inherent in the syndrome, the pain can be severe.
Plantar fasciitis can be treated with over-the-counter pain relievers as well as wearing shoe supports, special splints at night, physical therapy, and in extreme cases, surgery.
Source of Foot Pain with FMS: Metatarsalgia
Another source of foot pain that is often found in people with fibromyalgia is metatarsalgia, inflammation of the metatarsals of the foot. It shows up as a burning, sharp or aching pain in the ball of the foot and can be felt in the area around the second, third and fourth toes, or only near the big toe.
Other signs of this kind of pain include:
- pain that worsens with walking, standing or running but gets better when resting
- sharp or shooting pains in the toes
- numbness or tingling in the toes
- gets worse when feet are flexed
- feet feel bruised
- pain worsens when walking on hard surfaces barefoot
The pain can come suddenly upon an increase of impact movement like running or jumping. However, it is likely to be a gradual increase of pain over time.
The What and Why of Metatarsalgia Foot Pain in FMS
The factors that cause metatarsalia are mostly related to the mechanics of the foot and the way weight is distributed in the body and ultimately onto the feet.
Each foot has five metatarsal bones running from the arch of the foot to the toes. The first is short and thick and the other four are about the same length and thinner.
Whether walking, running, jumping or moving, the weight of the body is transferred to the toes and metatarsals during the push-off phase of the movement. The first two metatarsals take the brunt of the punishment, usually about 275% of the body weight.
Depending upon how the weight in the body is distributed, and how much weight there is, excessive pressure can be put onto those bones that lead to pain and inflammation in the bones and the tissues around them.
Some of the same risk factors that exist for plantar fasciitis apply to metatarsalgia, along with a few others. Certain foot shapes, bunions, hammertoes, stress fractures, a condition called Morton’s Neuroma along with aging are all factors in metatarsalia.
Morton’s Neuroma Foot Pain in those with FMS
As with all pain in the body, pain in the feet becomes worse with fibromyalgia. Although fibromyalgia may not be a direct cause of the symptoms of foot pain, it definitely a factor in the level of pain experienced. Learn more about foot pain in our article about Morton’s Neuroma on this site.