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Foot Pain Reasons

Updated on May 11, 2017
Aron Mejias MD profile image

I have devoted my life to studying human behavior and social evolution. I love sharing the best of my knowledge with those interested.

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Types of Foot Pain

By Dr. Aron Mejias, MD.

Foot Pain represents one of the most common reasons to seek a doctor. It can affect anybody from preschoolers to the elderlies. It’s more frequent in women than men. The prevalence of it has a tendency to increase after the age of 45 years and within the obese population. Under the general name of foot pain is encompassed any pain that can affect your foot from its toenails to the posterior part of the heel and Achilles’ tendon. There are many types of foot pain. The localization, as well as the pain characteristic, can help your doctor determining the nature and type of foot pain.

Mild foot pain can be treated with home remedies, but particular attention should be dedicated to its onset and the possible causes of it. There are plenty reasons for a sore foot. For an easy classification, we can divide it based on its localization on top or bottom of the foot.


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The most frequent pain on the top of the foot

Ingrown toenails: This pain is the sudden onset and very painful, it's localized around the toenail. This lesion gets worse by the time and frequently becomes infected. The pain can be triggered by touch or pressure over the area. The origin of the lesion is a skin grows over the edges of the nail, or the nail grows into the adjacent skin.

Stress Fracture: This pain is the sudden onset, and it's localized behind the second toe, but it can lie behind any toe. A deformity or swelling can be observed under the toes, and the area it’s very painful to the touch or manipulation. The pain is triggered by movement and alleviated by rest. The patient denied any history of trauma or accidental injury in the foot, but they recall exercising.

Extensor Tendinitis: This pain can have a sudden or gradual onset, and it’s localized in the middle of the top of the foot, it’s aggravated by extending the foot against some resistance. Usually, the patient recalls some form of jumping or prolonged calf exercise.


Gout

Gout: This pain is the sudden onset and extremely severe, it’s localized in the big toe, it can be seen a swollen, red and warm big toe. The pain is just so severe that it requires medical attention. The cause of this pain is a crystal deposition in the big toe joint or articulation due to the inability of the organism to regulate the uric acid metabolism properly.

Corns: This pain is the insidious onset. It can get worse over time and with close and tight shoes wearing. Corns are Skin overgrowth that forms cone-shaped lesion over the toes; sometimes it can compress a nerve causing pain.

Arthritis: This is an insidious or gradual pain that comes and goes over time. It’s caused by wear and tear of the joints, its localization is usually over the big toe area, and the most common type is osteoarthritis.

Bunions: This is a pain usually trigger by certain shoes, it's localized on the side of the foot around the base of the big toe, a bony deformity or bump on the edge of the big toe joint can be easily noted. The big toe can be displaced toward the second toe or under it.

Hammer toe: This pain is the gradual onset, and it's localized over the toe. Its severity can range from mild to severe. It’s aggravated by high heels shoes and wearing too tight shoes. A deformity and abnormal contraction of the toe is viewed. It usually involves the second and third toe. The deformity can often be corrected by pulling the toe, and in more advanced cases the deformity is not easily modified. The ligaments and muscle of the toe are wounded.

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The most frequent pain in the bottom of the foot are:

The most common pain in the bottom of the foot are:

Blisters: These are lesions that form as a result of direct injury to the skin that can be caused by friction and humidity, bacterial or fungal infections, burns, allergy reaction. The pain is mild and well localized over the area. However, it’s the cause is not corrected the pain can get worse and even make walking difficult.

Plantar Fasciitis: This pain is the gradual onset, and its intensity is moderate to severe. It’s localized under the sole of the foot at the arch of it or in the heel. It's caused by the inflammation of a fibrous ligament knew as the plantar fascia. The patient usually recalls wearing a new pair of shoes before the pain started.

Metatarsalgia: This is a gradual onset pain localized in the forefront section of the foot. The pain is often described as burning; it can be mild or severe enough to make it difficult to walk, sometimes a sensation of tingling or numbness in the toes can be present. It causes by wearing unfitted shoes or high heels shoes that put an excessive weight at the forefront of the foot.


Fibromas, plantar fibromas: These are nodular masses that form within a ligament. Usually, these masses get bigger and compress the nerve and produce pain in the foot while walking. The localization of the masses is the Plantar Fascia.

Neuroma: This nerve pain in the foot results from the swelling of a nerve, secondary to continuous nerve compression or direct trauma to the nerve. Sometimes the nerve swelling can be seen and feel during the examination, and the pain can be so severe that it becomes unbearable for the patient. Morton Neuroma is the most common neuroma this is the inflammation or swelling of the nerve localized between the third and fourth toes and less frequently between the second and third toe.

Can be very tricky to identify the type of foot pain correctly. Its origin and causes, even though foot pain has received more attention nowadays. The high prevalence of it among all ages group, and the detrimental impact on the quality of life for those who suffer it makes this pathology one of the most reported reason for medical consultation. The population who is predisposed to foot pain are women, obese, elderly and adults over 45 years old. Even though many Types of Foot Pain can be managed initially with home remedies, the severity and limitations of these must be taken into account to seek medical attention sooner.

References

Hill, C.L., Gill, T.K , Menz, H.B. , Taylor, A.W., 2008 Jul 28 Prevalence and correlates of foot

pain in a population-based study: the North West Adelaide health study.

doi: 10.1186/1757-1146-1-2

McKeon, P.O., Hertel, J., Bramble, D., Davis, I. The Foot Core SystemA New Paradigm for

Understanding Intrinsic Foot Muscle Function. British Journal of Sports Medicine 2015;49(5):290.

Foot Pain http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/foot-pain/pages/introduction.aspx#fractures

Roddy, E., Myers, H., Thomas. M.J., Marshall, M., D'Cruz D, et all. 2011 The clinical

assessment study of the foot (CASF): study procotol for a prospective observational

study of foot pain and foot osteoarthritis in the general population.

© 2016 Dr Aron Mejias MD

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