woman holding her feet, medicine for sore feet

Arthritis hurts. Different people find the pain hits their joints in a very particular individual pattern, but when a joint hurts, you want relief. What will ease your joint pain? One reader found that taking medicine for sore feet resulted in a completely different problem.

Medicine for Sore Feet:

Q. The podiatrist said the pain in my feet is arthritis. Tylenol and ibuprofen worked wonders for a while.

After the season changed from winter to spring, I didn’t think I needed those drugs, so I stopped taking them. Mistake! I was immediately hit with rebound headaches, including rebound migraines with flashes of light in my eyes.

I hadn’t had headaches to start with, so I was surprised to develop them when I stopped the pain relievers. Now I’d like to know what I can take for my sore feet that won’t cause me trouble?

Stopping Pain Relievers Suddenly Can Trigger Rebound Headaches:

A. Daily use of pain relievers like aspirin, ibuprofen or acetaminophen puts people at risk for rebound headaches when they stop the medicines suddenly. This syndrome has been termed medication overuse headache (Walter, Journal of Pain & Palliative Care Pharmacotherapy, online Feb. 4, 2016). Doctors usually think of it as a complication of treatment for head pain, but rheumatologists also see it in situations like yours.

How to Avoid Medication Overuse Headaches:

Headache specialists often suggest limiting analgesic use to no more than two days a week (Tepper, Continuum, Aug. 2012).  Since your feet may hurt every day, you might want to try orthotics in your shoes. This approach frequently eases foot pain.

Other Approaches Instead of Medicine for Sore Feet:

Anti-inflammatory supplements such as ashwagandha, boswellia, curcumin or ginger are often helpful. You can learn more about these nondrug approaches to alleviating arthritis pain in our online Guide to Alternatives for Arthritis. You might also be interested in two recent radio interviews. We talked with Beth Jonas, MD, about arthritis in Show 1076.  In Show 1070, we discussed foot pain and how to relieve it with podiatrist Georgeanne Botek.

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  1. Janet
    Falmouth, MA

    I believe that no matter what you use, after a while it wears off. Until they find a cure for this condition, just use what works at the time.

  2. Ellie
    Cary, NC

    I would take MSM and forget all NSAIDS. Arthritis will be under control within three days after taking it in the morning and before sleep. Add Vitamin C for strong repairs. You will need to take this for a few years to repair all joints in the body and then use it more infrequently.

  3. JUdith P
    Boone nc

    I often wonder why you don’t say more about neuromuscular massage when you talk about any kind of body pain.. I am 74 and get a massage 2x a month. I rarely every hurt. My massage therapist ‘healed” an almost frozen shoulder and has released muscles that were were so tight from from a twisted fall, that they moved bones in my feet. This painful, but fixed in 2 sessions with an accurate diagnosis that the problem was leg muscles, not foot muscles. Why not interview massage therapists who do Integrative Neuromuscular massage, Trigger point and Myofascial Release Therapies.

  4. Louise
    Houston, TX.

    Try shoes with memory foam insoles. They have been a God-send for me with painful feet and toes. Skechers has walking shoes in several colors.

  5. Carol

    As a cashier, I stood on my feet 8 hours daily. There were multiple fatigue mats, but after a couple of hours, no longer offered relief. I have arthritis and bone spurs in my feet and was considering surgery. The ortho doc recommended firm arch support and extra padding. This helped a great deal for several years. My arch did not flex with the supports which limited movement around the bone spurs. I then had a procedure at the foot clinic that used sound wave pulses. It bought me two more years of relief. I took a lot of pain meds as well, Tylenol, Aleve, ibuprofen, meloxicam, and Tramadol. I was coming straight home from work and going to bed to get off my feet. Heat, ice, soaking, massage, liniments, support socks for my feet and legs. Anything to get relief. I suffered through until I could retire. Didn’t want to but the pain was unbearable. The first month I stayed on the couch. It seems to be an extreme amount of rest but apparently that was what I needed. Six months later I can walk around the house barefooted. I definitely recommend the arch supports, extra padding, and the treatments at the foot clinic. Retirement was the best thing I could have done for my RA and bone spurs.

  6. Ann

    Why is it that they have never found a cure for arithritis?….They can find a cure for a life threaten illness that threatens a large amount of people. Could it be,Because there is so much money made of Arithritis?

  7. Martha Roberts
    Centennial, Colorado

    In early December, 2016, my left foot completely collapsed.
    It was extraordinarily painful! The orthopedic specialist I saw said the MRI showed serious degenerative arthritis, swollen bones! and ligaments. [Cause was from adapting to congenital club feet] Wearing a brace daily has been an enormous help, but… at night I’ve been covering my foot with Castor Oil, putting a sock over it, and going to sleep with a heated bag over the ankle. The swelling and pain have
    decreased significantly; the ankle is stronger; and I am more comfortable. I have used Castor Oil for many ‘hurts’ and believe it is a true ‘healing’ oil.

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