Foot Pain can be due to a problem in any part of the foot. Bones, ligaments, tendons, muscles, fascia, toenail beds, nerves, joint, blood vessels, or skin can be the source of foot pain. The cause of foot pain can be narrowed down by location and by considering some of the most common causes of discomfort.

  • Condition

    Understanding what is at the source of your pain or condition is the first step in finding a solution that is right for you.

  • Symptoms & Signs

    Identifying specific issues with your foot and locating the source of pain is the first step in treatment. From the heel to your big toe the foot is a complex and very dynamic system.

  • Treatment

    Depending on the cause of your pain specific orthotics and braces can be used to help alleviate pressure and correct conditions in the foot to help your recovery.

Heel Pain

Plantar fasciitis is the most common cause of heel pain. The plantar fascia, a band of tough tissue connecting the heel bone to the toes, becomes irritated or inflamed. Heel pain which is often worst in the morning when getting out of bed or getting up from rest, is the most common symptom. Arch pain may also be present in some individuals as the plantar fascia runs from the heel out to the toes.

Heel spurs are abnormal growths of bone that can develop on the bottom of the heel bone (calcaneus). It may be caused by an abnormal gait, structural and functional foot mechanics, inappropriate shoes, or certain activities. Although many people may have heel spurs, only a few these people will present with foot pain. Heel spurs can occur in people with plantar fasciitis, but they do not cause plantar fasciitis. People with flat feet or high arches may be more likely to have foot pain from heel spurs.

A bruised heel is a bruise of the fat pad of the heel. It can occur after stepping on a rock or other hard object or jumping / falling from a height.

A fracture of the heel bone (calcaneus) is usually trauma related. It is most often caused by high impact to the heel, for example, when a person has fallen from a height or been in a car accident. Heel pain, bruising, swelling, limping, or difficulty walking are the main symptoms.

Ball of Foot

Pain in the ball of your foot is called Metatarsalgia. This condition causes pain or a burning sensation when you apply force to the foot when standing, walking or running. It can also cause related symptoms like numbness or tingling in your toes as well as sharp pain.

Metatarsalgia can develop in a common work environment where the worker is standing or working on concrete or hard surfaces for long periods of time. By not wearing supportive footwear or using supportive insoles / custom orthotics, workers expose their feet to high pressure loads over a long day. The condition can also arise from the deterioration of the foot’s natural fat pads which cushion the foot. Athletes training or competing in improper footwear or increasing their amount of activity too rapidly are also prone to metatarsalgia.

Bunions, Deformity, Neuroma, & Other Causes

Foot Pain is also related to a number of different conditions in the joints and nerves of the foot. Some of the top conditions we see at Okaped deal with the following injuries or conditions.

  • Bunions
    A bunion is a bony enlargement or bump located on the side of the big toe joint. This area is often irritated and made more painful by tight fitting shoes causing pressure and friction on the area.
  • Hallux Valgus Deformity
    This is a shift of the big toe toward the smaller toes. It is often improperly identified as a bunion, but frequently co-exists with a bunion.
  • Hallux Limitus / Hallux Rigidus
    Hallux limitus is limited or reduced motion in the big toe joint possibly due to bony changes in the joint. Hallux rigidus is a complete loss of motion in the joint.
  • Metatarsal Stress Fractures
    A stress fracture is a small break in the bone caused by repetitive stress.
  • Metatarsal Phalangeal Joint Capsulitis
    This refers to a local inflammation under the metatarsal head (ball of the foot) sometimes due to degeneration of the ligaments that stabilize the metatarsal head.
  • Morton’s Neuroma (interdigital neuroma)
    A Morton’s neuroma develops in response to irritation, pressure or injury to one of the nerves that lead to the toes. A neuroma is most often found between the 3rd and 4th toes but can also occur between the 2nd and 3rd.
  • Freiberg’s Disease
    This condition occurs from a lack of blood supply (avascular), which results in permanent damage to the bone tissue at the 2nd metatarsal head. The avascularity leads to eventual collapse and deformity of the metatarsal head.

If you are experiencing foot pain or discomfort, you should consult your physician for a proper diagnosis and an appropriate treatment plan.

Your doctor may refer you to OKAPED to see a Canadian Certified Pedorthist for Pedorthic management of your foot pain. This may include orthopaedic footwear, shoe selection guidance, orthotics and/or foot related products such as a metatarsal pad. If you know your condition and want to learn about new products and treatments please give us a call.

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