What is Foot Pain?
Foot pain is a feeling of discomfort felt anywhere in the different parts of the foot, including the heels, toes, arch, instep, sole or ankles. With 26 bones and 33 joints, layered with an intertwining web of 126 muscles, ligaments and nerves, the foot is a complex structure.
This part of human body performs multiple functions of supporting weight, acting as a shock absorber and helping to maintain balance of the body. This, in turn, explains the severity and nature of the numerous causes of foot pain.
Common Conditions and Causes
The condition of foot pain is essentially defined by its site of origin.i.e. toes, forefoot and hindfoot. Here we briefly discuss the foot pain conditions associated to each one of these along with their causes:
A) Toe Pain
1. Corns and Calluses: This is the thickened skin from friction or pressure. Calluses are on the balls of the feet or heels.
2. Ingrown nails: In this condition, severe pain is felt in the toenails.
3. Bunions and bunionettes: These are caused by wearing narrow-toed footwear.
4. Mortons neuroma: This condition is caused by wearing tight-fitting shoes and causes sharp or burning pain in the ball of the foot.
5. Hammertoe/Claw toe: These are the toes that curl downward into a claw-like position.
B) Forefoot Pain
1. Metatarsalgia: This is defined as a pain in the ball of the foot and is primarily caused by ill-fitting footwear.
2. Stress fracture: This is typically a sudden pain accompanied by an injury.
3. Sesamoiditis: This is essentially the pain and swelling in the ball of the foot beneath the big toe.
1. Plantar fasciitis: This is defined by pain in the back of the arch, in front of the heel.
2. Bursitis of the heel: Pain is felt in the center of the heel.
3. Haglunds deformity: The fleshy area on the back of the heel becomes painful in this condition.
4. Achilles tendonitis: In this condition, severe pain is felt in the Achilles Tendon and the same worsens during physical activities.
D) Arch and Back-of-the Foot Pain
1. Tarsal tunnel syndrome: Pain is felt at any of the points along the bottom of the foot, accompanied by numbness or tingling sensation.
2. Flat feet: Pain is felt in the arch, but is normally not accompanied by any pain or discomfort.
Prevention and Home Care
Some of the most frequently given advice for preventing foot pain includes:
· Wear comfortable footwear
· Wear sneakers while walking
· Avoid narrow-toed shoes and high heels
· Warm up before exercise
· Maintain a healthy body weight
· Exercise to strengthen your feet
· Keep feet free of moisture
· Avoid alcohol to prevent gout
You can also use various home remedies to treat and prevent foot pain:
· Apply ice to reduce pain and swelling
· Elevate the painful foot as much as possible
· Reduce activity until the problem resolves
· Wear footpads in the area of friction
· Take medication, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, unless your medical history does not allow you to do so.