Foot Pain

  • Author:
    Philip A. Radovic, DPM, FACFAS

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Quick GuideCommon Causes of Foot Pain

Common Causes of Foot Pain

How do health-care professionals diagnose foot pain?

Proper evaluation and diagnosis of foot pain is essential in planning a treatment. A good general guideline is to compare the injured side to the uninjured side. Injury may present itself as distinguishable lump or gap felt at that location or a "crunchy" feeling on that spot caused by inflammation. The types, causes, and severity (sharp pain versus a dull ache) also are good indicators of the seriousness of the injury.

There are four grades of pain:

  • During activity
  • Before and after, and not affecting performance
  • Before, during, and after athletic activity, affecting performance
  • Pain so severe that performance is impossible

The doctor will ask you several questions to determine how the problem began. It can be helpful to tell the physician about how and when it started, how it affects you, when it bothers you, what you may or may not have done to make the pain better or worse. If necessary, a thorough physical exam may be conducted to evaluate for any other injuries.

  • Feet will be physically and visually examined at rest, with weight- and non-weight-bearing movement by the medical professional.
  • The foot and arch will be touched and manipulated and inspected to identify obvious deformities, tender spots, or any differences in the bones of the foot and arch.
  • The medical professional will examine how the muscles of your foot function. These tests may involve holding or moving your foot and ankle against resistance, you may also be asked to stand, walk, or even run.
  • The nerves in the foot will be tested to make sure no injury has occurred there.
  • An X-ray, MRI, or bone scan of the foot and arch may be taken to determine if there are abnormalities of the bone and/or soft tissues. Continue Reading
Reviewed on 1/8/2016
References
REFERENCES:

Arnheim, Daniel D., and William Prentice. Principles of Athletic Training. 10th ed. Boston: McGraw Hill, 2000.

Daniels, Jack. Daniels' Running Formula. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics, 1998.



IMAGES:

1. MedicineNet

2. iStock

3. iStock/Getty Images/"Corns" by Marionette - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

3. iStock

4. iStock

5. iStock

6. Getty Images

7. iStock

8. iStock

9. iStock

10. iStock

Subscribe to MedicineNet's Newsletters

Get the latest health and medical information delivered direct to your inbox!

By clicking Submit, I agree to the MedicineNet's Terms & Conditions & Privacy Policy and understand that I may opt out of MedicineNet's subscriptions at any time.

VIEW PATIENT COMMENTS
  • Foot Pain - Effective Treatments

    What treatments have been effective for your foot pain?

    Post View 33 Comments
  • Foot Pain - Cause

    What caused your foot pain?

    Post View 10 Comments
  • Foot Pain - Symptoms

    What other symptoms did you have with your foot pain?

    Post View 8 Comments
  • Foot Pain - Medical Treatment

    What type of doctor or specialist did you go to for your foot pain? Please share your experience.

    Post View 3 Comments
  • Foot Pain - Diagnosis

    Describe the exams and tests that you had to diagnose the source of your foot pain.

    Post View 3 Comments
  • Foot Pain - Prevention

    If you've previously suffered foot pain, what precautions would you make before starting a new exercise routine?

    Post

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors