Definition


Your foot is an intricate network of bones, ligaments, tendons and muscles. Strong enough to bear your body weight, your foot can be prone to injury and pain.

Foot pain can affect any part of your foot, from your toes to your Achilles tendon at the back of your heel.

Although mild foot pain often responds well to home treatments, it can take time to resolve. Your doctor should evaluate severe foot pain, especially if it follows an injury.

Causes


Injury, overuse or conditions causing inflammation involving any of the bones, ligaments or tendons in the foot can cause foot pain. Arthritis is a common cause of foot pain. Injury to the nerves of the feet may result in intense burning pain, numbness or tingling (peripheral neuropathy).

Some common causes of foot pain include:

  1. Achilles tendinitis
  2. Achilles tendon rupture
  3. Avulsion fracture
  4. Bone spurs
  5. Broken foot
  6. Broken toe
  7. Bunions
  8. Bursitis (joint inflammation)
  9. Corns and calluses
  10. Diabetic neuropathy (nerve damage caused by diabetes)
  11. Flatfeet
  12. Gout (arthritis related to excess uric acid)
  13. Haglund's deformity
  14. Hammertoe and mallet toe
  15. High heels or poorly fitting shoes
  16. Ingrown toenails
  17. Metatarsalgia
  18. Morton's neuroma
  19. Osteoarthritis (disease causing the breakdown of joints)
  20. Osteomyelitis (a bone infection)
  21. Paget's disease of bone
  22. Peripheral neuropathy
  23. Plantar fasciitis
  24. Plantar warts
  25. Psoriatic arthritis
  26. Raynaud's disease
  27. Reactive arthritis
  28. Retrocalcaneal bursitis
  29. Rheumatoid arthritis (inflammatory joint disease)
  30. Septic arthritis
  31. Stress fractures
  32. Tarsal tunnel syndrome
  33. Tendinitis
  34. Tumors

When to see a doctor


Even relatively mild foot pain can be quite debilitating, at least at first. It is usually safe to try simple home remedies for a while.

Seek immediate medical attention if you:

  • Have severe pain or swelling
  • Have an open wound or a wound that is oozing pus
  • Have signs of infection, such as redness, warmth and tenderness in the affected area or you have a fever over 100 F (37.8 C)
  • Are unable to walk or put weight on your foot
  • Have diabetes and have any wound that isn't healing or is deep, red, swollen or warm to the touch

Schedule an office visit if you:

  • Have persistent swelling that doesn't improve at all after two to five days of home treatment
  • Have persistent pain that doesn't improve after several weeks
  • Have burning pain, numbness or tingling, particularly involving most or all of the bottom of your foot

Self-care

If your foot pain is due to an injury or overuse, it will often respond well to rest and cold therapy. Avoid activities that can worsen your foot pain, and put ice on your foot for 15 to 20 minutes several times a day. Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications will also help with pain and may help with healing.

Even with the best of care, you may have some foot stiffness or pain, particularly first thing in the morning or after you've been active, for several weeks. If you are unsure of the cause of your foot pain, or if it is widespread or involving both feet, and particularly if you have diabetes, see your doctor before trying home remedies.


Avascular necrosis

Broken foot

Broken toe

Buerger's disease

Diabetic neuropathy

Fibromuscular dysplasia

Flatfeet

Metatarsalgia

Psoriatic arthritis

Sacroiliitis