Jaysus, I had no idea how painful it is to walk when your feet hurt and mine have been hurting for some considerable time. I first started having problems in about 2011 – not with my feet but with the inside of my knees. I have high foot arches at rest, but when I stand and bear weight my weak ligaments cause my arches to collapse which makes me flat footed.
When you have flat feet, your ankles roll in which means your knees and hips also roll in, causing a variety of problems from bunions to pack pain. I have ‘knock knees’ because of my poor arches and this eventually caused strain, and therefore pain, on the inside ligaments of my knees.
I asked for a referral to my local Podiatry department and they gave me some basic Slimflex insoles to try, to which they added an arch support. These support the ligaments so that the arches don’t collapse and help correct the position of the feet and consequently ankles, knees and hips. They did help but didn’t eliminate my knee pain.
My original insoles had a 3½ degree arch support, so this was increased to 5 degrees. It’s then that my ankle pain started and for a good hour each morning my ankles were so stiff I could barely walk, so the Podiatrist changed my basic Slimflex insoles for something more cushioned which frustratingly made no difference.
The following year I developed upper leg pain. It was a hot, burning pain which started on the outside of both thighs and travelled both into my groin and down both legs. This was eventually diagnosed as Greater Trochanteric Pain Syndrome and ended up with me being on crutches for 9 months. I couldn’t stand, sit or lie without pain and barely slept as I couldn’t find a comfortable position in bed.
I wondered if this new hip pain was down to my orthotics so was referred for custom made insoles. I waited 10 months to be measured and for the insoles to be made on the NHS, and they made my feet so painful I couldn’t stand it (‘xcuse the pun!). How on earth insoles moulded to the shape of my own feet could make the situation ten times worse astounds me and it was after that the foot specialists gave up saying there was nothing more they could do.
I paid privately to see a biomechanics expert, who turned out to be as much use as a chocolate fireguard. She gave me some super duper shock absorbing insoles which helped my knee pain but gave me ball of foot pain which I’d never had before and charged me £80 for the privilege. Holy schmoly it was like walking on the tip of a red hot poker!
If I didn’t wear orthotics my knees, hips and SI joint killed me and if I did wear orthotics my feet and ankles killed me. Rock v hard place.
I was convinced there must be some insoles, somewhere, which would cure all my pain and eventually settled on G8 pros which are worn by cyclists. They had adjustable height arch supports (v. clever!) which could be moved either up or down the foot and I had great hopes for them but frustratingly they didn’t help either.
Once my body gets an injury it tends to never fully go away and I develop a weakness there. I’ve gone from having no foot pain, to having ball of foot pain, which migrated to outer foot pain which migrated to pain on the top of the first joint of my 2nd toe. If I wear an insole which cures my ball of foot pain it causes either outer foot or toe pain and visca versa. It’s soooo frustrating. My inner knee pain has never fully gone and my greater trochanteric hip/outer thigh pain still comes and goes for no reason I can put my finger on. In addition I’ve had morning ankle stiffness now for several years and I have no idea why.
This year, my outer foot pain has been the most troublesome and I’ve now bought myself some Salford orange flex gel insoles, to which I’ve added my own 4 degree arch support. They’re one of the best insoles I’ve tried for my foot pain but have increased my knee pain (I’m sitting here with my inner knees on fire and I haven’t gotten out of bed yet!). So I’m now wearing Boots knee supports which help my knees. You can guarantee though, that now I’ve corrected my feet and knees my sodding hips or SI back joint will start to hurt – I cure one thing only to make something else worse!
It doesn’t help that I am receiving no help or guidance for my EDS and am just having to muddle along myself. I’m not a biomechanical expert, a podiatrist, physio or orthotist and haven’t a clue why my body is packing up on me. I also pay for all my orthotics, aids and joint supports which, when you’re on a low income, is bank busting (my new insoles were nearly £50, my knee supports £40, the G8 insoles I tried were £80, my crutches were £70 because the NHS ones crippled my wrists, and so on ad infinitum).
Y’know the story ‘The Princess & The Pea’? I’m convinced me and her are related. The teensiest tiniest thing seems to set my pain off and I wake each morning feeling like I’ve gone 10 rounds with Amir Khan. The only difference is at least she got a freakin’ Prince at the end of it 😉