Foot/ankle pain for 4 months

About 4 months ago I experienced very bad foot pain seemingly out of nowhere. It was hard to localize where the pain was coming from at first, but it felt like the outside (lateral) part of my right foot (now I know that to be the 5th metartsal). It was very painful to walk (especially putting any weight on the heel) and I went to urgent care for x-rays and everything was normal. I then realized that several days prior, I did step awkwardly when I stood up and my right foot gave out right below the ankle. It was very painful for the first few minutes but I walked it off and didn’t think anything of it.

After the first week or so, the pain in the heel subsided by the pain continued on my 4th and 5th metatarsals from the end of the toes to the ankle (so basically on the entire top of the foot) with the most of the pain being on the 5th metatarsal. I also was/am experiencing pain on the bone going from the leg down into the inside of the ankle (but not all the way down the ankle). I went to an orthopedic surgeon about 3 weeks into the pain and he ordered an MRI thinking it was peroneal tendonitis. The MRI came back negative.

About 2 months later, I was still experiencing the pain in the foot and ankle and went to another orthopedic surgeon who ordered an MRI to rule out a stress fracture of the metatarsal. The MRI came back negative.

It’s now almost 4 months into this whole ordeal and I’m still experiencing pain in the foot and ankle. The pain is definitely on the bone in both the foot and ankle. They are very tender to touch. The foot pain feels like a bad bruise and the ankle pain feels like an achy throb. The foot feels like something wants to snap every time I walk, especially put pressure on the outside of the foot. The ankle continues to throb at times even in a sitting position. The foot hurts when I walk or when I’m sitting and put pressure on it (like crossing my other foot on top).

Any suggestions? The ankle looks a little swollen and small bruises come and go on the outside of the ankle and foot but nothing too bad. If it’s just a bruised foot, wouldn’t it have healed by now?

8 Responses

  1. Foot-com

    Thank you for the follow up information. You don’t happen to have a picture of the foot where it is bothering you? Often times the way patients describe locations is quite different from a medical professional – nothing wrong with how you are describing but I could be examining somewhere else.

    Also what foot type do you have? High arch, neutral, flat foot? The more information you can provide will assist me in guiding you.

    Thank you – Dr Splichal

    Dr. Emily Splichal
    Please be advised: we do not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
    By law, we cannot give specific medical advice over the Internet.

  2. Foot-com

    It is amazing you have just described what I have been experiencing for about 6 months now. After finally going to the doctor, I also was diagnosed with tendonitis, given steroids and aircasted for four weeks in a walking cast. When I was allowed to get out of the cast, my symptoms(which didnt totally resolve, only got better) returned within a week and worse than they had been before. I just had another set of xrays, revealing nothing, no stress fractures. So I had two MRIs today with hopes they will find a solution to this problem. I also have not injured my ankle. I do walk a lot and stand a lot, jut simply out of having an active lifestyle. I just slowly began to have difficulties and pain in the right side of my foot sometimes giving way to pain in my 4th and 5th toe area exactly where you had described yours. I spent a couple of months “flatfooting” stairs and thresholds, as increased bending only worsened the problem. I also am currently experiencing throbbing aching in the outside of the ankle bone as well as throbbing radiating down the way of the right side. Can only walk for a couple of hours a days now without being debilitated or reserved in my activity because of the pain. Strangely my MRI made the throbbing excessively worse today. As I have had other joints problems and many MRIs over the years, this a first for me to have a side effect from the MRI process itself. When they were scanning my chief problem areas it actually caused me to have sharp deep aching pains in those areas and of course still hurting tonight. Wish me luck. I will let you know what they say Monday at my appt.

  3. Foot-com

    Thank your for you insight Dr. Splichal. I do not have any history of an ankle injury. I do stand a lot for work. I’m a prosecutor and stand sometimes for hours straight. The pain in the ankle is on the inside part (I believe where the fibula feeds into the ankle bone), not on the outside where I think the peroneal tendon is. The ankle pain is a dull throb and is tender when I touch that part of the bone. The foot pain is about half an inch below the toes on the 4th and 5th (mainly 5th) metartsals. Do you think acupuncture could still help if it’s more of a bone thing than a muscle/ligament thing?

    Thanks again for your help. This is really frustrating.

