Tamoxifen - Heel pain link?

I’ve seen a few people here say that tx causes pain in the feet, particularly heel area.

I’ve suffered severe heel pain (been seeing a surgeon who administered steriod injections to achilles and plantar ligagment) to try to treat what feels like painful plantar fasitus (spelling, oops).

How many of us are suffering crippling, painful conditions from taking this drug. I was fine for the first year on hormone therapy, then, boom, cant walk, sit or sleep without pain and dont know when its going to end.

Is this what we have to endure until we stop the pills? Has anyone found a treatment that copes with it during hormone treatment years?

Hi 00Jan, it is a relief to know that the heel pain i’ve been suffering with is linked to tx. I’m not in pain all of the time only when i get up from sitting down. I find myself hobbling about for the first 20 or so steps then i’m absolutely fine. Does anyone have any tips on alleviating the symptoms?
Big hugs to all.

Hi Stella

Thanks for letting me know I’m not alone. I’ve asked every doc I see “is it tx thats doing this?”, but non-one will answer the question except with “maybe”.

I jut wish they’d confirm one way or the other. So if it is, just say, yeah this is something you have to put up with till the therapy years are done, and then we can just deal with it instead of doing the rounds looking for cures (which I’m beginning to think wont happen).

Having steriods injected was not ideal and hasnt really helped, so any other advice out there would be much appreciated.


Thanks Stella xx

Hi 00jan and Stella - I too am suffering from the heel pain you both describe, especially you Stella. First thing in the morning is particuarly bad going to loo and then down stairs. Have only been taking tamoxifen since 1st April and it started pretty soon after that. I had been putting down to the extra weight I put on during chemo, together with extra pain in fingers and sometimes toes. Everything I read says tamox does not cause joint pain so am quite relieved to hear that it is not my imagination. Am using gel and memory foam heel inserts and bought shoes with extra padding in soles which gives a little relief and allows me to walk further.
Will be interested to hear from anyone else with similar symtoms. Best wishes to all Marli

I have had a problem with pain in my feet since the last week of rads, so can’t really put it down to Tax (only been taking it a week anyway). I just hope it doesn’t get worse with Tax. At the moment I am not too bad walking, but if I have to stand still for more than a minute or two I get really aching ankles and once it has started nothing seems to help. I start herceptin on Wednesday so I am going to ask for advise.

I have what i would describe as concrete boot feet in the mornings (cannot bend them at all until been to the bathroom and back, waddling) and terrible heel pain like they have been hit with hammers. GP thought my achilles tendon was coming off. Guess what the concrete boots disappeared the morning after my last tamoxifen tablet. Literally as soon as I switched to femara the stiffness in my feet and at times other joints went immediately. The heel pain is better and improving but not gone yet. I am seeing a podiatrist and he doesn’t know what to do and is just prescribing gel soles to put in shoes etc.
Good luck
Lily x

I get the same on Arimidex - so don’t ask to change to Arimidex. I’ve been on it for 4 years with no let up!

Christiane x

Yes me too, I developed heel pain whilst on Tamoxifen and it was worse with Arimidex. Tip that helped me, first thing, before you get out of bed straighten legs and flex feet so toes are turned up and towards you…hold for 30 seconds…I hope that makes sense! It helped me to do this after a nights sleep, it was less of a hobble to the bathroom. If you ‘google’ plantar fasciitis exercises there are lots of other little tips.

I have this heel pain too - it sounds a lot like plantar fasciitus, which I also had before bc, caused by wearing driving shoes and birkenstocks. Why the drugs should cause it is curious. But if it is the same thing, it can be helped by stretches and wearing shoes with a small heel - totally flat shoes will exacerbate it. It is usually worst first thing in the morning and after driving.

For the stretches - stand on a step with your heels hanging over, and gently drop your heels below the level of the step until you can feel the muscles stretching at the back of your calf. Do this 10 times, 3 times a day. If it is plantar fasciitus, you will feel almost immediate relief from the stretches. There are some good websites describing the condition with all the stretches illustrated. Good luck ladies - it’s bad enough dealing with bc without feeling like a 90 year old every time you try to walk.

Have read some site regarding plantar fasciitus and they describe exactly my symptoms - could have written it myself… One interesting fact was as well as being caused by injury, it can also result from being overweight (yes!). wearing flat shoes (yes!)and resuming activity after a period of rest (yes!). As my chemo was during the winter and I was confined to the house for 4 weeks due to snow wearing flat slippers I think I have now found the cause. The exercises sound very doable and have started them already, so here’s hoping for some relief.
Thank you finty and belinda for pointing me in the right direction.

thanks I tried it out and it seems I have that too from your exercise test. My podiatrist is just prsecribing heel gel insoles. He syas be careful of losing weight as you can also lose more fat from the padding under your feet which makes that hard impact worse. he has seen this in many patients he said. Not sure how to overcome that now. Thanks for help and will be doing crazy stretches on the stairs every day
Lily x

Th other thing that helps plantar fasciitus is wearing MBT’s or similar shoes - takes the pressure of the heal while it recovers.

