FAQ’s on Foot Pain

What is Foot Pain?

Pain in the foot is one of the most ailments a patient can have. The foot is comprised of a large number of interlocked bones, muscles and tendons that work in unison to help support the body. Due to the wide variety of pieces in the foot, the causes of pain can be numerous. Each cause will have a different means of diagnosis and different options available for treatment, and each cause is largely separated by the location of where it occurs in the foot.

What are the causes of Foot Pain?

The causes of foot pain will differ based on where the pain is occurring and the symptoms being experienced by a patient.

Heel Pain: One of the most common areas of pain is the heel, with the most common cause of pain being plantar fasciitis. This is the band of tissue connecting the heel to the toes that comprises the arch of the foot. Inflammation or irritation in this tissue can cause pain during each step a person takes. A second cause of pain in the heel is heel spurs, which are abnormal growths of bone located on the bottom of the heel and occurring commonly due to an abnormal gait or improperly fitting shoes.

The Ball of the Foot: Pain felt in the ball of the foot is largely caused by metatarsalgia, which is the presence of inflammation in the ball of the foot. Common causes include strenuous activity of the feet and shoes that do not support the foot well. A second common cause of pain in the ball of the foot is a thickening of the tissue that encompasses the nerves between the toes, a condition called Morton’s neuroma.

The Arch: Plantar fasciitis, as mentioned above, is the most common cause of arch pain in a patient. Pain can also be caused by feet that have fallen arches, also known as being flat footed.

The Toes: The largest cause of pain in the toes is due to arthritic inflammation, commonly occurring in the formation of gout. Gout is a condition where uric acid in the body accumulates in the joints, forming deposits of crystals which can cause swelling and large amounts of pain with even slight movement.

What are the symptoms of Foot Pain and how is it diagnosed?

The symptoms of foot pain will differ based on both the location of pain and the causes of pain. The methods used for diagnosis will also differ based on what the physician thinks is the root cause of pain. Common methods of diagnosis include a thorough examination of the foot, including functional ability and tenderness tests, and imaging techniques. Patients may also have blood-work performed in cases where the cause of pain may be related to imbalances in the blood, such as with the levels of uric acid in patients who have gout.

What are the treatment options for Foot Pain?

The treatment options available to patients will be based on what the root cause of pain is. There are a number of treatment methods that will be used for each cause of pain however. The primary method of treatment includes medication, with patients commonly given pain relievers and anti-inflammatory agents to help reduce swelling and irritation in the feet. Patients are also encouraged to rest their feet as often as able.

Patients with an alteration of functional ability due to pain or patients who are experiencing pain from a chronic condition may be given physical therapy. Another common method of treatment is to change the footwear worn by a patient to something better tailored to the planes of their feet.