Foot Pain

Foot pain can be caused by a variety of conditions, ranging from minor issues to more serious medical conditions. Here are some common conditions associated with foot pain:

  • Plantar Fasciitis: This is one of the most common causes of heel pain. It involves inflammation of the plantar fascia, a thick band of tissue that runs along the bottom of the foot, causing pain and discomfort in the heel or arch area.
  • Achilles Tendinitis: The Achilles tendon, which connects the calf muscles to the heel bone, can become inflamed and cause pain, especially in the back of the heel.
  • Bunions: A bunion is a bony bump that forms at the base of the big toe. It can cause pain, swelling, and difficulty with footwear.
  • Metatarsalgia: This condition involves pain and inflammation in the ball of the foot, often caused by increased pressure on the metatarsal bones.
  • Stress Fractures: Overuse or repetitive stress on the foot can lead to small cracks in the bones, resulting in pain, swelling, and tenderness.
  • Ingrown Toenails: When a toenail grows into the skin, it can cause pain, redness, swelling, and even infection.
  • Gout: Gout is a type of arthritis caused by the accumulation of uric acid crystals in the joints, including those in the feet. It can lead to sudden and severe pain in the affected joint, often the big toe.
  • Arthritis: Various types of arthritis, such as osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, can affect the joints in the feet, leading to pain, stiffness, and reduced mobility.
  • Peripheral Neuropathy: This condition involves damage to the nerves, often due to diabetes or other underlying medical issues. It can cause tingling, numbness, and pain in the feet.
  • Morton’s Neuroma: A neuroma is a thickening of nerve tissue, often occurring between the third and fourth toes. It can cause pain, burning, and tingling sensations.
  • Flat Feet: Flat feet or fallen arches can lead to foot pain due to improper distribution of weight and strain on the feet.
  • Corns and Calluses: These are thickened areas of skin caused by friction or pressure. They can cause discomfort and pain when they become too large or inflamed.
  • Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome: Similar to carpal tunnel syndrome in the wrist, this condition involves compression of the tibial nerve in the ankle, leading to pain, tingling, and numbness.
  • Peripheral Arterial Disease: Reduced blood flow to the lower extremities can cause pain, especially during physical activity, due to insufficient oxygen supply to the muscles.
  • Plantar Warts: Warts on the sole of the foot can cause pain and discomfort when walking.

It’s important to note that foot pain can vary in severity and can be caused by a combination of factors. If you’re experiencing persistent or severe foot pain, it’s recommended to consult a healthcare professional for proper diagnosis and treatment. 

Foot pain can manifest in various ways depending on the underlying cause. The symptoms of foot pain can include:

  • Pain: This is the most common symptom. The pain can range from mild to severe and may be sharp, dull, throbbing, or aching. It might be constant or intermittent.
  • Swelling: Inflammation or injury to the foot can lead to swelling around the affected area.
  • Redness: Inflammation and irritation can cause the skin to become red or discolored.
  • Tenderness: The area of pain might feel tender to the touch.
  • Stiffness: Some conditions can result in stiffness and reduced range of motion in the foot or ankle.
  • Numbness and Tingling: Nerve-related issues like neuropathy can lead to sensations of numbness, tingling, or a pins-and-needles feeling in the foot.
  • Weakness: Certain conditions can cause weakness in the foot muscles, affecting your ability to walk or perform normal activities.
  • Difficulty Bearing Weight: Pain may make it challenging to put weight on the affected foot.
  • Limited Mobility: Pain and stiffness can restrict the movement of the foot and ankle.
  • Burning Sensation: Some conditions, such as neuropathy, can cause a burning or shooting pain sensation.
  • Changes in Foot Shape: Conditions like bunions or hammertoes can cause visible changes in the alignment of the foot’s bones and joints.
  • Visible Deformities: Fractures or dislocations can lead to visible deformities in the foot.
  • Warmth: Inflammation and increased blood flow to the area can cause the foot to feel warm to the touch.
  • Difficulty Finding Comfortable Footwear: Pain and discomfort can make it difficult to find shoes that fit comfortably.
  • Pain during Activity: Some types of foot pain might worsen during physical activities like walking, running, or standing for extended periods.
  • Pain at Rest: In certain conditions, foot pain might persist even when you’re not putting weight on the foot, such as when you’re resting or sleeping.

It’s important to remember that foot pain can have a wide range of causes, and the specific symptoms you experience will depend on the underlying condition. If you’re experiencing persistent or severe foot pain, it’s advisable to seek medical attention for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Foot pain can be caused by a variety of factors, including injuries, medical conditions, and lifestyle choices. Here are some common causes of foot pain:

  • Injuries:
    • Sprains and Strains: Overstretching or tearing of ligaments (sprains) or muscles/tendons (strains) can cause pain and swelling.
    • Fractures: Broken bones in the foot due to trauma or repetitive stress can lead to localized pain.
    • Contusions: Bruising from direct impact can cause pain and tenderness.
  • Foot Conditions:
    • Plantar Fasciitis: Inflammation of the plantar fascia, a ligament that runs along the sole, can cause heel pain.
    • Achilles Tendinitis: Inflammation of the Achilles tendon can cause pain in the back of the heel or calf.
    • Bunions: Abnormal bony growths at the base of the big toe can lead to pain and deformity.
    • Ingrown Toenails: A toenail growing into the surrounding skin can cause pain and infection.
    • Morton’s Neuroma: Thickening of tissue around nerves between toes can cause pain, numbness, or tingling.
    • Corns and Calluses: Thickened skin due to friction can cause discomfort.
    • Hammertoes: Deformities in toe joints can cause pain and difficulty fitting into shoes.
    • Metatarsalgia: Pain in the ball of the foot due to increased pressure on metatarsal bones.
    • Flat Feet: Lack of arch support can lead to pain and strain in the feet.
    • Gout: Buildup of uric acid crystals in joints, particularly the big toe, causing severe pain and inflammation.
  • Medical Conditions:
    • Diabetes: Peripheral neuropathy and poor circulation can cause foot pain and complications.
    • Peripheral Arterial Disease: Reduced blood flow to the feet can cause pain during activity.
    • Rheumatoid Arthritis and Osteoarthritis: Inflammatory or degenerative joint conditions can affect the feet.
    • Nerve Conditions: Conditions like neuropathy (nerve damage) can cause numbness, tingling, and pain.
    • Plantar Warts: Viral infections on the soles of the feet can cause pain.
    • Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome: Compression of the tibial nerve in the ankle can cause pain and numbness.
  • Lifestyle Factors:
    • Improper Footwear: Ill-fitting shoes, high heels, or shoes without proper arch support can lead to pain.
    • Overuse: Repetitive activities like running or standing for long periods can strain the feet.
    • Obesity: Excess weight can increase pressure on the feet and lead to pain.
    • Sudden Increases in Activity: Going from sedentary to highly active can strain the feet.
    • Poor Foot Hygiene: Neglecting foot care can lead to infections or skin-related issues.
  • Other Factors:
    • Age: As people age, the risk of certain foot conditions and pain increases.
    • Genetics: Family history can contribute to certain foot conditions.
    • Gender: Women may be more prone to foot pain due to factors like footwear choices and biomechanics.

