When fibromyalgia affects the lower part of the body, this is somewhat different than upper body pain due to the weight bearing nature of both legs and feet. Although this is just one area of the body affected, I rarely meet a person with fibromyalgia who does not have some kind of leg and/or fibromyalgia foot pain. Fibromyalgia foot pain can be exacerbated by multiple trigger points in the lower body, overactive nerves, and even ongoing weakness in the legs, knees, and ankles.
Balance Your Sitting, Standing,
or Lying Time
The interesting thing about fibromyalgia pain in many parts of the body including the lower quadrant and feet, is that it doesn’t really matter whether you are sitting, standing or lying down. Each of these daily activities of living has its very own disadvantage to the fibro body. We often hear about restless leg syndrome, but what about restless feet and toes? Overactive nerves in the feet can lead to restless feelings in the feet and the need to tap or move the toes, especially in the morning.
Too much of any one activity or too long being sedentary can increase symptoms. Standing can increase throbbing types of pain whereas lying down for extended periods (even eight hours of sleeping) can contribute to nerve pain and myofascial constriction in the feet, extending into the ankles, calves and tender areas around the knees.
Foot Structure Affects Fibromyalgia
Again, because of the weight bearing nature of our feet, we have to be even more diligent about caring for and addressing this part of the fibro body. There are different types of foot structures that can also contribute to fibromyalgia foot pain. These range from high or low arch to plantar fasciitis, plantar warts and Morton’s toe.
Not that all of these are connected to fibromyalgia, but when we have fibro, these can increase the propensity to pain and symptoms in the feet. For instance, if you have a high arch, this can increase pain not only within the bottom of the arch, but also on the very top of the feet (under the shoelace area) therefore exacerbating fibromyalgia foot pain.
Swap Out Shoes During The Day
Even if you wear the most comfortable shoes during the day, it is a good idea to switch out shoes during any given day. Have at least 2 pairs of comfortable shoes that you can rotate such as both fitness and leisure. I find rotating shoes can make a difference in levels of foot pain and adapting to any one shoe.
Wearing orthotic inserts or getting them custom made by a foot doctor can also greatly support us when we have fibromyalgia foot pain. I always add my own orthotic inserts to my athletic shoes for extra support and comfort. Wearing (breaking in) new shoes can cause increased pain and even flares. Break them in slowly. Never wear new shoes for extended periods of time. Even the new tread on the bottom of athletic shoes can be “jarring” to the body.
You may need to also avoid sandals with a wedge in between the big toe and second toe, this can be very uncomfortable and cause toe pain during and after wearing these kind of sandals.
Use Myofascial Release Techniques
As nice as it sounds to walk on a beach or on the grass barefoot, this can be difficult for people with very sensitive feet and/or overactive nerves in the feet. If you find it difficult due to a high arch or myofascial constriction, work on the under sides of your feet as often as possible. Fascia can be released with a foot relaxer or a tennis ball. Reflexology on the feet is also a great idea as it will help to relax the entire body. It can be done either by a trained reflexologist or by yourself. Be sure to go slow.
The great advantage to reflexology is that we can positively affect other areas of the body that correspond to certain pressure points. For instance, with any GI pain or congestion, I find that holding those specific points under the feet (middle underside of the foot) can really relax the GI system, which has a nervous system of its own and therefore can greatly benefit from this relaxing work.
Keep the feet warm when possible (especially with nerve pain) and try the foot bath below for greater circulation.
Copper Wear Compression
Here in the adjacent picture, I show one of my favorites, copper wear compression ankle sleeve. This foot/ankle sleeve fits gently over the foot and the copper is healing. It provides very slight hugging compression and support for increased blood flow and oxygen flow around these vulnerable areas of the fibro body.
These are great for everyday use or to sleep in. If you are like me and wake with burning or nerve issues in your feet, these feet/ankle sleeves are well worth a try to at least reduce the severity of symptoms. Also helpful for restless feet and toes. We depend on our feet so we must give them as much care as possible.
Also, I have a very high arch and I’ve found the Strutz Cushioned Arch Supports to be very helpful as well as inexpensive. Great arch supporters!
- Instant support and lasting comfort
- Promotes balance and body alignment
- Wear with any shoe – even barefoot
- One size fits most and unisex
Be Selective With Socks
When it comes to socks, be sure to wear socks that have enough friction inside the shoe so that your foot does not slide in your shoes, as this can cause over compensation, foot fatigue and increase the propensity to fibromyalgia foot pain in a shorter amount of time.
You see, socks that are too soft can cause the feet to move around in the shoe.
However, we also want to choose socks that have a greater amount of cushioning on the bottom, and even though it might not be fashionable, make your own fashion statement as I do by wearing light ankle socks with your sandals if needed. Sensitive feet and sandals do not always get along.
Cross training socks and running socks are great because they provide that extra cushioning on the bottom of the sock right where we need it.
As previously mentioned, and to emphasize the point, it is a good idea to switch out shoes during the day. Even your favorite leisure shoes can become uncomfortable if worn for longer periods. The idea is to not put the feet in any one position for too long. Some fitness shoes or running shoes can have higher heel dimensions, and although great for running or walking, we need to change shoes after exercise to avoid over compensation and fatigue.
Fibro-Girl’s Foot Bath Is A
Finally, a good remedy I use is a “foot bath”.
(This can be done in a full bath OR as a foot bath in warm water)
· 2-3 cups Epsom salt (one cup for foot bath only)
· ½ cup sea salt (or baking soda for most cost effective)
· 2-3 Tbsp. ginger root powder
The combination of salt and magnesium here works to balance and calm the foot nerves, while the ginger root powder helps to decrease inflammation in the body.
NOTE: People often ask if whole ginger root can be used, however, for this application, the ginger root powder is better dispersed in the water and therefore more easily utilized by the body.
The foot bath can be just as effective when a full bath is not an option. We absorb well through our feet, and this can also be more cost effective when less salts and ingredients are used.