3 Common Types Of Foot Pain: What You Need To Know

Are you experiencing pain, swelling, and discomfort in one or both feet? Then you might be experiencing one of the many different types of foot pain. The problem with foot pain is that sometimes, it can be hard to describe and difficult to locate the source of the pain. However challenging it may be, they are still able to diagnose and treat your foot pain no matter how challenging it may be.

According to a study conducted by Joshua Burns and Fiona Hawke, the most common areas of foot pain includes the big toe, the bone behind the big toe, the midfoot, and the bottom of our heels. However, there different causes of foot pain – corns and calluses, ingrown toenails, Hammertoes, Arthritis, Tendonitis, Metatarsalgia, and Morton neuroma. However, Bunions, Metatarsalgia, and Plantar fasciitis are the three most common types of foot pain. Each can have a different cause, symptom, and treatment, which is why proper diagnosis is essential.

Bunions

Bunions are what healthcare professionals call hallux valgus. A large, painful bump characterises these at the base of your big toe that can vary in size. These forms when your big toe shifts out of position. One of the most common causes of bunions is constant use of tight shoes that cramps on your toes, rheumatoid arthritis, and genetics. There’s also a condition called bunionette which occurs due to increased pressure applied to your pinky toes, resulting in a bunion near that area.

People with bunions will have a bulging bump near the pinky or big toe. They will also have intermittent or persistent pain in the area, soreness, swelling and redness and even corns, calluses and restricted big toe movements. Your doctor can diagnose you with bunions by merely looking at your foot and by assessing the signs and symptoms of your foot pain.  However, an x-ray is necessary for them to check the probable causes, the severity of the problem and possible treatments.

One can relieve bunion pain by maintaining a healthy weight, wearing well-fitted shoes, soaking your feet in warm water, and by using ice packs shoe inserts and a gel-filled pad. Your doctor may prescribe you to drink non-steroidal drugs to ease the pain, or a bunion splint or toe spacers to alleviate discomfort. Your doctor may recommend surgery to return the correct position of the big toe, but it will still depend on your condition.

Plantar Fasciitis

This occurs when the plantar fascia becomes bruise, torn or inflamed. The plantar fascia is a thick and fibrous connective tissue that runs from the heel to the ball of your foot. It supports the arch of your foot by maintaining the proper positioning of the joints and bones of your foot. It also helps you push from the ground. The plantar fascia can get injured by over shortening, overstretching or excessive pressure directly on the plantar fascia.

The common symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis are:

  • A dull or sharp, shooting pain in the heel or sole
  • Swelling on the sole or heel of the foot
  • Pain on the midfoot area
  • Burning feeling that starts from the bottom extending towards the hell of the foot

Most patients complain of foot pain after getting in the morning, when standing up for long periods, when moving and after exercising. People who have a very active lifestyle tend to put extra stress on their plantar fascia, making them at risk in developing Plantar Fasciitis. These individuals include ballet dancers, runners, and acrobats.

Some medical conditions like Diabetes and arthritis can increase your risk of developing Plantar Fasciitis. People with structural foot problems such as those with Tight Achilles Tendons and those with very flat feet or very high foot arches are at risk.

Your doctor can diagnose Plantar Fasciitis by conducting a physical exam. They will ask you to describe the symptoms you experience, when the pain usually occurs, check the location of the pain and the tenderness of your foot. They will also test your balance and coordination, muscle tone, reflexes and sense of sight and touch to evaluate nerve health and muscle strength. They will most probably require either an MRI scan or an X-ray to check for other problems and probable causes of foot pain.

Plantar Fasciitis Treatment includes adequate rest, using ice to reduce swelling, staying off your affected feet, doing stretching exercises, using arch supports and drinking NSAIDS. Physiotherapy can help alleviate pain and discomfort, so it would be best to work with an experienced physiotherapist to get long-term to relieve.

Good Read: The Benefits of Physiotherapy Go Beyond Treating Injuries

Metatarsalgia

Healthcare professional describe Metatarsalgia as an inflamed ball foot. Athletes who do high-impact sports are at risk in developing Metatarsalgia. The usual symptoms include sharp or shooting pain that aggravates when walking, running and standing, numbness, tingling and swelling of the metatarsal bones. Other causes of Metatarsalgia are Morton’s neuroma, excessive weight, Tight Achilles tendon,  arthritis, weak or tight toe flexors or extensors, prominent metatarsal heads, hammertoe deformity, pronation and extended use of ill-fitting footwear.

One can manage signs and symptoms of Metatarsalgia by regular application of ice and pressure bandage, using metatarsal pads, using comfortable and well-fitted footwear and careful stretching and strengthening exercises. Your doctor will need to assess and diagnose your foot pain before beginning a course of action. He may recommend ultrasound treatments, passive range of motion and treatment of other symptoms which causes the Metatarsalgia. Physical therapy, recreational therapy, and even surgical intervention may be required.

Just because you have the signs and symptoms mentioned, that doesn’t necessarily mean you can do self-diagnosis. It’s best to get yourself checked by a doctor to get professional advice and treatment to help ease your foot pain. The different types of foot pain require different treatment and management, which makes it necessary to seek the help and opinion of a healthcare professional. Ask your doctor if you get pain and discomfort, and don’t wait for complications to occur before you get medical help.