Foot Pain

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Pain in the foot can involve any part of the foot. Abnormalities of the skin, nerves, bones, blood vessels, and soft tissues of the foot can result in foot pain. Evaluating the cause of foot pain can require an understanding of the anatomy and physiology of not only the foot, but also the ankle, lower extremity, and lower spine.

Because we expose our feet to potential injury in our daily lives by walking, we have all experienced pains in the feet at one time or another. There are many common causes of foot pains, such as blisters and corns. There are also less common causes of foot pain, such as sciatica and osteomyelitis. Treatments for foot pain depend on the particular cause.

Patients may experience the related symptoms of Heel Pain, Ankle Pain, and/or Foot Swelling.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/27/2012

Health concern on your mind? Visit the Symptom Checker.

REFERENCE:

Fauci, Anthony S., et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine. 17th ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Professional, 2008.

Causes of Foot Pain
    • Ankle Pain Ankle pain is commonly due to a sprain or tendinitis. The severity of ankle sprains ranges from mild (which can resolve within...learn more »
      In This Article
      Ankle Pain Article
      • Ankle pain and tendinitis facts
      • How is the ankle designed, and what is the ankle's function?
      • What injuries can cause ankle pain?
      • What diseases and conditions can cause ankle pain, and how are they treated?
    • Arthritis Arthritis is inflammation of one or more joints. When joints are inflamed they can develop stiffness, warmth, swelling, redness...learn more »
      In This Article
      Arthritis Article
      • Arthritis facts
      • What is arthritis? What causes arthritis?
      • What are risk factors for arthritis?
      • What are arthritis symptoms and signs?
      • Who is affected by arthritis?
      • How is arthritis diagnosed, and why is a diagnosis important?
      • What is the treatment for arthritis?
      • Is there a special diet for arthritis?
      • What are the prognosis (outlook) for arthritis, and what are arthritis complications?
      • Can arthritis be prevented?
      • What is the national financial impact of arthritis?
      • What is a rheumatologist?
      • What is the Arthritis Foundation?
    • Athlete's Foot Athlete's foot (tinea pedis) is a skin infection caused by the ringworm fungus. Symptoms include itching, burning, cracking,...learn more »
      In This Article
      Athlete's Foot Article
      • Athlete's foot facts
      • What is athlete's foot?
      • What are the symptoms and signs of athlete's foot?
      • What does athlete's foot look like?
      • Is athlete's foot contagious?
      • What else causes foot rashes?
      • What is the treatment for athlete's foot?
      • What home remedy can I use for athlete's foot?
      • How can I treat athlete's foot in pregnancy?
      • When should I seek medical care?
      • What are possible complications of athlete's foot?
      • What kind of doctor treats athlete's foot?
      • How can I prevent future athlete's foot infections?
    • Bone Spurs Bone spurs are pointy outgrowths of bone that develop in areas of inflammation or injury. They commonly occur on the heel and...learn more »
      In This Article
      Bone Spurs Article
      • Bone spur facts
      • What is a bone spur?
      • What causes bone spurs?
      • Where do bone spurs occur?
      • What are symptoms of bone spurs?
      • How are bone spurs diagnosed?
      • What is the treatment for bone spurs?
      • What is the prognosis (outlook) for bone spurs?
      • Can bone spurs be prevented?
    • Broken Bone (Types of Bone Fractures) A broken bone is a fracture. There are different types of fractures such as compressed, open, stress, greenstick, spiral,...learn more »
      In This Article
      Broken Bone (Types of Bone Fractures) Article
      • What is a broken bone (fracture)?
      • What causes a broken bone?
      • What are the most common types of broken bones?
      • Compression fracture
      • Skull fracture
      • Stress fracture
      • What are the most common bones that are broken?
      • Broken hand or fingers
      • Broken wrist
      • Broken hip
      • Broken leg
      • Broken toe
      • Broken shoulder
      • What are the signs and symptoms of a broken bone?
      • When should I call a doctor if I think I have broken a bone?
      • How is a broken bone diagnosed?
      • What is the treatment for a broken bone?
      • What about surgery for a broken bone?
      • How can fractures be prevented?
      • What is the prognosis for a broken bone?
    • Bruises A bruise, or contusion, is caused when blood vessels are damaged or broken as the result of a blow to the skin. The raised area...learn more »
      In This Article
      Bruises Article
      • What is a bruise?
      • Why do bruises occur more frequently in some people than in others?
      • What does a bruise look like, and why does it change color?
      • What if the bruise doesn't get better or the area stays swollen?
      • What are some less common causes of bruising, and what do they indicate?
      • What is the treatment for bruising?
      • What is the prognosis (outlook) for bruising?
      • Bumps & bruises facts
    • Bug Bites and Stings Bug bites and stings have been known to transmit insect-borne illnesses such as West Nile virus, Rocky Mountain spotted fever,...learn more »
      In This Article
      Bug Bites and Stings Article
      • Bug bites and stings introduction
      • What can I do to keep insects away?
      • What's the proper way to use insect repellent?
      • What's the best way to remove a bee stinger?
      • What should I do if I find a tick on me or my child?
      • What can be done for itching and pain from bites and stings?
      • When is medical attention needed?
      • Where can I find more information on bug bites and stings?
    • Bunions The common bunion, an enlargement of the inner portion of the joint at the base of the big toe, primarily affects women. The...learn more »
      In This Article
      Bunions Article
      • Bunions facts
      • What are bunions?
      • What are the causes of bunions?
      • Who develops bunions?
      • What are symptoms and signs of a bunion?
      • How is a bunion diagnosed?
      • How are bunions treated? Are there home remedies to treat bunions?
      • Can bunions be prevented?
      • What is the prognosis of a bunion?
    • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome And Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition in which irritation of the wrist's median nerve causes tingling and numbness of the thumb,...learn more »
      In This Article
      Carpal Tunnel Syndrome And Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome Article
      • What is carpal tunnel syndrome?
      • What is tarsal tunnel syndrome?
      • What conditions and diseases cause carpal tunnel syndrome?
      • What are carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms?
      • How is carpal tunnel syndrome diagnosed?
      • What is the treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome? Can carpal tunnel syndrome be prevented?
      • What are complications of carpal tunnel syndrome?
      • What is the prognosis for carpal tunnel syndrome and tarsal tunnel syndrome?
      • Carpal tunnel syndrome and tarsal tunnel syndrome facts
    • Corns Corns and calluses are sometimes painful areas of thickened skin that appear between the toes and fingers or on the soles of the...learn more »
      In This Article
      Corns Article
      • Corns and calluses facts
      • What are corns and calluses?
      • Why do corns and calluses develop?
      • What are risk factors for corns and calluses?
      • What are symptoms and signs of corns and calluses?
      • How are corns and calluses diagnosed?
      • How can corns and calluses be treated?
      • When should you seek professional treatment for corns and calluses?
      • What is the prognosis for corns and calluses?
      • How can corns and calluses be prevented?
    • Gout (Gouty Arthritis) Buildup of uric acid crystals in a joint causes gouty arthritis. Symptoms and signs include joint pain, swelling, heat, and...learn more »
      In This Article
      Gout (Gouty Arthritis) Article
      • Gout facts
      • What is gout?
      • What causes gout?
      • What are risk factors for gout?
      • What are symptoms and signs of gout?
      • How is gout diagnosed?
      • When should gout be treated?
      • What is the treatment for gout?
      • Do gout medications have any side effects?
      • What foods should people with gout avoid?
      • What complications are associated with gout?
      • What is the prognosis of gout?
      • Is it possible to prevent gout?
      • What research is being done on gout?
    • Heel Spurs Heel spurs, pointed, bony outgrowths of the heel, are caused by localized soft tissue inflammation and can be located at the back...learn more »
      In This Article
      Heel Spurs Article
      • Heel spurs & plantar fasciitis facts
      • What is a heel spur? What are symptoms of a heel spur?
      • How do heel spurs relate to plantar fasciitis? What causes heel spurs and plantar fasciitis?
      • How are heel spurs and plantar fasciitis diagnosed?
      • How are heel spurs and plantar fasciitis treated?
      • What is the prognosis (outlook) of heel spurs and plantar fasciitis?
      • Can heel spurs and plantar fasciitis be prevented?
    • Ingrown Toenail Ingrown toenails are caused by the growth of the toenail into the surrounding nail fold. Symptoms include toe pain, swelling,...learn more »
      In This Article
      Ingrown Toenail Article
      • Ingrown toenail facts
      • What are ingrown toenails?
      • What are the symptoms and signs of an ingrown toenail?
      • What causes ingrown toenails?
      • Are some people more prone to ingrown toenails?
      • Which nails are most commonly affected by ingrown toenails?
      • What causes infections in ingrown toenails?
      • How do physicians diagnose an ingrown toenail?
      • What are possible complications of ingrown toenails?
      • How do people treat an ingrown toenail at home?
      • When should someone seek medical treatment for an ingrown toenail?
      • What kind of doctor treats ingrown toenails?
      • What is the treatment for ingrown toenails?
      • What types of nail surgery are used for ingrown toenails?
      • How can people prevent ingrown toenails from recurring?
      • Ingrown toenail do's
      • Ingrown toenail dont's
      • What is the prognosis for an ingrown toenail?
    • Morton's Neuroma A Morton's neuroma is an inflamed nerve between the bones at the ball of the foot. Symptoms include a burning, sharp pain on the...learn more »
      In This Article
      Morton's Neuroma Article
      • Morton's neuroma facts
      • What is Morton's neuroma?
      • What causes a Morton's neuroma?
      • What are risk factors for developing a Morton's neuroma?
      • What are symptoms of a Morton's neuroma?
      • How is a Morton's neuroma diagnosed?
      • How is a Morton's neuroma treated?
      • What is the prognosis (outlook) for a Morton's neuroma?
      • Can a Morton's neuroma be prevented?
    • Osteomyelitis Osteomyelitis is an infection of the bone. Potential causes include injections around the bone, fractures that puncture the skin,...learn more »
      In This Article
      Osteomyelitis Article
      • Osteomyelitis facts
      • What is osteomyelitis?
      • What causes osteomyelitis?
      • What are osteomyelitis symptoms and signs?
      • How is osteomyelitis diagnosed?
      • What is the treatment for osteomyelitis?
      • What is the prognosis for osteomyelitis?
    • Peripheral Neuropathy Peripheral neuropathy is a problem with the functioning of the nerves outside of the spinal cord. Symptoms may include numbness,...learn more »
      In This Article
      Peripheral Neuropathy Article
      • Peripheral neuropathy facts
      • What is peripheral neuropathy?
      • What causes peripheral neuropathy?
      • What are the symptoms of peripheral neuropathy?
      • How is peripheral neuropathy diagnosed?
      • Is there any treatment for peripheral neuropathy?
      • Can peripheral neuropathy be prevented?
    • Peripheral Vascular Disease Peripheral vascular disease (PVD) refers to diseases of the blood vessels (arteries and veins) located outside the heart and...learn more »
      In This Article
      Peripheral Vascular Disease Article
      • Peripheral vascular disease facts
      • What is peripheral vascular disease?
      • What is atherosclerosis?
      • How does atherosclerosis cause disease?
      • What are potential complications of peripheral artery disease?
      • What are the other causes of peripheral vascular diseases?
      • Who is at risk for peripheral artery disease?
      • What are the symptoms and signs of peripheral artery disease?