  4. Foot-com

    Hello and thank you for your question. Without examining you it is difficult for me to say exactly what may be causing your pain but I can try to guide you.

    Do you have any history of an old ankle injury? Do you stand or walk a lot for work? Sounds like part of the area are your peroneals. A peroneal issue may not necessarily show up on an MRI, especially if you are feeling it up your leg in the belly of the muscle. A couple things I would discuss with your Podiatrist are – snapping peroneals, cuboid syndrome, peroneus longus tendonitis.

    Have you done any acupuncture? In patients with pain that has been undiagnosed for 4 months often find relief with acupuncture. Again I apologize but without more information or without examining you it is difficult for me to provide any additional information.

    Good luck!

    Dr. Emily Splichal
    Please be advised: we do not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
    By law, we cannot give specific medical advice over the Internet.

  5. Carole

    On the 28th February 2017 I broke the 5th Metatarsal bone in my left foot, I have been in an air boot since then and on the 22nd June went back to my orthopaedic doctor for a check up and he said I could walk without the boot. I have been experiencing the exact same pains that you have explained here and I feel like I am losing my mind as I have had a CT scan and more xrays and they can find nothing to explain the very bad pain. I feel awful as this was an injury at work and I feel like I cannot walk after about an hour on my feet. I am back in the air boot but the pain has not subsided either way boot or no boot. My foot swells and burns as if it has been set alight. I have noticed a clear loss in the strength in my leg and knee it is like I am walking with a dead weight from my hip – this hip was replaced April last year (left side as I had osteoarthritis).
    If any one can make a suggestion as to ease the pain it would greatly appreciated.

  6. Leya T.

    Since I’m here I have obviously same problems as you guys!! My question: did any of you had an exfoliating socks?! (Like 1-2months before pain showed up)I’m curious if this have to do with my pains … I don’t know what to blame anymore 😏

  7. Thuan

    Hi everyone, I can also understand how you all feel as my situation has been going on for 8 months now and still going.
    I first stubbed my 5th toe on the end of the bed, I didn’t take any notice until a couple weeks later I was running and then felt a pinch in the 5th metatarsal.

    It then swelled up, thought nothing of it till it didn’t go away for 2 weeks.
    I had an X-ray but nothing, then a MRI a few weeks later to find out i had a incomplete fracture.
    From here was a moon boot for 6 weeks.
    Yet still it was still swollen and could not walk on it at all.
    Next I saw a foot surgeon specialist, to then also tell me that my ligaments have snapped and not reattached which is part of why i am having so much pain from the outside of the 5th MT.
    I was then referred to another podiatrist and he then found I had a plantar tar under the 5th MT.
    From here strapping the 5th toe to keep straight for the plantar tear to heal as well.
    After 2 weeks of this nothing has changed again.

    I then checked my self into hospital and they then sent me home with a flat sole shoes to wear for 2 weeks.
    This did help a lot as it took a lot of pressure off the 5th toe when walking, but yet it is still swollen.
    I went back and saw a orthpidic at the hospital and they then did another X-ray and saw that there was healing, SLOW healing and the incomplete fracture has healed.

    They sent me home a told me this may take another 3 months, come back it hasn’t they said.
    My next step was to have a cortizone shoot in the Foot, I did this and it did help the swelling a lot !
    All of the swelling from the side of the foot 5th toe and the pain had gone away, but now my 5th toe is Swollen like I have never before and hasn’t gone down for over 2 months now.

    The pain I still get comes from underneath, between the 4th and 5th Metatarsal. every time I take a step i feel the pain from underneath.
    I have now also had blood test done to see if there is anything abnormal, and the result that has come back is that I am very high in iron.

    In the mean time with all this happening I have now also developed tenosynovitis in the thumb, 4 months with this problem and I have also had a cortizone shoot in the thumb which did help but now my thumb is so swollen that I can’t bend the tip of my thumb and the joints are hurting now too.

    I am now booked in to give blood and have changed my diet to see if this could be why my body is not repairing properly as maybe my iron levels are affect the healing process ?

    Any thoughts would be much appreciated as this injure is so painful and I just want to get back to everyday life.

    I will post up more on how I go in the next couple of weeks, and if or how I resolve this problem.

  8. Sky

    Check out Baxter’s Entrapment. Often missed.

Leave a Reply