Wound Care

8 Common Causes of Foot Pain

8 Common Causes of Foot Pain

Posted On: November 21, 2022

In the US, about 87% of people have painful feet at some time in their lives. One in three people over the age of 65 has foot pain, aching feet, or stiffness. If you experience daily foot problems, don’t hesitate to visit a podiatrist.

Here are eight common causes of foot pain you might want to discuss with your doctor. Reviewing these conditions can help you determine if it’s time to seek treatment.

Read on to learn about the most common foot problems today.

1. Plantar Fasciitis

Active men and women between the ages of 40 and 70 are at the highest risk of developing plantar fasciitis. It’s one of the most common causes of heel plan.

Plantar fasciitis causes inflammation and irritation of the plantar fascia—a band of connective tissue that spans the sole of your foot.

You could experience foot pain that feels worse when you first step out of bed. You might feel better when you start moving, though dull pain can persist throughout the day.

You could develop plantar fasciitis due to:

  • Very high arches
  • Obesity
  • Prolonged standing
  • Walking barefoot
  • Weak foot muscles
  • Flat feet
  • Improper running footwear

Many people with plantar fasciitis also develop heel spurs (more on this below), which can cause additional pain.

Check in with your podiatrist to determine if you have plantar fasciitis. They might recommend applying ice, stretching, and reducing activity. Physical therapy, postural support, and NSAIDs could help relieve your foot pain, too.

Otherwise, your doctor might recommend steroid injections or surgery.

2. Metatarsalgia

Pain in the ball of your foot could indicate you’ve developed metatarsalgia. This condition develops when ligaments connecting the metatarsal bones no longer have enough support.

You could experience a sharp pain in the bottom of the ball of your foot. Pain sometimes occurs near the area where the toes connect with the foot.

You could develop this condition due to overuse, wearing shoes with poor cushioning, or abnormal foot mechanics.

Wearing metatarsal pads could ease your pain. Otherwise, surgery is an option.

3. Achilles Tendonitis

Achilles tendonitis is an inflammation of the Achilles tendon. If the tendon becomes overused or overstressed, you can develop tendonitis. Symptoms include an aching or burning sensation.

You might notice warmth, swelling, or stiffness, too.

You could develop this condition due to:

  • Flat feet
  • Tight calf muscles
  • Training in cold weather
  • Leg length differences
  • Wearing improper footwear

Your podiatrist might recommend rest, ice, and taking an NSAID. Lift orthotics and physical therapy could help, too.

If they suspect an Achilles tendon rupture, they might order an MRI first. This problem can develop if the tendon fibers tear and separate. In some cases, you might need surgical repair for an Achilles tendon rupture.

4. Morton’s Neuroma

Morton’s neuroma can cause a sharp, burning pain in the ball of your foot. You might notice a shooting pain that spreads between two toes.

Shoe inserts could decrease pressure on the toe bones to ease your symptoms. If the pain doesn’t go away, your podiatrist might recommend steroid injections instead. Surgery may be a treatment option if conservative methods do not relieve the pain.

5. Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome

Tarsal tunnel syndrome is the compression of your posterior tibial nerve.

In addition to pain, you might also experience burning, tingling, or numbness. Pain could radiate from inside your ankle into the arch and sole of the foot. Symptoms could get worse at night before traveling up your calf.

You could develop tarsal tunnel syndrome due to a sprained ankle or burn spur. People with flat feet are more prone to developing this condition, too.

Your doctor might recommend a brace, custom shoe inserts, or steroid injections.

6. Heel Spurs

Heel spurs are bony growths that usually develop under the heel where it connects to tissue along the length of the foot. When this tissue becomes overused or stretched due to excess weight or ill-fitting shoes, it can become inflamed. The tissue could pull on the bone, causing extra bone to develop.

Your podiatrist might recommend:

  • Steroid injections
  • Custom orthotics to off-load the spur
  • Supportive, well-fitting shoes
  • Rest and intermittent icing
  • Stretching exercises

In some cases, however, they might recommend surgery.

7. Bunions

Bunions are hard bumps that develop on the bottom joint of your big toe. They can form when the toe is pulled toward the rest of the foot. For example, perhaps the shape of your foot or tight shoes caused a bunion to develop.

When it becomes inflamed, the bunion can feel sore and tender to the touch.

Your doctor might recommend you wear shoes that won’t press on your big toe. You can also keep your toes flexible with specific stretches. Otherwise, try ice to ease the pain and swelling.

There are also minimally invasive surgical options available for bunions,

8. Diabetic Foot Pain

Over time, high blood sugar can damage your nerves. Many diabetics experience neuropathy, or nerve pain, in the feet as a result. Symptoms include stinging or burning sensations, weakness, and tingling.

Some diabetics also develop foot ulcers at the bottom of their teeth. Diabetic nerve damage can cause numbness, leaving you unaware of other foot problems that can develop.

If you have diabetes, schedule a routine appointment with your local podiatrist to catch potential problems before they develop further.

Heel to Toe: Talk to Your Podiatrist to End Your Foot Pain

If these foot problems sound familiar, don’t keep struggling through the day in pain. Instead, visit a local podiatrist to discuss your foot pain. With their help, you can begin the proper course of treatment right away.

Visiting a board-certified professional could help you avoid complications down the road.

Eager to get started? We’re here to help.

Contact our offices today to schedule your next appointment.