9 Common Causes of Foot Pain

Posted by Dr. Brian Nagy on April 7, 2017

foot problemsYou may be experiencing foot, ankle or heel pain that you tolerate every day. Perhaps your diabetes is under control and has been for many years. Then one day you start to feel tingling and/or pain in your feet. You figure it will pass and decide to wait it out. Don't! This kind of pain can be related to your diabetes or another foot problem and is a signal that you need to seek treatment from a New Hampshire podiatrist. 

When your child comes to you complaining of foot pain you take notice. Usually you're confronted with a scrape, stubbed toe, blister or shoes that have become too small. These things are easily fixed with bandages, new shoes and hugs. 

Alternatively, you might notice your child has bow legs or is walking on her tiptoes. These are typically not serious conditions either. But what if the pain in your child's feet is not so easy to explain away? 

Your child may be suffering from something more serious such as misaligned feet. This condition causes pain when walking, difficulty running and late-night growing pains that keep your child awake due to pain in the legs. 

Misaligned feet and diabetes are just two of the common causes of foot pain.

Common Causes of Foot Pain

1.  Tingling

When you have pain and tingling on the bottom of your feet, this may be caused by damaged nerves, commonly referred to as neuropathy. This can be due to a variety of conditions including the following.

  • Injury from sports or trauma,
  • Repetitive stress due to walking incorrectly or standing in one position for too long,
  • Blood vessel disease such as inflammation that causes hardening of blood vessel walls or diabetes which reduces blood flow to certain nerves,
  • Autoimmune disorders such as Lupus or Sjogren's that cause the body's immune system to attack itself, and
  • Infections caused by viruses and/or bacteria that damage nerve tissue. Examples include shingles, Epstein-Barr and herpes.

There are many causes of foot pain, however, that are not specifically related to pain and tingling on the bottom of the foot. Perhaps you are feeling ankle pain or heel pain, the cause of which could be simple and obvious like a bunion. But it could be something else and it could be much more serious. 

2.  Hammertoe

This occurs when the middle joint of your toe looks crooked or is abnormally bent/flexed. If the joint nearest the tip of your toe is affected it's called mallet toe. You may merely need to get better-fitting shoes in order to relieve the pain of hammertoe, but more serious cases may require surgery.

3.  Ingrown toenails

When your toenail starts growing into your skin this can cause redness, swelling, pain or even infection. You can typically take care of ingrown toenails on your own and just wait for them to subside. But if the pain becomes uncontrollable or spreads, call us for help.

Find a Solution to your Ingrown Toenail- Download your free resource

4.  Plantar fasciitis

Your "plantar fascia" is a band that stretches from your heel bone to the base of your toes. Inflammation of this band is called plantar fasciitis. It creates pain in your ankle and/or the arch of your foot. You might be able to relieve the ankle pain or foot pain with good shoe inserts, rest and ice. However, if the pain is severe or you experience pain specifically in your arches call us.

5.  Tendonitis

The cords that join individual muscles to bones are called tendons. When the tendons in your feet become irritated or inflamed this is called tendonitis. This painful condition can be treated with mild interventions but, if severe, may require surgery.  

6.  Stress fracture

This is a very small crack or splinter occurring in the bone of your ankle or heel. Symptoms of a stress fracture include swelling, pain, tenderness and bruising. Treatment usually involves resting the affected area and/or applying ice or compression bandages, but because your symptoms could be related to another problem, you should be examined.


7.  Bunions or bunionettes

bunion - ThinkstockPhotos-635817932.jpgBunions are hard bumps on the inside of your foot near your big toe and are very common. Bunionettes are smaller bumps typically seen on the outside of your foot near your pinky toe.

These bony bumps can be due to heredity, ill-fitting shoes, too much stress on your feet and conditions like arthritis. Sometimes all that is needed is a pair of new shoes in order to relieve the pain. However, bunions are permanent unless you have them removed surgically.

8. Gout and arthritis

These conditions are related to inflammation in the affected area such as the feet. Symptoms include pain upon movement, swelling, tenderness and stiffness. If we determine arthritis or gout to be the cause of your foot or ankle pain, we can usually treat it conservatively. 

9.  Neuromas

A neuroma is a noncancerous tumor or "pinched nerve". Foot neuromas can cause pain, swelling, burning, tingling and pain in the ball of your foot. Depending on the severity of the neuroma, we can provide relief via cortisone injection, over-the-counter medications, and custom foot inserts and padding. 

When to Call for Help

If you have mild foot pain or swelling of the foot and/or ankle at home for five days that doesn't seem to be getting better, you should schedule an office visit. Symptoms that require immediate attention include severe pain and swelling, unexplained bruising, redness, tenderness to the touch, fever, wounds that aren't healing or are secreting pus, pain upon walking and limited range of motion. These are serious symptoms that should be addressed immediately in order to avoid further damage.

Proper Treatment for Foot, Ankle and Heel Pain

As you can see, many different conditions involving foot, ankle and heel pain often begin the same way: pain, swelling and/or limited movement. Similarly, treatment for some of these conditions begins the same way: rest, icing, inflammatory medications or a change in footwear.

However, there's a vast difference between a stress fracture and a neuroma and you need a professional to determine precisely what's causing your pain. Proper diagnosis, careful monitoring and gold-standard treatment options require the assistance of a qualified New Hampshire podiatrist. 

At Nagy Footcare, we believe you should not have to be in pain. We also believe you should know exactly what is causing your pain and how it should be treated. We believe you deserve to be heard, should have access to modern technologies and treatments, and should receive pain relief as quickly as possible. At Nagy Footcare, our best day is when you wake up with no foot pain.

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Topics: Foot Problems

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