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Foot Pain: Overview, Causes, Treatment, Prevention & FAQ’s

Team AckoDec 20, 2023

Feet play an important role in supporting body weight while standing or performing any activities. Thus, Foot Pain (FP) can be caused due to involvement of any part of the foot. Here’s an article that will give you an overview of FP so that you can take timely action.




Different parts of the foot

The different parts of the foot are as follows.

  • The forefoot is the front of the foot, including the toes.

  • The midfoot consists mainly of foot arches. This arched structure of the foot is the reason we are able to perform activities such as walking, running, and jumping without getting injured. It plays a major role in absorbing shock and distributing pressure evenly across the foot.

  • The hindfoot is the area around the heel and ankle.

What are the causes of Foot Pain?

Unsurprisingly, one of the most common causes of Foot Pain is wearing improper footwear. If you wear shoes that are too tight or do not fit you correctly, you are likely to suffer from chronic FP.

Another example is the use of high heels for long hours as they affect weight distribution. Wearing ill-fitting shoes during exercise also increases the chance of getting injured and hence, it should be avoided.

In addition, there are several medical conditions that result in Foot Pain. These include the following.

Conditions that affect the forefoot:

  • Acute injuries such as a toe fracture.

  • Arthritis affecting the small joints of the foot.

  • Corns or calluses that cause localised painful swellings on the feet.

  • Plantar warts on the soles.

  • An ingrown toenail or paronychia (an acute infection of the nails).

  • Metatarsalgia: the metatarsals are the bones that lie right next to the toes. 

Conditions that affect the midfoot

  • Acute injuries because of twisting of the foot can sprain the ligaments in the midfoot. There are also many muscles and tendons that form the support system of the foot that can be injured.

  • Overuse is one of the most common causes of midfoot pain and can even be accompanied by stress fractures.

  • Rheumatoid or psoriatic arthritis.

  • Being overweight.

Conditions that affect the hindfoot

  • Achilles tendinitis: This is an inflammation of the Achilles tendon that runs across the back of the foot. It is commonly seen after a sudden increase in the intensity of workouts.

  • Bursitis: here, the small fluid sacs that support the structures of the foot get inflamed.

  • Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common causes of heel pain.

  • Arthritis.

  • Stress fractures of the heel.

  • Peripheral neuropathy.

How is Foot Pain diagnosed?

An orthopaedic surgeon is the best person to evaluate your foot and assess the cause of Foot Pain. This involves:

  • A detailed history and clinical examination of the foot.

  • Radiological examinations such as X-rays are helpful to diagnose fractures or other bone deformities.

  • An MRI is advised for persons with soft tissue involvement such as strain or inflammation of the ligaments or tendons.

When do you need to visit a doctor for Foot Pain?

Foot Pain is a serious medical condition and should ideally be evaluated by a medical professional at the earliest. If you have any of the following symptoms, do consult a doctor.

  • FP that is sudden and severe.

  • FP occurs after a fall or injury to the foot.

  • Any condition in which you are unable to keep your foot down or support body weight at all.

  • If you have any open wounds or changes on the skin such as a blue or red discoloration.

  • If you have any chronic health conditions such as arthritis.

  • If you have any conditions that affect blood flow in the body.

How can Foot Pain be prevented?

The main way to prevent Foot Pain is to support your feet well. Make sure to wear soft and cushioned shoes especially before working out. A soft sole helps prevent corns, calluses, and bunions.

  • Avoid wearing high heels or narrow shoes for long durations.

  • Foot Pain has been linked with being overweight. Maintaining weight and body mass index (BMI) in the healthy range can help prevent Foot Pain.

  • Avoid walking barefoot on hard surfaces. For persons with chronic conditions like peripheral neuropathy because of diabetes, it is especially important to avoid being barefoot, as this can cause unnoticed trauma and injuries.

  • Also, follow good foot hygiene by keeping the feet clean and dry. This helps prevent fungal infections of the feet that can also be painful.

  • Other practices to keep your feet healthy include rolling a tennis ball under the feet or giving yourself a gentle foot massage at the end of the day.

What is the treatment for Foot Pain?

A few simple tips can help relieve Foot Pain.

  • Rest your feet or try simple yoga postures like raising your legs vertically with the support of a wall

  • Apply ice packs

  • Take over-the-counter painkillers

  • Gently rub your fingers across your feet without applying too much pressure.

If you have corns and calluses, you can rub them gently with a pumice stone. However, avoid rubbing vigorously or trying to shave them off. These are procedures that should only be performed by a doctor.

In case of an ingrown toenail, visit a doctor for safe removal instead of trying to manipulate it yourself. 

In case of fractures or sprains, your doctor may advise the application of a cast or crepe bandage to immobilise the foot and aid in faster healing.

Feet care

Wearing shoes that fit you well and give room for your feet to breathe is one of the easiest ways to avoid Foot Pain. If you are going to start exercising or any physical activity, invest in a good pair of shoes and start out slowly to avoid putting excess strain on your feet.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Here’s a list of common questions and answers related to Foot Pain.


I have had severe heel pain for a long time. Could it be something serious?

Any chronic or longstanding pain should be evaluated by a doctor. This ensures appropriate treatment to avoid further damage to the foot. There are several causes of heel pain. Most of them can be managed by rest and physiotherapy.

How do I know if a shoe is the right fit for me?

When you try a shoe make sure that the widest part of your foot fits in it comfortably. There should be a gap of about half an inch between the front of your toe and the shoe. If both your feet are not exactly of the same size, buy the size that fits the larger foot.

Can I use a corn cap for a painful corn on my foot?

When a corn is very painful it could be infected and antibiotics may be needed. Sometimes what looks like corn could also be a plantar wart. Hence it is advisable to visit a doctor who may choose to surgically excise the corn or wart.

I wear heels frequently. What can I do to prevent Foot Pain?

Always buy heels that have a cushioned bottom. Avoid stilettos and opt for tucker block heels. Open-toed heels are also advisable to prevent corns and calluses.

Disclaimer: The content on this page is generic and shared only for informational and explanatory purposes. Please consult a doctor before making any health-related decisions. Foot Pain is written as FP on a few occasions in this article.

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