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Alternative namesPain - foot
DefinitionPain or discomfort can be felt anywhere in the foot, including the heel, toes, arch, instep, sole, or ankles. See also ankle pain and heel pain .
Foot pain can be caused by:
Ill-fitting shoes often cause these problems. Aging and being overweight also increase your chances of having foot problems.
Morton's neuroma, caused by two bones on the sole of your foot rubbing together, leads to a sharp or burning pain in the ball of your foot (and sometimes toes). It is less common, but can be related to wearing tight-fitting shoes.
Other common causes of foot pain include:
For plantar warts, try an over-the-counter wart removal preparation.
For calluses, soak in warm water and then rub them down with a pumice stone. DO NOT cut or burn corns or calluses.
For foot pain caused by a stress fracture, an extended rest period is often necessary. Crutches may be used for a week or so to take the pressure off, if your foot is particularly painful.
For foot pain due to plantar fasciitis , shoe inserts may help.
Call your health care provider if
Call your doctor if:
Your doctor will perform a physical examination, paying particular attention to your feet, legs, and back, and your stance, posture, and gait.
To help diagnose the cause of the problem, your doctor will ask medical history questions, such as:
X-rays may be useful in making a diagnosis.
For bunions, plantar fasciitis, bone spurs, Morton's neuroma, or other conditions, your doctor may inject cortisone. This will be considered if oral medication, changing your shoes, and other measures have not helped. No more than three injections in a year should be attempted in most cases.
A broken foot will be casted. Broken toes will be taped.
Orthotics fit by a podiatrist or other specialist can help many structurally related problems. Physical therapy is also quite helpful for conditions related to over-use or tight muscles, like plantar fasciitis or achilles tendinitis.
Removal of plantar warts, corns, or calluses may be necessary. This is generally performed by a podiatrist.
Surgery may be considered for certain conditions like bunions or hammer toes if the pain interferes with walking or other activities.
The following steps can prevent foot problems and foot pain:
Update Date: 11/13/2003Jacqueline A. Hart, M.D., Department of Internal Medicine, Newton-Wellesley Hospital, Boston, Ma., and Senior Medical Editor, A.D.A.M., Inc. Previously reviewed by Thomas N. Joseph, M.D., Department of Orthopedic Surgery, NYU/Hospital for Joint Diseases, New York, NY. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network (11/14/2002).
Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT