Foot

Definition

Foot pain is common. Foot pain refers to any pain or discomfort in one or more parts of the foot. The pain can range from mild to severe, and it may last a short time or be an ongoing issue. These parts may include the:

  • toes
  • heels
  • arches
  • soles

Risk Factors/Causes

Foot pain can occur due to certain lifestyle choices or a medical condition.

One of the main causes of foot pain is wearing shoes that don’t fit properly. Wearing high-heeled shoes can often cause foot pain because they place a great deal of pressure on the toes.

You can also develop foot pain if you become injured during high-impact exercise or sports activities, such as jogging or intense aerobics. Your feet are especially susceptible to the pain that occurs due to arthritis. Diabetes can also cause complications and several disorders of the feet.

People with diabetes are more prone to:

  • foot ulcers or sores
  • nerve damage in the feet
  • clogged or hardened arteries in the legs and feet

You’re also more at risk for having foot pain if you:

  • are overweight
  • are obese
  • are pregnant
  • have a foot injury such as a sprain, fracture, or tendinitis

Other potential causes of foot pain include:

  • corns
  • calluses
  • bunions
  • warts
  • ingrown toenails
  • medications that cause swelling of the feet
  • neuromas, which are growths or tumors of the nerve tissue
  • hammer toes
  • athlete’s foot
  • Haglund’s deformity, which is an enlargement of the back of the heel
  • peripheral arterial disease
  • fallen arches
  • plantar fasciitis
  • arthritis of the joints
  • gout, especially affecting the great toe

Symptoms

Foot pain, prolonged discomfort, redness or swelling. You should seek medical help if you have foot pain that hasn’t resolved after a week or two of at-home treatment.

Diagnosis

Your doctor will performing a foot and leg exam. An x-ray may be ordered.

Treatment

The treatment for your condition depends on the cause. For some people, something as simple as shoe inserts can provide a great deal of relief. Other people may need:

  • a cast
  • wart removal
  • surgery
  • physical therapy

Home Treatments

  • Apply ice to the affected area.
  • Take an over-the-counter pain reliever.
  • Use foot pads to prevent rubbing on the affected area.
  • Elevate the foot that’s causing you to have pain.
  • Rest your foot as much as possible.

Prevention

Follow these tips to help prevent ongoing foot pain:

  • Choose comfortable, roomy, and well-cushioned shoes.
  • Avoid shoes with large heels and narrow toe areas.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Stretch before engaging in vigorous exercise.
  • Practice good foot hygiene.
  • Always wear footwear when you’re outdoors to protect your feet.

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