The causes of foot pain can be complex and multifaceted. If you’re experiencing persistent or severe foot pain, it’s recommended to consult a healthcare professional for accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

The best treatment for foot pain depends on the underlying cause of the pain. It’s important to consult a healthcare professional to accurately diagnose the cause of your foot pain and receive appropriate treatment recommendations. Here are some general approaches that might be recommended for managing foot pain:

  • Rest and Elevation:
    • Resting the affected foot allows time for healing.
    • Elevating the foot can help reduce swelling.
  • Ice:
    • Applying ice to the painful area can help reduce inflammation and alleviate pain.
    • Use a cloth or towel to protect your skin and apply ice for about 15-20 minutes at a time.
  • Pain Medications:
    • Over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen can help manage pain and reduce inflammation.
  • Supportive Footwear:
    • Wearing comfortable, supportive shoes that fit well can help alleviate pain caused by improper footwear.
    • Orthotic inserts or arch supports might be recommended to provide additional support.
  • Physical Therapy:
    • Physical therapists can provide exercises and stretches to improve foot strength, flexibility, and alignment.
    • They can also help you correct any gait abnormalities.
  • Custom Orthotics:
    • In some cases, custom-made shoe inserts can help redistribute pressure and improve foot mechanics
  • Bracing or Splinting:
    • Braces or splints might be recommended for conditions like plantar fasciitis or Achilles tendinitis to provide support and immobilization.
  • Corticosteroid Injections:
    • For more severe pain and inflammation, a doctor might recommend corticosteroid injections into the affected area.
  • Physical Modalities:
    • Techniques such as ultrasound, electrical stimulation, or laser therapy might be used to promote healing and reduce pain.
  • Lifestyle Changes:
    • Weight management can help reduce strain on the feet.
    • Choosing proper footwear and avoiding high heels can prevent exacerbation of foot pain.
  • Stretching and Strengthening Exercises:
    • Specific exercises can help stretch and strengthen muscles and tendons in the foot, improving overall foot function.
  • Surgery:
    • In cases of severe deformities, chronic pain, or certain conditions that don’t respond to conservative treatments, surgical intervention might be necessary.

Remember, it’s crucial to seek professional medical advice before attempting any treatments on your own. Self-diagnosis and self-treatment could lead to worsened conditions. Only a healthcare professional can provide an accurate diagnosis and recommend the most appropriate treatment plan for your specific situation.

To address foot pain, you should consider consulting with healthcare professionals who specialize in treating conditions related to the feet and lower extremities. The specific type of specialist you should see might depend on the severity and underlying cause of your foot pain. Here are some healthcare professionals you could consider:

  • Podiatrist:
    • A podiatrist is a medical doctor who specializes in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of foot and ankle disorders. They can provide comprehensive care for a wide range of foot issues, from minor discomfort to complex conditions.
  • Orthopedic Surgeon:
    • An orthopedic surgeon specializes in the musculoskeletal system, including bones, muscles, joints, and ligaments. If your foot pain is due to severe structural issues or requires surgical intervention, an orthopedic surgeon might be involved in your treatment.
  • Physical Therapist:
    • A physical therapist can help design exercises and stretches to improve foot strength, flexibility, and function. They can also address biomechanical issues that might contribute to your foot pain.
  • Rheumatologist:
    • If your foot pain is related to arthritis or autoimmune conditions, a rheumatologist specializes in diagnosing and treating these types of disorders.
  • Neurologist:
    • If your foot pain is accompanied by nerve-related symptoms like numbness, tingling, or weakness, a neurologist can help diagnose and manage nerve-related issues.
  • Sports Medicine Specialist:
    • If your foot pain is related to sports or physical activity, a sports medicine specialist can provide expert guidance on managing and preventing sports-related injuries.
  • Endocrinologist:
    • For individuals with diabetes, an endocrinologist can help manage the condition and address foot complications associated with diabetes.
  • Dermatologist:
    • If your foot pain is caused by skin conditions like warts or infections, a dermatologist can provide appropriate treatment.
  • Primary Care Physician (PCP):
    • If your foot pain is not severe and you’re unsure about the cause, your primary care physician can initiate an evaluation and refer you to a specialist if needed.

When seeking treatment for foot pain, it’s a good idea to start with your primary care physician or a podiatrist. They can assess your condition, provide a diagnosis, and recommend appropriate treatment options. If necessary, they might refer you to a specialist with expertise in the specific area of concern. It’s important to communicate your symptoms, medical history, and any relevant details to your healthcare provider to ensure you receive the best care possible.

Yes, exercise can be beneficial for certain types of foot pain, but the specific exercises you should do depend on the underlying cause of your pain. Exercise can help improve foot strength, flexibility, and overall function, which can contribute to pain relief and prevention of future issues. However, it’s important to approach exercise with caution and follow guidance from a healthcare professional, especially if you’re experiencing significant pain or have an underlying medical condition.

Here are some considerations for using exercise to manage foot pain:

  • Consult a Professional: Before starting any exercise regimen for foot pain, it’s advisable to consult a healthcare professional, such as a podiatrist or physical therapist. They can assess your condition, provide appropriate exercises, and ensure that your exercise routine is safe and effective.
  • Stretching: Gentle stretching exercises can help improve flexibility in the muscles and tendons of the feet and ankles. Stretching can be particularly helpful if your foot pain is related to tightness or limited range of motion.
  • Strengthening Exercises: Strengthening the muscles of the feet and lower legs can provide better support for the arches and joints, potentially reducing pain. Toe curls, calf raises, and resistance band exercises are examples of strengthening exercises.
  • Low-Impact Aerobic Activities: Engaging in low-impact activities like swimming, cycling, or using an elliptical machine can help improve cardiovascular fitness without putting excessive stress on the feet.
  • Balance and Stability Exercises: Improving your balance and stability can enhance overall foot function and reduce the risk of injuries. Balancing on one foot, using balance boards, or performing single-leg exercises can be beneficial.
  • Proper Footwear: Wearing appropriate footwear during exercise is crucial. Choose shoes that provide adequate arch support, cushioning, and stability for your specific activity.
  • Gradual Progression: If you’re new to exercise or have been experiencing foot pain, it’s important to start slowly and gradually increase the intensity and duration of your workouts. Sudden increases in activity can worsen existing pain.
  • Listen to Your Body: If any exercise causes significant pain or discomfort, stop immediately. Pain is a signal that something isn’t right, and pushing through it could worsen your condition.
  • Rest and Recovery: Adequate rest and recovery are essential for healing. Give your feet time to recover between exercise sessions, and consider incorporating activities like foot massages and gentle stretches into your routine.
  • Customised Approach: The best exercises for your foot pain will depend on the specific condition causing the pain. A healthcare professional can tailor an exercise program to address your unique needs.

Remember that not all exercises are suitable for every type of foot pain. It’s important to receive personalised guidance from a qualified healthcare provider who can help you create an exercise plan that supports your foot health and helps manage your pain effectively.

Whether or not you will need surgery for foot pain depends on the underlying cause of your pain, the severity of your condition, and how well it responds to non-surgical treatments. Surgery is typically considered when conservative measures have not provided sufficient relief or when the condition requires structural correction that cannot be achieved through non-surgical means.

Here are some factors that might indicate the need for foot surgery:

  • Severe Structural Deformities: Conditions like bunions, hammertoes, and severe flat feet might require surgical intervention if they cause significant pain, affect your ability to walk, or lead to other complications.
  • Ineffective Conservative Treatments: If you’ve tried non-surgical treatments like rest, physical therapy, orthotics, and medications without significant improvement, your doctor might consider surgical options.
  • Chronic Pain: Persistent pain that significantly impacts your quality of life and ability to perform daily activities might warrant surgical exploration.
  • Joint Damage: Arthritic conditions that have caused severe joint damage and are not responding to other treatments might require surgical intervention to repair or replace the affected joint.
  • Nerve Compression: Conditions like tarsal tunnel syndrome, where a nerve is compressed and causing persistent pain and discomfort, might require surgery to release the pressure on the nerve.
  • Fractures: Complex fractures or fractures that don’t heal properly with conservative treatments might require surgical realignment or fixation.
  • Tumors or Growth Removal: If benign or malignant growths develop in the foot, surgical removal might be necessary.
  • Traumatic Injuries: Severe traumatic injuries to the foot, such as dislocations or fractures with significant displacement, might require surgical intervention for proper alignment and healing.

Chews Health top tip for foot pain

There is a wide range of reasons why you may develop foot pain. It’s important to try and find out a reason for your pain so a suitable rehabilitation plan can be started. This also may include insoles and exercise modification in the short term.

Our Specialists

Melanie Clarke
Melanie Clarke
We’ll be forever grateful to Chews, the guys are the absolute BEST IN CLASS when it comes to a fully tailored recovery plan. Our son is a young elite competitive acrobatic gymnast who sadly had a high impact fall at gymnastics dislocating and fracturing his elbow and needed surgery, for a gymnast that trains many hours over 4 days week it was devastating blow, especially with GB competitions coming up. Once out of cast (wk 4 post opp) we started 2 x weekly physio sessions with Richard Saxton (who specialises in child’s physio), he was thorough, diligent and his amazing assessments fully supported the coaches at our sons gym to help build a safe recovery plan. The sessions with Richard and Sanford were fun, engaging and they took great care to help improve full mobility and strength. At week 7 post op our son was doing skills we thought would have taken 4mths to achieve, by week 10 he was back to full impact training, even our hospital follow up with the senior elbow consultant was blown away by the physio support we’d had and the rapid recovery. If it wasn’t for Chews we 100% would not be back training this quickly and not have had the reassurances it was safe to do so…..we’ve definitely found a physio for life. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts Team Chews. From Mel & JJ x x
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I have had a chronic back condition to varying degrees for many years which more recently has forced me to have weeks off work at a time. I was recommended Chews Health by a colleague having tried other physios in the past. However, I always felt that something was missing from the plan. My back muscles would on occasion go into spasm, or my disk to impinge on my nerve, affecting my mobility and effectively setting me back to square one. I came to Chews health a bit wary and was considering surgery due to how much my back was affecting my quality of life and mental health. It has not been a straight forward recovery, but i have made significant progress through having a thorough history taken, my ongoing concerns listened to, and being provided with a clear explanation of not only the exercise plan but additionally explaining why my body was responding in varying ways. This has educated about my condition and provided me with the tools to self manage my condition more effectively should it deteriorate again.. It has not been plain sailing, but I have absolute faith in Jack and his team.
I had to attend Chews Health for help with pain in my elbow and they have been a fantastic help. I am now back to 100%.
The S
The S
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feralie Bennett
feralie Bennett
I saw Richard Saxton for a chronic pain in my achillies. 2 visits, with massage and exercises: clear concise instruction, both written and verbal to do at home were realistic & adapted for my ability - I now no longer require pain relief & can walk the dogs pain free & even manage a few hills. A follow up call to review my progress was also appreciated. The clinic was clean & well equipped. Would highly recommend.
Philip Conroy
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When I had severe back pain I was seen within 24 hours. The problem was resolved after 3 weeks of physiotherapy and exercises. I subsequently took up the annual gym membership package which includes regular reviews by the Physiotherapists. I feel this has benefitted me greatly as I had no previous experience of gyms and ensured I was using the equipment in the correct manner. At all times the staff have been very friendly and professional.
Maureen Morris
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Cecilia Wright
Cecilia Wright
I had been suffering from plantar fasciitis for some months and went Chews Health in the summer for shockwave treatment, after my podiatrist said she had heard good reports about it. Until then I had been resting, exercising it, icing it, using insoles etc., none of which had made much difference. I booked six treatments at the start (recommended) and by the time of the last treatment It was hardly noticeable, so much better! I’ve had two further treatments over the last month, just to be on the safe side, and I’m doing some exercises now to build up the strength in my calf and foot. Chews Health comes with heartfelt recommendations from me, they are friendly, very knowledgeable and best of all - they have fixed my sore foot!