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Athletic Training

Circulation cut off in feet and hips problem

05/11/2006

Question:

This is what happened:

I dont know which is the real problem, my back, my hips or my feet

I am now 48 years old. about 20 years ago I went out dancing all night and the next day my left foot was swollen and the top of it hurt... in the middle about right below the second or third toe..

I dont know what is there, a vein maybe.. but it was sore, it took quite awhile but eventually my foot got better. They didnt really do anything for me at the hospital at that time except water therapy, swishing my foot around in a pool of water.

Everything seemed normal except ever since then I noticed my left foot gets colder in the winter than my right... as if it doesnt circulate properly.

Then recently, about 2 months ago, I was worried about something and started pacing around the house for a long time and reinjured it in the same place. It all started out exactly the same way as the first time it was injured, only this time it isnt getting any better, but worse.

It began by me feeling that same place on top of my foot, it feels like maybe an injured vein or something. Then spreading through my foot. The line from my big toe all the way up to my ankle was sore... and right in the middle of my big toe a line horizonally across there feels funny too like it "pulls" when I move my toes.

The foot would get cold and then when I walked I could feel heat surging through it, and sometimes it felt like someone injects my veins with ice water... sometimes when I walk for awhile, the leg almost up to my knee would feel funny too, like cold.

The ankle on both sides of it feels tender, above the ankle bone

Then it would feel like "brittle when I would flex my toes... like everything inside there was just rubbing together and almost felt like a bunjie cord... I could feel everything "springy" when I flex my toes..

It would get a little better if I didnt walk and stayed in bed... but then worse if I`d walk. Then it got where I had to lie down all the time flat in bed... or else my foot would turn purple and swollen and feel like it was going to burst. Then it got where I had to lie down on my right side to keep it from doing that... I dont know if that has anything to do with the line from my big toe all the way up to my ankle but it feels like it, like its very weak there...

The Inside ankles on both feet now are very tender, feels like either A vein or a nerve… the left foot arch was hurting but that seems a little better now.

It got to where I cant even sit down now without my foot turning purple It gets all swollen and purple till it feels like its going to burst. So I have to walk or lie down continually. Ive been lying down in bed for two months now and its driving me absolutely crazy, I cant stand this anymore

Then now suddenly one day when I was laying in bed and I had walked for a bit, I heard a little "pop" or "snap" noise in my other foot, my right foot. It is starting to do exactly the same thing as my left foot has done.. even the feeling of blood rushing down to my foot, I can feel it.

There for a little while every night I would nearly call 911 because my foot would turn purple and get swollen and my left hand would get tingly and my head light headed.

I went to the urgent care place at the doctors and they said my blood pressure was up when this was happening.

I am very worried because my doctor said she thinks I might have nerve damage and is going to have someone do tests for that but that isnt till a month or more till these tests are going to be done... meanwhile my other foot is doing the same thing... I am worried because it keeps progressing. Besides its very difficult to keep having to lie down on my right side all the time except to get up to go to the bathroom and do a few other things.

I dont have blood clots in my legs, I was tested for that. But I read that blue feet can cause blood clots and lead to serious other problems... I want to hurry up and find out what the underlying problem is while theres a chance to fix it. At this rate I am worried they wont ever find out whats wrong till its too late to do anything about it.

the doctor gave me Mobic which is anti-inflamatory drug.

My family doctor ordered in prescription for me for back pain from lying in bed all the time for 2 months, something called Voltaren.

The first doctor I saw did x rays, but no bone fractures were found. He also ordered an MRA for veins and arteries... but he said there wasnt anything wrong. But then again I dont know if he is any expert to be able to actually read the findings of the x rays and know for sure. I noticed when I looked at the letter given to the doctor from the people who did the MRA that it said something about possible Vasculitis. I looked that up on the internet and it says most doctors dont even know what that is.

I noticed when I was doing hot and cold foot treatments in a bucket of water that when I would put my right foot into the hot water or cold I could feel it a lot more than on the left foot. I think because the nerves are damaged in the left foot.

Like I said, I want to find out what the problem is and get something done about it while I still possibly can instead of waiting till this orthopedist does all these tests for nerve damage, etc and that taking who knows how long. Plus Im wondering if the nerve damage is a result and not the real problem, such as that my foot`s lack of circulation has caused the nerve damage and that isnt the underlying problem.

I have some things about vein inflammation and vein calcification. Could that be what the problem is and if so, what kind of doctor should I be going to in order to find that out?

UPDATE: For the last couple of days I have been taking some Pills called “Inflammation Defense” for inflammation of the veins, just to see if it would help me with the foot turning purple.The pills have grape seed extract, fish oil and Selenium.

It seemed to help with my foot not swelling up so far, but today suddenly could feel a terrible place on my foot that I could not feel before that is hurting and I recognize it as my original injury. In my left ankle down the middle where I bend it. It felt like someone just twisted it and it was so weak and painful I could barely walk. I started putting ice on it the rest of the day then the next day it got better.

It hurts about in the center or maybe a little to the right of center of my top of my ankle. I cant tell if its In the actual center of my foot… like maybe a vein or a tendon or a ligament that is torn or something. It feels painful and extremely weak as if someone took and twisted it, I could hardly walk. When I move my big toe up and down and you can see the “line” where it extends down your foot.. It seems a little to the right of that… down by my ankle…I fiigure that before when I first went to the doctor this time, my foot was so inflammed and swollen I coldnt even feel that, but with taking these anti-inflammation pills now I can really feel it. I wonder if I sholdve been walking around all this time for 2 months without some sort of a splint to keep my foot immobilized. It had stopped turning purple a couple of days while I was taking these new pills I found on the internet. But as soon as it started really hurting on that place, it immediately turned really purple again and I couldn’t hardly walk.

Also, for the last week or so, I can really feel places above and below both the inner and outer ankles on both feet, as if there were pinched nerves there. I looked on the internet under Tarsal tunnel syndrome and it sounds like that’s what it may be… at least part of the problem

then of course theres that place on the top center of both feet that feels like a pinched nerve or something. It feels like Ive got more than one problem.

AFTER NERVE TESTS ON APRIL 26 2006

The same night after I had my nerve tests done with Doctor Haas, my back was hurting a lot where it usually hurts, lower back. It hurt gradually more and more after I got home. I took some Voltarin and two generic Tylenol tablets.

I thought it was odd that my back hurt like it did because normally It seems to hurt from lying in bed a lot. Before this current foot problem, My back would always hurt when I’d wake up in the morning for maybe about a half hour after waking up each day and I’d have to bend over a few times, bend my back backwards, etc… then it would seem to be ok the rest of the day. Till this current foot problem and now it hurts all the time but the Voltarin relieves it.

The first time my back started really hurting after lying in bed so many days trying to stay off my feet, I took the Voltarin for the first time and rubbed some Aspercream on the place on my back before going to bed. I noticed the next morning the pain seemed to have moved over to the top of my butt. At least for the time being, which I thought was weird. But since then, it just hurts in the same old place in my lower back whenever it does hurt.

So anyway, it’s the day my nerve tests were done now and my back is killing me. It seemed like when I walked it hurt… The next morning, my hip joints were in terrible terrible pain to where I could barely even get out of bed in the morning, I feel like a cripple. (Im writing this right now).

My left hip joint is definitely the worst, painwise. The right one hurts too. I take note something unusual… When I first wake up my feet are NOT Ice cold like they have been. They should be cold because we havent had any heating oil the past few days and its 60 degrees in the house… so normally they’d of been ice cold. But this morning they arent. It has started out that my feet felt almost “normal” while my hip joints hurt like this… but it seemed my feet are gradually getting back to the way they were before.. as in they have all the same aches and pains as they have been having. After walking around a bit from the bed to the bathroom and to the kitchen a few time, etc… Im curious to see how the feet and hips will feel the rest of the day. I took Voltarin and a couple of Tylenols a bit ago around 7:00 in the morning.

ADDITIONS TO WHAT I TOLD DOCTOR HAAS WHEN QUESTIONED

I didn’t get to tell Dr Haas a few things which now I realize may have been important for me to say. Since my right foot has been doing many of the same things as my left foot, I have noticed that right in the joint of my butt it has been hurting just like it always did on my left hip joint. It also hurt around behind my knee a little bit above or below where the varicose vein is behind my knee… hard to tell exactly where it hurts, it seems like the same place that REALLY hurt behind my right knee where Doctor Haas had jolted me with the nerve test and we had to stop because it hurt so bad.

I had forgotten to tell the doctor that UNDER my ankle bone on my right Foot, it has been hurting and I especially notice when I put my tennis shoes on, I can feel it when I walk.

As far as when the doctor had asked me if my foot feels “tingling” and I said no… I really don’t know if I shouldve said no or not. Its hard to describe how it feels. I know my hands have had a strange feeling… and the left hand would feel a tingling sensation a few times during the week when I first came in that first night to see Doctor Song in Urgent Care.

I also upon reflection think I may have given Dr Haas the wrong idea about when she asked if I had constipation problems. Actually I have had problems with constipation for quite a while. But I would drink a couple of cups of coffee in the morning and it seemed to make me “go” regularly. But I havent been drinking any coffee ever since this happened a couple of months ago. And lately I have had more problems with being able to go to the bathroom and have had to take ducolax nearly every day, I shouldve told her that when she asked if there were any more medications I was taking but I didn’t think of it at the time. Sleeping at night is a big problem too, I used to go to sleep at 10:00 and wake up about 7:00 but since this happened I cant seem to manage to get to sleep till around 1:00 or 2:00 in the morning then I wake up about 6:00.

One other thing I shouldve mentioned to the doctor is that I can often “feel” waves going through my foot in intervals… like nerves quivering through or else maybe blood coursing through my veins. Its hard to tell, but I can feel it.

Hip Joints Problem

THE START OF THE PROBLEM

I have had a problem with my left hip join for years now. I cannot remember when it started. It couldve started when I had my foot injury 20 years ago, it couldve been my left hip joint that was really the problem, Im not sure.

It seemed like it would start hurting right in the center of my rear end like down my joint, it felt like a pinched nerve. It happened a lot if I would be standing in the kitchen and I’d turn around, pivoting, and not pick my foot up to turn around. Then I’d get a pinched nerve in my rear end and it would last for days then seem to subside and go away. But then it would re-occur. It would happen other places besides the kitchen… just if I’d move a certain way it would get the pinched nerve gain and stay that way for days.

THE BEGINNING OF MY LEFT FOOT PROBLEM

I noticed that when my left foot started hurting this time around, that my left rear end also was hurting. I tried telling the doctors that and asking if they’d look into that but nobody would listen to me and they acted like that had nothing to do with my foot problem. But it seemed strange to me that when my foot hurt, my hip hurt.

I also remember that about 6 months ago when we first moved into this new house, I had problems with my left hip joint and I felt my hip on the side right at the joint and it felt sore and so I decided to just feel the other side, my right side and was surprised that it was sore too. But I didn’t think anything of it at the time and just figured one day I’d probably start having the same problem of having a pinched nerve on the right side too. (Im not sure if it’s a pinched nerve that’s just what it feels like).

I noticed through the years that my back pain and left hip joint pain on the left butt seemed to get worse as I gained weight.

BACK X RAYS- SORE HIPS THE NEXT DAY

When this left foot problem had started this time around I went to see Doctor Nachtigall. The foot wasn’t turning purple the first visit yet. But anyway he wanted to do both a foot x ray and a back x ray.

I got up onto the high x ray table a couple of times and the nurse had me get into a fetal position with my hands tucked under my face and she pushed my rear end over to the spot she wanted me to be on, on the table.

The next morning, My hip joints, both left and right hips hurt terribly, I was realy surprised. My left one felt worse then the right… it hurt right on the hip but more in the front part, all over the place. The right one hurt in my butt and also like a pulled muscle or something all down my right leg to my knee area in the back of my leg. The pain subsided and went away though.

However, I realized today that when I went the very first time to see Dr Song in Urgent care,I had to get up and down onto a table that night but I didn’t have the problem with my hips hurting the next day. So Im thinking it was from tucking my knees into my stomach and then being pushed over on the table. It must be that it pulled the nerves like they are “stuck” in the wrong place or something.

ME TRYING TO PULL OUT THE PINCHED NERVE ON MY OWN

At one point when this had all started with my left foot and I kept feeling the pinched nerve on my left butt joint, someone had told me I could do hot and cold fomentations on my feet, meaning that you get a small towel and you dip it into hot water, wring it out and put it onto your foot for awhile then repeat using ice water.

So I got the idea to put the hot towel onto my left hip, hoping it might relieve it. When I did that I could feel the pinched nerve so distinctly that I took the towel and pushed it into where the nerve was and tried to pull it over towards my face to pull it out of there myself… It actually seemed to work, I did that several times with the hot wet towel, pushing it into my left hip and pulling it towards me. I hadnt felt the pinched nerve thing since then. Except when I saw Dr Haas , the day after the tests she did…

THE TESTS WITH DOCTOR HAAS

For a long time now, I think as long as my rear end has been hurting, I have also had a back pain problem. It would hurt when I’d first wake up in the morning for maybe about 30 minutes or so, I’d have to bend over and bend back… quite a few times every morning after a night’s sleep, then it would subside the rest of the day, unless I did something like going shopping and standing at the check out counter, it would make my lower back hurt in the same way and I’d have to bend over a few times to get it to feel better.

