The guide to foot pain and common foot problems


For most, foot pain is no stranger. Whether the pain is caused by overuse, an injury, or a genetic condition, we can all agree that it can put a real cramp on a person’s life. And if ignored, conditions can worsen, cursing mobility to become strenuous and everyday activities uncomfortable or impossible to do. Consult this list for identifying causes and tips for how to doctor foot pain. For proper diagnosis and treatment, consult a podiatrist.

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Foot arch pain

Pain in the arch of your foot is common and is typically caused by overuse of the muscles and tendons. While foot arch pain is widespread in runners and the physically active, those who are less active can also experience pain in their foot arches. The arch of the foot acts as a shock absorber as the arches bear much of the body’s weight when walking or running. When injured or in pain, it can be difficult for a person to stay comfortably mobile.

The following are common root causes of foot arch pain. Be sure to consult your podiatrist to properly determine the cause of pain and develop a treatment plan for your foot arch pain.

  • Structural Issues: Congenital structural issues, such as flat feet or high arches, may make an individual more susceptible to arch injuries. Flat feet or high arches can be more greatly affected by fluctuations in weight, exercise, or age.
  • Plantar Fasciitis: An extremely common issue, Plantar Fasciitis is caused by inflammation, injury to, or overuse of your plantar fascia, a central ligament in your foot. Plantar Fasciitis pain can be incredibly uncomfortable when you first wake up and when you’ve been active or standing for extended periods of time.
  • Overpronation: Overpronation results from overpronating, a particular way of walking in which the outside of the heel lands first, with the rest of the foot rolling inward afterward. This irregularity in step can cause damage to muscles, tendons, and ligaments if continued.
  • Posterior Tibial Tendon Dysfunction: Otherwise known as adult-acquired flatfoot, PTTD arises when an injury or inflammation has damaged the posterior tibial tendon. With PTTD, pain can extend from the arch up along the leg, contributing to ankle swelling.

Pain on top of feet

When the top of your feet hurt, it’s often a result of overuse through physical activity. It can also be due to wearing shoes that are too tight or narrow. Common causes for pain on top of feet are:

  • Extensor Tendonitis: Tendons on the top of the foot suffer from inflammation, often due to overuse or ill-fitting shoes.
  • Stress Fractures: Fractures in the metatarsal bones. These are often the result of injury or severe overuse.
  • Sinus Tarsi Syndrome: This syndrome is rare and is a result of the sinus tarsi becoming inflamed. A flatfoot abnormality can cause this. Pain from this can extend around the foot and outside the ankle.

Toe pain

Toe pain may be acute or simply uncomfortable and can make it difficult to stay physically active or even wear socks or shoes. There are a variety of causes:

  • Severe Injury: A broken toe or stress fracture is a common injury leading to toe pain caused by a fall, dropping something on your toe, or stubbing your toe, resulting in pain and swelling. Osteoporosis, a disease in which the bones are weakened over time, can contribute to breaks and fractures like these.
  • Arthritis: Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis can lead to toe pain by harming the cartilage and/or joints between your toes. If the cartilage is worn away, movement can cause bones to rub together, causing pain and inflammation. Arthritis can develop naturally or by trauma or injury in the toes.
  • Bunions: Bunions are bony bumps that occur on the joint where your big toe begins. These can develop by having worn the wrong shoes or stemming from arthritis or abnormal structure of the foot. Bunions can cause calluses or corns, redness, or swelling around the joint of your big toe.
  • Gout: A buildup of uric acid in your body can cause urate crystals to reside in your joints, most often, joints in the feet. Gout will result in sudden and abrupt pain and swelling of the toes.
  • Poor Blood Circulation: Pain, numbness, and tingling in the feet can be caused by poor blood circulation. Common causes of poor blood circulation are diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. Those who smoke are at a higher risk. If left unaddressed, poor blood circulation and its underlying causes can lead to further complications, so it is vital to see a physician to guide a treatment plan that works for you.

You must consult with a qualified podiatrist for a professional diagnosis and foot pain treatment plan. Work with Arizona Foot Doctors’ Community Network to bring together all aspects of your health care.

Your foot pain treatment options

Thankfully, when it comes to foot pain, there are a variety of treatment options available. For immediate relief and alleviation, follow the steps below. The best course of action to treat your foot pain is to contact your podiatrist for a wellness check and diagnosis. At Arizona Foot Doctors, our podiatrists will collaborate with you to form a treatment plan that best fits into your lifestyle.

  • Rest: One of the first steps in healing foot pain is resting and putting a hold on activities that might cause extra strain on your feet. The foot should be rested until symptoms of foot pain are subsided.
  • Ice: Applying ice to your foot for 10 to 20 minutes may help reduce pain and swelling.
  • Stretch: Simple stretches can build foot strength, improve circulation to the foot, and prevent future injury. A podiatrist or physical therapist can recommend stretches to target the foot pain you are experiencing.
  • Find Appropriate Footwear: Various foot pains are often the result of inadequate foot support. Wearing properly fitted and supportive shoes can alleviate foot pain and prevent future injury. Foot arch pain and bunions are frequently treated with proper shoes or custom orthotics.