You may not realize it, but your feet can impact your overall well-being. Until something goes wrong with injury or pain, you may never really consider your feet at all. But, when something does happen or you do start to experience pain it is important to have proper foot pain diagnosis. The foot pain causes can vary greatly depending on where the pain is so it is imperative to have a podiatrist examine the foot to find the foot pain identifier and get you foot pain relief as quick as possible.
Foot Pain Heel
Heel pain could be due to a variety of things, and depending on whether it is a condition or injury it is important to get a correct foot pain diagnosis.
If you are experiencing heel pain you may have plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis is an irritation or even inflammation of the plantar fascia, a band of tissue that runs along the bottom of the foot connecting the toes to the heel bone. Generally it will hurt worst in the mornings when getting out of bed, the pain will be in the heel and/or arch of the foot.
There are ways to treat and manage plantar fasciitis pain:
Rest your foot when you can
Do proper stretches from a stretch guide provided by your podiatrist
Take OTC pain medications
Get insoles or custom orthotics to provide cushioned and supportive soles in your shoes
A heel spur can be another source of foot pain. Heel spurs are a bone like protrusion on the bottom of the heel made up of calcium deposits. A heel spur can develop from wearing improper shoes or walking with abnormal posture. The spur may hurt while you are standing on it but often times people do not have pain. People with poor foot structure like flat feet or high arches are more likely to have pain in their heel spurs.
Treating a heel spur may require:
Wearing cutout heel pad
Using custom orthotics
Using shoes that have good fit and shock absorbing soles
Taking OTC pain medications
Resting your feet
Medical procedures if all else fails
A stone bruise is a deep bruise which is in the heel or ball of the foot and is often from impact injury but can be from stepping on a hard object (we all know the torment of stepping on a stray lego). The pain of a stone bruise may feel like walking on a pebble but the pain will go away on its own with time. While waiting for the pain to be relieved you may want to:
Rest your foot
Ice the bruised area
Take OTC medications
A heel fracture can occur in many different ways but will likely be from a high impact injury such as a fall or car accident. The heel bone is prone to shatter, not just break. The main symptoms of a heel fracture will include heel pain, trouble walking, swelling, and bruising.
Avoid putting pressure on the heel, use crutches
Wear a splint or cast to protect the bone
Take OTC pain medications or ask your podiatrist about prescription pain medication
Try physical therapy
Wear protective heel pads
Foot Pain Ball of Foot
The following are a variety of pains that may arise in the ball of the foot:
Morton’s Neuroma is a condition where the tissues around the nerves at the base of the toes become thickened and cause feelings of pain and sensations of numbness around the ball of the foot. Often time it is women with the condition because of things like wearing high heels and tight shoes.
Treating Morton’s Neuroma:
Wearing shoe inserts
Avoiding activities that put pressure on neuroma
Not wearing high heels and tight shoes
Ask your podiatrist about surgery
Sesamoiditis occurs in the sesamoid bones which are found by the big toe and connected only by tendons. When these tendons become injured and inflamed it forms a tendinitis, a condition common with runners and ballet dancers.
To treat Sesamoiditis you may want to:
Rest your feet
Use a foot pad under the toe
Ice the painful areas
Immobilize the big toe to allow healing, use tape or other methods
Wear shoes with low heels
Ask your podiatrist about steroid injections
Ball of the foot pain may be cause from Metatarsalgia which is categorized by pain and inflammation in the ball of the foot. It is often cause by wearing poorly fitting shoes but can also come from straining activities like running and jumping.
Treating Metatarsalgia may include:
Taking pain reliever
Icing the foot
Wearing better and more comfortable footwear
Trying shoe inserts to relieve pressure on the ball of the foot
Foot Pain Arch
Arch pain can commonly be credited to two things, plantar fasciitis and flat feet.
Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common foot conditions and causes of foot pain. Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the thick band of tissue that runs along the bottom of the foot and connects the heel to the toes. The pain can be in the arch and heel but treatment would be the same no matter where you feel the pain. There are many treatments for plantar fasciitis including steroid injections, to learn more about plantar fasciitis, the causes, symptoms, treatments and more click here to read our latest post.
