What are the Most Common Causes of Foot Pain?

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  • Written By: B. Miller
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 08 October 2019
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Common causes of foot pain can vary, depending on whether the pain has just occurred or if it is a persistent, regularly occurring pain. Wearing improper shoes that pinch the toes or do not properly support the arch can be a leading cause of pain in the feet, as well as actual injuries such as bruises, muscle strains, or fractures. Foot conditions such as plantar fascitis, plantar warts, or gout are also common sources of foot pain that may need to be treated by a doctor in order to heal completely.

Trauma to the foot is a common cause of foot pain. This can be caused by something falling on the foot, by someone stepping on it, or by simply tripping or falling. Fractures, bruises, and muscle strains or sprains are quite common, and can be very painful depending on the severity. If the foot does not appear to be fractured, elevating it, applying an ice pack, and resting it so the injury can heal is the best course of treatment. If the foot pain does not improve within a short period of time, it may be best to visit a doctor for an x-ray and determine if an actual break has occurred.


Improper shoes are another of the most common causes of foot pain. This is especially true for people who have low arches or especially high arches, which need more support. Heels or shoes that are too flat can both cramp the toes and stretch the arches of the feet. This can lead to tendinitis or plantar fascitis, which are both quite painful. Choosing shoes that offer better cushioning and support to the feet, while allowing the toes room to move, is a good option. Stability or motion control shoes are often the best choice for supporting very high arches, whereas shoes with a lower insole may be a better choice for those with relatively flat feet.

Other foot conditions such as ingrown toenails, plantar warts, athlete's foot, gout, or bunions, among others, can also lead to pain in the feet. Ingrown toenails can often be prevented by cutting the toenails straight across, not too short, and not rounding the edges. In addition, warts can sometimes be treated at home with wart remover that can be purchased in stores. Other conditions may require the treatment of a podiatrist to help relieve pain or prevent the condition from worsening; some conditions may actually require surgery.


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