Common Causes of Foot Pain

Have you ever suffered from foot pain and can’t figure out what’s causing it? If you kick the corner of the bed, it’s easy to determine why your toe hurts. If you wear high heels all day, it’s easy to see why your arch hurts. But not all foot pain is created equal.

Foot pain is a common problem that affects all of us at some point in time. It’s important to take care of your feet as they serve as the foundation for your entire body in terms of support, posture, and balance. When you have ongoing foot problems, it can affect other areas of your body such as your knees, hips, and lower back. With 26 bones, 33 joints, and over 100 muscles, ligaments and tendons, your feet are complex. From minor issues to major issues, it’s important to recognize foot pain and even more importantly to seek help when it’s ongoing.

Arch Pain

The most common cause of arch pain is plantar fasciitis, which can also affect the heel. Other causes of arch pain include,

  • Flat Feet: Where your feet have little or no arch.
  • Abnormal Pronation: Occurs when a foot pronates when it should supinate, or overpronates during a normal pronation period of the gait cycle.

Heel Pain

As we stated above, plantar fasciitis can cause heel pain. Other causes can include,

  • Heel Spur: A bony growth that pokes out below your heel bone inside your foot, occurring when there is stress on your foot ligaments.
  • Heel Fracture: A painful and disabling injury, caused by the crushing of the heel under the weight of the body.
  • Stone Bruise: Pain that feels likes you’re stepping on a stone, most commonly caused by an impact injury to the bottom of your foot.
  • Psoriatic Arthritis: A form of arthritis that affects some people who have psoriasis. Causes inflammation in your joints where pain, tenderness and swelling occur.

Toe Pain

While stubbing your toe can certainly cause toe pain, other not-so-obvious causes can include,

  • Bunions: A painful, bony bump that forms on the joint at the base of your big toe. Tight fitting shoes and genetic factors play a role in the formation of bunions.
  • Hammertoe: Caused by a muscle imbalance that tightens and shortens the ligaments and tendons in the toe, creating a claw-like appearance.
  • Sesamoid Fracture: The small, pea-shaped bones located in the ball of the big toe joint are fractured.
  • Ingrown Toenail: When your toenail grows underneath the skin on the side of your toe.
  • Turf Toe: An injury in the big toe when ligaments, tendons, and soft tissues in the joint stretch or tear.
  • Gout: A painful form of arthritis causing episodes of pain and swelling in the big toe or other joints.
  • Corns or Calluses: Most common cause for corns or calluses is ill-fitting shoes, but other conditions can cause both.

Ball of Foot

Ill-fitting shoes commonly cause pain and inflammation in the ball of your foot, but not all of the causes of pain in the balls of your feet are known. Other causes include,

  • Morton’s Neuroma: A painful condition that may feel as if you are standing on a pebble in your shoe. High-heeled shoes have been linked to the development.
  • Sesamoiditis: Inflammation of sesamoid bones usually caused by overuse, bearing a lot of weight on the balls of your feet.
  • Having excess weight

Pain Everywhere

The fifth metatarsal bone, which is on the outer edge of your foot, is a commonly broken bone that can cause pain, bruising, and swelling along the outer edge of your foot. This is something different than having pain everywhere. Causes of entire foot pain include,

  • Neuropathy: Leading cause is diabetes, resulting in numbness, tingling, pain, and muscle weakness.
  • Tendonitis: Inflammation and irritation of a tendon in the foot or ankle.
  • Osteoarthritis: Pain and stiffness, where the cartilage gradually wears down.
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis: Stiffness, pain, and swelling due to overactivity of synovium, which lubricates the joint.

Many of us don’t give our feet the attention they deserve. It’s important to take care of your feet and to keep an eye out for anything that looks or feels unusual. Always wear comfortable, supportive shoes, and contact the experts at American Foot & Leg Specialists with any questions, or if you would like to schedule an appointment.