Flat feet or fallen arches may also be the cause of the arch pain in your foot. This condition often comes from walking and standing and cause the feet to flatten out causing pain and potentially other problems. Flat feet can be treated with shoe inserts and custom orthotics, better shoes, rest, ice, brace, or physical therapy. Surgery may be necessary so consult your podiatrist if you feel surgery may be for you.
Gout is a type of arthritis which causes pain in the big toes when crystals collect in the toe joints. Swelling often occurs and most commonly in the big toe.
When the big toe gets misaligned and pushed inwards towards the other toes a bunion can form. Anyone can get bunions but poor genetics and ill-fitting shoes are thought to be the main causes. There are many treatments available, to learn more about bunions click here.
Hammer toes can happen in the second, third, and fourth toes when they bend in the middle joint to create a hammer like appearance. Hammertoes can come from ill-fitting shoes are a muscle imbalance.
When a toe points upward or downward and cannot straighten out it is called claw toe. Claw toe is usually caused by nerve damage from diseases like diabetes or alcoholism which weaken foot muscles. Without proper treatment or accommodations claw toes can develop calluses and other unwanted irritations.
Skin on the edge of the toenails grows over the nail which can be painful and cause infections.
Overstraining the big toe can cause turf toe which can be painful at the base of the big toe. This can also be a form of sesamoiditis or a sesamoid fracture.
A toe sprain is a damaging of the soft tissues around the toe due to an injury like a stub or jam. The pain and swelling should subside in days.
Toe fractures are more serious than toe sprains because the bone is actually broken. Depending on the severity of the fracture you may just need rest and ice but a severe fracture may require surgery.
Hallux rigidus is a type of arthritis known as stiff big toe. Symptoms are stiffness and pain at the base of the big toe and can worsen over time. Stretching exercises can help but surgery may be need in some cases.
Corns and Calluses
A corn is a thick buildup of skin on an area of the foot where there is irritation and or pressure. Calluses are similar but wider areas of touch skin buildup that result for the same reason. They are usually caused from poorly fitting footwear. Click here to learn more about corns and calluses and treatment options.
The sesamoids are the small bones found on the bottom of the foot at the base of the big toe. If these break they will cause pain around the big toe.
Pain on the Outer Edge of the Foot
The fifth metatarsal bone is found on the outer edge of the foot. This bone is in the mid-foot and connects the back of the foot to the toes. It is commonly broken and that can cause pain, swelling, and bruising. If broken it is important have an x-ray and get proper treatment. Please contact your podiatrist right away if you believe you may have broken a bone in the foot.
Foot Pain Anywhere or Everywhere on the Foot
Foot pain that you find occurring everywhere or anywhere can be due to two things, Neuropathy or Tendinitis.
Neuropathy is nerve damage and is most commonly cause by diabetes. This pain can be burning, stinging, or electricity feeling like. It is important to properly treat diabetic complications immediately, contact your podiatrist to relieve symptoms and prevent further damage.
Tendinitis is inflammation and irritation of a tendon. Tendons are bands of soft tissue which connect muscles to bones. They run all along the foot and can cause pain anywhere.
If you find yourself in foot pain, treatment sooner than later will make the biggest difference. When foot pain doesn’t subside on its own or foot treatment at home doesn’t work within a few hours or days, reach out to Highland Podiatry where Podiatrists Dr. Ryan Huntsman and Dr. Elie Elias will take the best care of your feet. With two highly convenient offices in Highland Heights and Sagamore Hills, suburbs of the greater Cleveland area, scheduling an appointment couldn’t be easier - call us at 440-473-0550 or click here to schedule now
Sources: https://www.webmd.com/pain-management/guide/foot-pain-causes-and-treatments#5, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/plantar-fasciitis/symptoms-causes/syc-20354846, https://www.foot.com/foot-pain-identifier/