Foot pain: Symptoms, Causes

Foot pain: Symptoms, Causes
Female foot

Foot pain is one of the most common problems which can have many different causes of it. There are many conditions which can cause foot pain. In the most cases you can manage this condition with simple home remedies at your home. But if you have persistent or severe pain in your feet, then you should visit your doctor as soon as possible.

Symptoms of foot pain

Here are the symptoms of foot pain [1]:

  • Difficulty walking on tiptoes: If the sciatic nerve’s S1 spinal nerve root is affected, then you can feel bottom foot pain. You will have weakness in the gastonemius muscle which will make you hard to walk on your tiptoes, raise your heel of f the ground or even you can feel hard to drive or walk.
  • Foot heaviness or weakness (foot drop): Foot drop is a term which is used to describe the heavy or week feeling which makes it difficult or impossible to flex the ankle and bring it in the front of your foot up. This condition is caused by problems in the L5 nerve root which is making you a pain that radiates down the outside of your calf and over the top of the foot to your big toe.
  • Restricted ability to bring the foot up (help walk): This is inability in which you cannot bring your foot upward and this condition can be accompanied by numbness in the middle of your lower leg and foot. This condition can happen if one of your spinal nerve roots in your lower back that innervates the sciatic nerve is affected.

Causes of foot pain

  • A broken or cracked bone (fracture): After a severe injury it can happen a broken bone. But also you can get this condition gradually over time as result of your sporting (such as if you are practicing long – distance running). [2] Also it can be result of osteoporosis.

Foot pain: Symptoms, Causes

  • Diabetic foot problems: People who suffer from diabetes can have many problems which are affecting their feet and they can be very painful. Diabetes is damaging blood vessels and nerves in your feet which lead to pain. [3]
  • An object embedded in your foot: There are some cases in which foot pain is caused by an object that is embedded in your foot. You should be careful with removing this object. If the object is deeply embedded in your foot, then you should ask for help.
  • Oedema: If you have noticed that your whole foot is swollen, heavy and painful that this can be a sign of oedema. This condition is build – up of fluid in the body’s tissues which is causing swelling to the affected areas. This condition usually affects the whole lower leg. This is a reason why you must talk with your doctor.
  • Achilles tendon injuries: Stiffness and pain along the back of the heel can be a sign that you have damage to your Achilles tendon. This condition is known as Achilles tendinopathy. Painkillers, ice packs and rest are often recommended for getting a relief of this condition.
  • Arthritis: One of the most common types of arthritis in the UK is the osteoarthritis. If older people have repeated episodes of foot stiffness and pain, then this can indicate them that the osteoarthritis is suddenly worsening. This is a long – term condition which is caused by wear and tear which is resulting in swelling of the tissues in and around your joints which is also including the big toe and heel joints. [4]
  • Metatarsalgia: This is a term which is used to describe the pain that is happening in the front section of your foot. This term is described as aching or burning pain that ranges from mild to severe. When you are walking, this condition is getting worse. It can affect one or several toes near the ball of the food and in some cases it can affect the entire foot. [1]
  • Morton’s neuroma: In this condition are affected the nerves between your toes. Fibrous tissue is developing around your nerve which is becoming compressed and irritated. This is causing severe burning pain at your toes’ base and on the ball of your foot. [5]
  • Sprains and strains: A strain means muscle fibres have torn or stretched. A sprain means one or more of the ligaments have torn, twisted or stretched. These are very common injuries which can affect your ligaments and muscles. [2]

Above are the most common causes of foot pain.


[1] Hawke F, Burns J. Understanding the nature and mechanism of foot pain. Journal of Foot and Ankle Research. 2009;2:1.

[2] Mayer SW, Joyner PW, Almekinders LC, Parekh SG. Stress fractures of the foot and ankle in athletes. Sports Health. 2014;6(6):481–91.

[3] Bansal V, Kalita J, Misra UK. Diabetic neuropathy. Postgraduate Medical Journal. 2006;82(964):95–100.

[4] Riskowski J, Dufour AB, Hannan MT. Arthritis, foot pain & shoe wear: Current musculoskeletal research on feet. Current Opinion in Rheumatology. 2011;23(2):148–55.

[5] Matthews BG, Hurn SE, Harding MP, et al. The effectiveness of non-surgical interventions for common plantar digital compressive neuropathy (Morton’s neuroma): a systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Foot and Ankle Research. 2019;12.


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