COMMON FOOT PAIN CONDITIONS
Foot pain can have causes that aren't due to underlying disease.
Examples include poorly fitting shoes, prolonged periods on feet, overuse such as long walks or running a marathon, sprains, strains, or trauma.
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FOOT PAIN & CONDITIONS
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Foot pain is a very common problem. However, the challenge with foot pain is that there are many different potential causes, making it even difficult at times for healthcare professionals to get to the root of your discomfort.
Where the pain is and how it feels—throbbing, aching, stabbing, tender, and so on—can offer clues, but given all the possible causes, symptoms may not be enough to settle on a diagnosis.
Foot pain may be caused by many different diseases, deformities, biomechanical conditions, improper footwear, or injuries. Infectious diseases, viruses, fungi, and bacteria can cause foot pain. Plantar warts on the bottom of the foot are caused by a virus and can cause irritation and pain. Athlete's foot, which is caused by a fungus, can lead to foot irritation and pain.
A common cause of foot pain is an ingrown toenail. Ingrown toenails occur when the edges of the nail grow through or into the skin, resulting in pain and often leading to infection. Patients with diabetes are more prone to infection since their immune system is compromised.
Many systemic diseases such as diabetes, lupus, gout, and rheumatoid arthritis can cause foot pain. Rheumatoid arthritis can cause painful inflammation in the joints of the foot, accompanied by alignment changes that lead to foot deformities.
Deformities, such as tarsal coalitions, calcaneal varus, calcaneal valgus, bunions, claw toes, mallet toes, hammertoes, and bone spurs, are common causes of foot pain.
Biomechanical abnormalities from muscle and tendon tightness or laxity, flat feet, or high arched feet often lead to muscle imbalances, deformities, and foot pain.
Trauma from an acute injury or from accumulative repetitive injury is a very common cause of foot pain, as well. An example of such an injury is Achilles tendonitis or rupture.
The tendon can rupture from an acute, sudden injury or it can become inflamed (tendinitis) from repetitive insult to the structure.
Injuries to the skin and internal structures may also be caused by small repetitive traumas or pressures. Micro-trauma injuries can be caused by running on uneven surfaces or surfaces that are too hard or too soft, or by wearing shoes that have poor force-absorption qualities, are not activity-specific, or fit incorrectly.
Wearing shoes that are too tight or high heels can cause pain in the forefoot. Shoes that are tied too tightly can cause pain and bruise on the top of the foot. Improper, non-sport-specific shoes for running or cycling can lead to foot pain with activities.
Poorly fitting shoes in the short term can cause blisters, bruising, and be a source of an athlete's foot. The long-term effects of poorly fitting shoes may be bunions, corns, calluses, irritation of nerves and joints, and misalignment of the toes.
Morton's neuroma caused by the thickening of tissue around a nerve between the toes can cause toe numbness and pain and may also be aggravated by ill-fitting shoes as can many foot deformities such as hammertoes, mallet toes, and bunions.
If you are enduring foot pain, it's important to see a doctor for an evaluation. Foot pain can be very disabling, and research suggests it can affect a person's mood, risk of falls, and quality of life.