Foot Pain

Table of contents



Foot pain refers to pain felt in any part of the foot, from the Achilles heel at the back of your heel, through to the ends of your toes. Given how much weight-bearing our feet do, it is common for your feet to sometimes cause pain or be injured.


What causes foot pain?

The most common causes of foot pain are injury, overuse or conditions that cause inflammation in the bones, muscles, tendons or ligaments in the foot.

Conditions or injuries that affect the nerves in the feet can also cause pain and discomfort and be extremely difficult to diagnose the issues as there is often no obvious “damage” to your foot which is more common with other foot related conditions.

Conditions such as gout and rheumatoid and osteoarthritis arthritis can cause pain in the joints of the feet and toes. Diabetes can also cause damage to the nerves in the feet and foot ulcers. Other common causes of foot pain include fractures and stress fractures, bunions, ingrown toenails, corns and calluses, plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendinitis or rupture.


What are the symptoms of foot pain?

As there are many different causes of foot pain, the symptoms will differ from one condition to another, however, any pain in any part of your foot, including your toes, is the main symptom of foot pain.

Pain may be in the arch of your foot, along the outside of the foot, on the sole of your foot, in the ball of your foot, in your toes, heels, or ankle.

The type of pain can also vary significantly. A damaged nerve in your foot can lead to a pins and needles sensation whereas a broken toe is likely to lead to a much sharper pain. You can also experience a burning sensation or inflammation in the affected area of the foot.


Types of foot pain

There are multiple types of foot pains including:

Progressive pain

A pain that develops over time and is often accompanied by other symptoms.

Chronic pain

Lasts longer from weeks to months and can be periodic.

Acute pain

Acute pain begins suddenly and is usually sharp in quality.


How can foot pain be treated?

Mild foot pain can usually be helped with home treatments. If your injury is due to overuse; rest and cold therapy using an ice pack for 15 minutes at a time, several times a day with pain relief can help.

If, however, you have signs of an infection including pus, redness, swelling and tenderness; you cannot walk on your foot, you have severe pain or swelling or suspect a fracture, you should seek help from a health professional. If you suffer from diabetes, you should check foot pain and injury with your doctor.

Podiatrists, physiotherapists and sports physicians can also help to diagnose issues with your feet, helping to diagnose the problem and recommend a course of action to treat the condition.

Sometimes it will be necessary to carry out scans of the foot and this might include an X-ray, CT scan, MRI scan, ultrasound or bone scan.

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