What are the Causes and Treatments of Foot Pain
There are various causes for foot pain. Many of them can be treated at home if you understand what is causing the pain. If you experience severe pain without knowing what the cause for it is, then you should check with your physician to determine where the pain is originating from.
The material posted on this page for foot pain is for learning purposes only. If you have severe or minor foot pain consult your local physician. If you want to learn to recognize and manage sprains and strains register for a first aid course with a training provider near you.
Common Causes for Foot Pain
A common cause of pain in your feet, especially in the morning is a condition called; Plantar Fasciitis which is when the flat band of tissue connecting your heel bone to your toes becomes strained. It supports your arch and when strained it will weaken, swell, become irritated and results in pain when you attempt to stand or walk. Other common conditions for foot pain are:
* Achilles Tendon Injury- Your Achilles’ tendon stretches from the bones in your heel to your calf muscle. This is what enables you to extend your foot and point your toes. If you apply to much force to this tendon it can tear partially or completely rupture. It can happen as a result of; wearing high heels which stress the tendon, increasing your physical activity too quickly, or just overusing it.
Treatment for this injury is rest and avoidance of activity that caused the stretch to the tendon. You should also apply a cold compress to the area to help relieve the pain and inflammation.
* Cracked or broken bones- Any time you experience an event that breaks or cracks a bone in your foot will cause pain.
Treatment would be seeking medical attention as soon as possible. Do not put weight on the foot that has been injured or you risk increasing the damage. Medical attention, including an x-ray, will be needed to determine the extent of the damage.
* Bunions- A bunion is an unnatural bony bump forming at the base of your big toe. This is caused when the big toe turns inwards to the other toes. This inward turn pushes outward on first metatarsal bone right behind the big toe and forms the bunion.
Treatment for bunions may be a prescription from your doctor for an over-the-counter pain medication as well as one to reduce the swelling and inflammation. Using a heating pad or warm foot bath can also reduce the immediate discomfort or pain. If caught early enough you can resolve the bunion problem by wearing the correct footwear and using bunion pads inside your shoes. Surgery in not needed until the pain has become so severe and you cannot find relief from it.
* Object embedded in your foot- The first thing to check if you experience foot pain is to see if you have stepped on an object that has gotten embedded. If there is an object in your foot and you step down it will cause pain as you are pushing it further into the foot.
Treatment would consist of removing the object and cleaning the area where it punctured your skin. If the area is not cleaned properly you risk getting an infection.
* Ingrown toenails-This is a common condition in feet where the corner or side of your nail grows into the flesh surrounding it.
Treatment would be to trim your nails back from your skin. In some instances when you have waited too long and the nail has actually embedded itself into your skin, you may need to see your physician and have the skin cut back to expose the nail so it can be trimmed.
* Arthritis- This is a painful condition as foot and ankle arthritis occurs in the joints and causes inflammation. Previous injuries to the foot make you more susceptible to having arthritis set in.
Treatment for arthritis of the foot begins with your doctor determining the type and extent of arthritis. There may be other tests like a bone scan to evaluate arthritis. Once the doctor has determined the extent of arthritis he will be able to set up a treatment plan to address the pain. There are medications to reduce the pain, pads to place inside shoes to cushion them against painful walking or even braces.
* Gout- This is much like arthritis and causes an attack of sudden burning pain and stiffness usually in your big toe. Gout is the result of uric acid forming in your joints and causes extreme pain, tenderness, sensitivity, and inflammation. If gout is untreated this can harm your joints, tendons and other tissues in your foot.
Treatment for gout is pain management through non-inflammatory medications. Consult with your doctor to discuss other treatments or to prevent re-occurrence.
* Corns, blisters, and calluses- These are thick, hardened layers of skin on your feet or toes which are a result of too much friction and pressure on your feet.
Treatment for these formations would be wearing the correct footwear. Blisters will normally heal within a few days, corns and calluses you should refer to your physician to for removal.
* Strains and sprains- A sprain is a tear or stretch of the ligament and the strain occurs when a muscle or tendon is stretched or torn.
Treatment for these should be referred to your physician. An x-ray may be required to determine the extent of the damage and medical attention is needed to repair the most serious strains and sprains.