I am coming late to this thread because my bc was not hormone positive so I wasn’t on tamoxifen. Some years ago though I did suffer from plantar fasciitus. I had lived with this pain for a few years! and like some of you I googled and found the exact description of my pain. It wasn’t just on getting up in the morning - it was every time I sat down and relaxed and then stood up again. The surgeon explained to me that once it reached that stage every time you stood up the ligaments tore at where they were attached and pulled away fragments of bone (not sure if I am remembering this accurately). He made a mould for a pair of insoles to my own feet and explained it would take as long to mend as it had been with me. I wore these insoles faithfully - in flat shoes and sure enough after about 3yrs I was able to stop using them. Haven’t had any problems since. It used to be known years ago as policemans heel! and I think the reason mine got so bad is that we were running our own business - a bonsai nursery and I was on my feet much of the day walking on hard ground. (pounding the pavements) I think this sort of activity exacerbates the condition. I wonder if there are many others here who have suffered with it but not taken tamoxifen - haven’t read the thread because of the title?


Well ladies, you have told me and shared with us all, all of the bits and pieces which put this together…that hormone therapy, tamox and arimidex and femarara (all of whichI’ve tried at some point) are affecting our mobility, joints and generally wellbeing and pain/ When you read the leaflets of the drugs they say these are “uncommon effects”. Uncommon, my arse what they mean is these are the unpleasant ones we dont like to own up to.

So. 2 steriod injections later, I’ve started to realize that there isnt much point trying to take on board a “normal person’s” treatment plan. The foot specialist I saw know nothing about oncology and what impactd these drugs are making…so whats the point.

At present I am wearing Sketchers Shapeu Ups, cos they have the bounciest, most thickest soles on a trainer I’ve seen avail. And every time I wear them (every day), the pain lessens a bit and my calves are starting to look much curvier now… good benefit.

Thanks for every bit of info shared and gained from … J x

I am so glad to have found this thread…I thought I was the only one suffering with this. My feet are so sore especially on the heel area…some nights it is so bad I have to lay my feet on a pillow so they don’t touch the mattress!

I have been on Femara for 9 months and had this pain about 2 months. I have made an appt with my GP today for a referral to podiatry, although it does seem pretty futile!

I walk about 2 hours a day with the dog and spend a lot of time at work and at home on my feet…and as someone else said the added pounds gained don’t help either.

I will try the exercises - anything to help as it is so painful.

Hi Pheebster - I have been doing the exercises for almost three weeks now, as well as using heel cushions and avoiding flat shoes and think I feel some improvement. Stretching calf muscles before getting out of bed def. helps walking first thing on a morning. Would recommend giving them a try. Best of luck. Marli x

I am so glad I found this link! I have been suffering really bad heel pains - MUCH worse in the mornings and fater sitting for a while. Waddling about like an old lady. Also very stiff fingers and wrists, painful feet and stiff knees. I have have swelling of my wrists and bad night cramps. When I suggested to my doctor it might be the tamoxifen , they weren’t too convinced and didn’t really suggest anything. I am taking quinine for the cramps and that seems to help as well as lots of stretches before I get out of bed. I feel like such an old lady and I’m only 41!
It is so nice to know I am not alone!


just an update after my latest trip to the podiatrist. I had also been to America for 2 weeks touring and was able to be much more explicit about the pain and exactly where it was and that it is restricting my mobility now. I also told him all about your mutual problems. He also gave me stretching exercises which I am supposed to do 3 times each day for a minute working up to 2 minutes. He thought the dipping on the stairs rather brutal and said to stand on a poice of board with one end raised up by an inch and later go up to 2 inches. I have to stand on the lower part and lift my toes up towards me. I also have to turn my foot very slightly inwards as I do it. He says the condition makes you turn your feet out onto the right side of your foot just a bit more than usual and that causes the pain and trouble and affects the calf muscle. He has 4 people ahead of me who are all benefiting they say. Worth a try i guess.
Good luck to all with sore feet/heels

Hi Lily
Glad you are getting some help. I think my comment about the step exercise might have been a bit ambiguous! I didn’t mean drop your heals the whole depth of the step - just an inch or two below the bit you are standing on.
finty xx

Hi finty,
I was fine with your step part and pleased you posted it as it led to my improvement. Prob me not describing it to the pod.