My back has been hurting in this same place since my foot problem but I thought it was because I have been laying in bed so much to avoid walking on my left foot.

On the evening when I had gotten back home after having tests done with Dr. Haas, I noticed my back hurt extra badly, where it usually hurts, my lower back… along my spine.

Now I can actually feel a distinct place along the left part of my spine… it feels kind of like a bruise… a straight hard line up and down there. It used to kind of be “all over the place” but now I can distinctly feel the place its sore there.

Then the next morning, both my hips, left and right, hurt extra specially badly. My right hip felt just like my left one did when my left foot started hurting and my left hip hurt really badly, worse then ever before… kind of “spread out” all over my hip joint, while the right one was a more centralized pain. When I had woke up in the morning I couldn’t believe how bad my hips hurt and I could barely walk to get to the bathroom and the kitchen.

I took my back pain medicine, Voltarin, along with a couple of tylenols… the pain gradually subsided by the end of the day and the next day my hips were pretty much back to “normal”.

Im not sure if this was due to the voltages shooting through all the nerves in my feet and leg… making me be able to feel where the original point were, my hips…. Or if it was due maybe to climbing up and down onto the high up examination table.

But I noticed, as I said, that when I first went to visit Dr Nachtigall, this happened too, when I climbed up and down onto the examination table but at that time I had been put into the fetal position and then moved over on the table… THAT time the next morning my hips both hurt badly… but then after that when I first went to see Dr Song t the urgent care place I had to climb up and down onto an examination table but I don’t remember having the hurting hips the next day. So Im not sure what caused it each time.

It seems almost like my foot problem HAS to have something to do with my hips because now I could see after my visit with Dr Haas, the next morning, that my hip pains correspond with the amount of pains in both my feet. Like, my right foot is painful and my right hip is painful… but my left foot is extra painful and my left hip is extra painful.

Not sure if my back has anything to do with all of this either.

I just know that when each foot started hurting to begin with, my corresponding hip was hurting. On my right hip though it always seems to be a little different though… pain on my right butt along with pain down my leg… both times…both when the foot pain first started AND after my dr visit with Doctor Haas the next morning, AND when I had first gone to see Dr Nachtigall the first time and had the back x ray and climbed onto the table, etc…

THIS MAKES SENSE TO ME NOW

This all would make sense to me if the hips are whats causing the corresponding foot pain in both feet. It would explain why I cant sit on the toilet, I cant sit in a chair, I cant sit in a chair at the kitchen table, or in the car… but I can walk upright and lay down flat…

You have to bend your hip joints to be able to sit down… that would explain why it would cut off circulation to my feet when I sit down. The very first time it started making my foot turn purple was when I would sit on the toilet. The toilet set is HARD. Right where my hip joint is. Then when one day I sat at my computer desk all day in my chair was when after that my foot would turn purple if I sat at my desk at all for even a few minutes.

It also makes sense to me, now that I think about it…. That with the wheel chair I have at home, If I sit in it only a few minutes my foot turns purple, whereas if I sit in a wheel chair at the hospital, it doesn’t turn purple. Its like the hardness or softness of the chair or maybe even just the height of the chair seems to make a difference probably because it is pressing on my butt nerve in a certain way.

TINGLING SENSATION

Doctor Haas has asked me if I felt any tingling sensations in my foot, and I don’t know if I answered that accurately. I have tingling sensations but more like when your foot goes to sleep… how that feels. Lots of times I can actually feel the inside of my foot “quivering” through it… like in “waves”… I don’t know if that’s a nerve or if its blood coursing through my veins or what, but I feel that A LOT. It quivers through there then stops… starts and stops over and over again.

I have had a definite tingling sensation in my left hand quite a few times during this whole thing. But that seems to have gone away after I started taking the Voltarin back pain medicine. The tingling was especially bad around the time I went to see Doctor Song…

Answer:

I'm sorry, but it sounds like your problem is more extensive than what can be addressed in a general forum like this one. You may want to seek a second opinion if you are not satisfied with what you are being told by your current health care provider.

For more information:

Go to the Athletic Training health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Mark  A Merrick, PhD, ATC Mark A Merrick, PhD, ATC
Associate Professor
School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences
The Ohio State University