      • How is peripheral artery disease diagnosed?
      • What are the treatments for peripheral artery disease?
      • Lifestyle changes
      • Supervised exercise
      • Medications
      • Angioplasty
      • Surgery
    • Raynaud's Phenomenon Raynaud's phenomenon is characterized by a pale-blue-red sequence of color changes of the digits, most commonly after exposure to...learn more »
      In This Article
      Raynaud's Phenomenon Article
      • Raynaud's phenomenon facts
      • What is Raynaud's phenomenon?
      • What causes Raynaud's phenomenon?
      • What conditions have been associated with Raynaud's phenomenon?
      • What are Raynaud's phenomenon symptoms and signs?
      • How is Raynaud's phenomenon diagnosed?
      • What is the treatment for Raynaud's phenomenon?
      • What is the prognosis (outlook) for Raynaud's phenomenon?
      • Can Raynaud's phenomenon by prevented?
    • Sciatica Sciatica pain, caused by irritation of the sciatic nerve, typically radiates from the low back to behind the thigh to below the...learn more »
      In This Article
      Sciatica Article
      • Sciatica facts
      • What is sciatica?
      • What are causes of sciatica?
      • What are risk factors for sciatica?
      • What are sciatica symptoms?
      • How is sciatica diagnosed?
      • What are treatment options for sciatica?
      • What is the outlook (prognosis) for patients with sciatica?
      • Can sciatica be prevented?
    • Snake Bite (Snake Bite) There are venomous (poisonous) and nonvenomous (nonpoisonous) snakes. A venomous snake bite penetrates the skin and injects,...learn more »
      In This Article
      Snake Bite (Snake Bite) Article
      • What is a venomous (poisonous) snake bite?
      • What is a nonvenomous (nonpoisonous) snake bite?
      • What are the symptoms of a venomous snake bite?
      • How is a venomous snake bite diagnosed?
      • What is the treatment for a venomous snake bite?
      • What are the complications of a venomous snake bite?
      • Can a snake bite be prevented?
      • What is the prognosis for a venomous snake bite?
      • Snake bites and snake pictures
    • Sprains and Strains An injury to a ligament is called a sprain, and an injury to muscle or tendon is called a strain. Sprains and strains may be...learn more »
      In This Article
      Sprains and Strains Article
      • Muscle sprains and strains facts
      • What is the difference between a sprain and a strain?
      • What causes a sprain or strain?
      • Where do sprains and strains usually occur?
      • What are sprain symptoms and signs?
      • How are sprains and strains diagnosed?
      • How are sprains and strains treated?
      • What is the recovery time for sprains and strains?
      • Can sprains and strains be prevented?
      • What is the prognosis of sprains and strains?
      • Where can people find more information about sprains and strains?
    • Turf Toe Turf toe is a sprain to the ligaments around the big toe joint. Symptoms and signs include pain, swelling, a popping sound, and...learn more »
      In This Article
      Turf Toe Article
      • What causes turf toe?
      • What are the symptoms and signs of turf toe?
      • How is turf toe diagnosed?
      • How is turf toe treated? Is taping or rehab necessary in the treatment of turf toe?
      • Can turf toe be prevented?
    • Vasculitis Vasculitis is a general term for a group of uncommon diseases which feature inflammation of the blood vessels. Each form of...learn more »
      In This Article
      Vasculitis Article
      • Vasculitis facts
      • What is vasculitis?
      • What causes vasculitis, and what are examples of diseases with vasculitis?
      • What are the symptoms of vasculitis?
      • How is vasculitis diagnosed?
      • How is vasculitis treated?
    • Warts (Common Warts) Common warts are skin growths causes by the human papillomavirus. There are many types of warts, including plantar warts, common...learn more »
      In This Article
      Warts (Common Warts) Article
      • Wart facts
      • What are common warts?
      • What are some types of common warts?
      • What is the treatment for common warts?
      • Is using over-the-counter wart treatments safe?
      • Are wart treatments effective?
      • What if wart removal treatments fail?
Other Causes of Foot Pain
Examples of Medications for Foot Pain