Foot Pain

Foot Pain Common Causes

Foot pain is a common problem with a wide range of causes.

Common causes of foot pain include

  • Sprains and Strains
  • Diabetic Foot Problems such as Peripheral Neuropathy and Peripheral Vascular disease
  • Ingrowing Toenails
  • Arthritis
  • Verrucas and Warts
  • Corns, calluses and Blisters
  • Bunions
  • Gout
  • Plantar Fasciitis commonly known as heel pain
  • Moton`s Neuroma
  • Metatarsalgia
  • Broken Bones
  • Achilles Tendon Injuries
  • Foreign objects embedded within the foot
  • Oedema

Sprains and Strains

Are very common injuries that affect muscles and ligaments (strong bands of tissue around joints that connect one bone to another). They often occur if you change direction or speed suddenly.

A sprain means one or more of your ligaments have stretched, twisted or torn.

A strain means muscle fibres have stretched or torn.

As well as pain, a sprain or strain can cause swelling, bruising and tenderness, and may result in you being unable to put weight on your foot.

Most sprains and strains can be managed at home using PRICE therapy (protection, rest, ice, compression and elevation) and painkillers. It is always advisable to have a health care professional such as your GP or Podiatrist examine the injury if symptoms persist for longer than 10 days


is a type of arthritis caused by a build-up of uric acid (a waste product) in your joints. It causes sudden bouts of severe pain, redness, swelling and warmth in affected joints, even when you're resting.

These attacks usually last a few days at a time and most often affect the big toe joint. It can sometimes be difficult to tell the difference between gout and a severely inflamed bunion so it is advisable to always see your GP or Podiatrist for a diagnosis


Are small growths that usually develop on the soles of the feet. They can be painful if you put weight on them when you stand up or walk. please see our latest blog on Verrucas for further information

Corns and Calluses and Blisters

Poorly-fitting shoes that rub on the feet can damage the skin and may cause:

  • Blisters – small pockets of fluid that form in the upper layers of the skin
  • Corns– small circles of thick skin
  • Calluses – hard, rough areas of skin that are often yellowish in color

These conditions can all result in pain and discomfort when you walk.

Most blisters heal naturally in a few days and don't require medical attention. Wearing comfortable, well-fitting shoes can help stop them returning.

Corns and calluses don't necessarily improve on their own and you may need to see a podiatrist or chiropodist, who can advise you about appropriate treatment.


A bunion is a bony prominence of the big toe that can be painful when wearing shoes and make walking difficult.

Bunions are a common foot problem, particularly in women. The big toe points towards the other toes and the big toe joint sticks out, forming a bony lump.

Bunions can get worse if they're left untreated, so it's best to see a GP, Podiatrist or Chiropodist

for advice. Non-surgical treatments are usually tried first, including wearing comfortable and wide shoes, orthotics (insoles), painkillers and bunion pads. Corrective surgery may sometimes be necessary,at Herts Wellness Centre we have a direct referral system in place with a well respected and reputable Podiatric foot Surgeon who accepts private health care insurance

Ingrowing Toenails- Please see our nail surgery section for further information

The toenail pierces the skin, which can become red, swollen and tender. It can also be painful if pressure is placed on the toe or the toe becomes infected.

Cutting your toenails straight across and gently pushing the skin away from the nail using a cotton bud may help improve an ingrowing toenail. In some cases, a procedure to remove part or all of the affected nail may be necessary.

Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar Fasciitis is the result of damage to the tough band of tissue (fascia) that runs under the sole of the foot, which causes pain in the heel. It most commonly affects people aged 40 to 60 who are overweight or on their feet for long periods of time.

The pain tends to develop gradually over time and is at its worst when you wake up in the morning and at the end of the day.

Resting your heel, regular stretching, applying ice packs, taking painkillers and wearing well-fitted, supportive shoes can often help relieve the pain. In a small number of cases, other treatments such as orthotics or injections may be necessary.

Morton's Neuroma

Morton`s Neuroma is a condition that affects the nerves between the toes.

Fibrous tissue develops around the nerve, which becomes irritated and compressed. This causes severe burning pain on the ball of the foot and at the base of the toes.

Morton's neuroma can occur on one foot or both feet. It usually affects the nerve between the third and fourth toes, but sometimes the second and third toes are affected.

If you have Morton's neuroma, it may help to wear shoes with more room for the toes. You can also take painkillers or have steroid injections to help ease the pain. If these treatments don't work, surgery may be needed.

Metatarsalgia Metatarsalgia is the term for pain that occurs in the front section of the foot.

It is often described as a burning or aching pain that ranges from mild to severe and gets worse when walking. It can affect one or several toes near the ball of your foot, or sometimes the entire foot.

Anything that puts extra strain or pressure on the ball of your foot can bring on the pain – for example, wearing tight-fitting shoes for a long period of time, high impact sports, or being overweight. Older people are more susceptible to metatarsalgia.

Most cases of metatarsalgia can be managed using PRICE therapy (protection, rest, ice, compression and elevation), painkillers, changing your footwear and using shock-absorbing insoles.

Achilles Tenson Injuries

Pain and stiffness along the back of your heel could be a sign of damage to your Achilles tendon. This is known as Achilles tendinopathy or Achilles Tendinitis.

The pain can often be relieved with rest, ice packs and painkillers at home, although it may take several months to resolve completely.

If you experience sudden and severe pain in your heel, which may have been accompanied by a "popping" or "snapping" sound, you may have ruptured (torn) your Achilles tendon.

You should seek medical advice as soon as possible if you think you have ruptured your Achilles tendon. Often this will be treated with immobilisation (wearing a plaster cast or plastic boot) for several weeks. Surgery may sometimes be required to repair the tear.


If your whole foot is painful, heavy and swollen, it may be a sign ofoedema.

This is a build-up of fluid (mainly water) in the body's tissues, causing swelling to occur in the affected area.

Diabetic foot problems

People with diabetes can experience a number of potentially serious problems affecting their feet, some of which can be very painful. This is because the condition can damage nerves and blood vessels in your feet.

Foot problems that can affect people with diabetes include:

  • nerve damage (peripheral neuropathy), which can cause numbness and burning, stabbing or shooting pains in your feet
  • poor circulation (ischaemia), which can cause your feet to become painful, cold, red and swollen
  • skin ulcers – painful sores that take a very long time to heal
  • skin infections – ulcers that become red and swollen, and may produce a foul-smelling odour and green discharge

Contact your GP, Podaitrist or diabetes care team immediately if you have diabetes and think you have developed a problem with one or both of your feet.

A broken or cracked bone (fracture)

A broken or cracked (fractured) bone in your foot can occur suddenly after a severe injury, or gradually over time as a result of doing lots of high-impact sports (such as long-distance running). Occasionally they can occur as a result of osteoporosis(weakened bones).

Any bone in and around the foot can be affected

The affected area will be very painful and tender to touch, and the skin may be bruised. You should stop all activity immediately and avoid putting weight on your foot until you see a doctor.

Please note: for the purpose of oofering our patients the best quality and up to date information

information within this blog titled Foot Pain has been sourced from NHS choices and peer reviewed research paper these are not in the words of Herts wellness Centre and we make no claim of ownership of this material

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