10 Common Causes of Foot Pain and How to Treat It

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10 Common Causes of Foot Pain and How to Treat It


Our feet carry us around wherever we wish to go.

We, however, pay them little mind unless they’re causing some kind of pain or discomfort. When this kind of pain hits, it can be difficult to stand, walk, or conduct everyday activities.

Pain in the foot can manifest itself in the toes, arches, and heels. It’s so common, in fact, that a “…survey from the Institute for Preventive Foot Health shows that nearly 80 percent of people ages 21 and older have had at least one problem with their feet.” (1)

Luckily, this pain is very treatable, just read the list of causes of foot pain below to find out how to do it.

10 Most Common Causes of Foot Pain

Once you know what you’re suffering from, it’s a lot easier to seek treatment and get you feet back to health.

1. Plantar Fasciitis

This common foot problem starts in the connective tissue that connects the heel to the toes. When it becomes injured or inflamed, it may cause arch and heel pain (2).

Wearing proper footwear with arch support and strengthening and stretching the feet and calves are equally important.

2. Flat feet

Fallen arches occur when the tendons in your calves don’t pull together properly. This causes the natural upward arch in the middle of your foot to fall flat. Children and pregnant women experience fallen arches, but only temporarily. Aging, diabetes, genetics, injury, and obesity may also cause the condition (3).

To ease the swelling and aches, orthotics might be order. It’s also advised to seek help from a podiatrist to get a proper diagnosis.

3. Heel Spurs

Heel spurs are growths of little calcium deposit protrusions under heel bones. Some heel spurs are painless while others cause heal pain or even plantar fasciitis.

Exercise, custom-made orthotics, anti-inflammatory medications, and cortisone injections can all treat heel spurs, but surgery might be required if the condition is too advanced. Losing weight, avoiding running, and wearing proper shoes can help treat and prevent the condition (4).

4. Calluses

Calluses are thick skin that builds up on your heels, toes, and the balls of your feet to protect your skin friction and pressure. They can also occur on the hands of athletes and the fingers of certain musicians. While they aren’t painful, they do cause dry, rough skin that can be unsightly to some (5).

Calluses can be treated at home with soaking your feet in warm water, moisturizing the skin, and using a pumice stone to exfoliate the bottom of your foot. Podiatrists and estheticians may also remove the skin by using a sterile blade (6).

5. Stone Bruise

This deep and excruciating bruise that occurs on the ball of the foot. It’s commonly seen in physically active people who regularly jump or run. It’s also common in overweight, middle-aged, or diabetic people. Resting and icing the affected foot with heal the bruise faster than it would on its own (7).

6. Sprains and Strains

Exercising excessively or without proper form are both common causes of these minor injuries. They can also occur sudden trauma, such as a fall, twist, or blow to the body (8).

Treat these injuries with rest, ice, compression, and elevation. If the pain doesn’t subside, visit your doctor, you may be suffering from a muscle tear or a more serious injury.

7. Gout

Gout falls under the arthritis spectrum, as it brings sudden burning pain, stiffness, and swelling in a joint, typically in the big toe (9).

Left untreated, gout attacks come over and over again until they harm your joints, tendons, and other tissues.

Gout is caused by too much uric acid in the blood, which accumulates into crystals in the joint. People who are overweight, drink too much alcohol, eat too much meat and fish, and take diuretics regularly are at a higher risk.

During a gout attack, rest the affected joint, ice and elevate it, and take anti-inflammatory foods. It’s also a good idea to drink plenty of water to flush out the excess uric acid (10).

8. Achilles Tendinitis

Tendinitis is an inflammation of the tendon caused by injury or overuse. It can occur anywhere in the body. Achilles Tendinitis affects the tendon that joins your calf muscles to your heel bone. To heal it naturally, rest immediately and avoid exercise for at least a week or until the inflammation and pain subside. It’s also important to stretch before exercising and avoid wearing high heels and ill-fitting shoes (11).

9. Bunions

Bunions are a common condition caused by genetics or by lifestyle factors such as wearing small shoes or high heels. It’s characterized by a bony bulge on the side of your foot, near the joint of your big toe. They can also occur near your pinky toe (12).

Bunions can be stopped in their tracks through massage and other remedies.

10. Ingrown Toenail

Ingrown toenails occur when edges or corners of the toenail grow into the skin next to the nail and break the skin. It’s most common on the big toe but can occur on any toe. The condition is extremely painful, red, and swollen. Because of its location, it’s also very prone to infection (13).

It can be caused by injury, improperly cutting your toenails, or wearing tight shoes. Often times, an ingrown toenail can be remedied at home, it may require medical attention, especially if infection occurs.

Even if you aren’t affected by the conditions listed above, it’s a good idea to give your feet a little TLC every once in awhile.

Try soaking your feet in Epsom salt, warm water, and tea tree or peppermint oil after long hours of standing. Follow up with a nice foot massage before bed. It’s also very beneficial to invest in high-quality footwear.



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