This is one weird, but horrible, pain I’ve got. I first had this about a year ago. It came out of the blue and was a sharp stabbing pain, like a dagger. The location was odd as well – right on the top of my foot where my leg meets my foot. The pain was so strong that I wasn’t sure if it was also on the side of my foot – the lateral outside side mostly. It would be extremely strong, enough to knock the wind out of me, and then it might pulsate a bit, but then go away completely within a minute or two. It might come back again in a minute, or not come back for an hour or two.
I had never had pain like this and it was particularly worrisome because I had no idea if it might be something that would affect my ability to walk around. My job won’t allow me to wear a boot or cast, or use crutches.
It was annoying, because it might disappear completely for a few hours. Nothing in particular seemed to stimulate it. I had no bruising or point tenderness. Moving my ankle around didn’t seem to ever trigger it. I did notice that, for whatever reason, it seemed to occur within a minute after going to the bathroom – but not every time. When it was completely gone, I couldn’t imagine calling a doctor to have it evaluated. When it was present, I was in excrutiating pain. It was almost like a severe cramp – like when you get a charlie horse in your calf. I kept debating whether I would call a doctor or not, and then I tried to figure out what kind of doctor to see. It seems the ankle is mostly dealt with by podiatrists, but I figured an orthopedic surgeon who specializes in the lower leg would be better at unusual pains (although maybe this isn’t that unusual to a foot specialist).
I managed to find some local orthopedic surgeons who specialize in the foot and ankle and I left the messages as my pain peaked during the weekend (of course).
Based on all of the things I read, and what I know, I figured it was most likely some sort of a nerve related pain, possibly even a referred pain from my back. The relationship to using the bathroom made me wonder if somehow there was some irritation of a nerve near my bladder, or worsened from the slight straining that goes with using the bathroom.
The pain seemed to gradually get less frequent, and the surgeons’ offices never called me back (what’s up with that?). Then one day it just was gone. I figured that it most likely must have been an irritated nerve, and whatever was irritating it (swelling somewhere?) must have resolved. Of course not having an explanation wasn’t too satisfying, and there was always the question of if and when it would come back.
Fast forward to today. I’m doing my usual routine, going out for lunch. After lunch I get in my car and start driving back to my office. All of a sudden, OUCH, horrific stabbing pain in my left ankle. It was so strong that I actually pulled my car over and got out to see if I could get it to subside. It did lessen a bit at times, only to come back very sharp and even pulsating at times. The weird thing is that I was able to walk on it without it getting any worse, but the pain was so strong it was hard to walk in general.
After about 10-15 minutes it was gone – completely. I had absolutely no pain, no matter how I moved my ankle or where I pushed on it.
That was about 10 hours ago and it hasn’t come back. I’m sure it will at some point and eventually I’ll need to get it evaluated by a specialist. I’m wondering how they would even go about evaluating it – especially if the pain isn’t present when I see the doctor.
So – for now I’m just in a wait and see mode. If it comes back, I’ll probably start with my primary care doctor / internist, as I’m sure he’ll know a good specialist and he can probably get me in quickly. With my luck, it will probably happen Saturday afternoon when it’ll be tough to reach anyone to evaluate it without going to the emergency room – which is the last place I’d want to try to sort out what is going on.