Your feet absorb a lot of the shock that occurs between your body and the ground. As you walk, jog or run the impact on joints, bones and connective tissue can be immense. As you age, your feet can also become increasingly prone to injury and chronic pain due to a variety of factors.

Your feet are comprised of over 26 bones, with 33 joints, and connective tissues as well as five primary ligaments. A problem in any one of these structures may result in acute or chronic foot pain, which often also leads to limited mobility or other complications. Sometimes even a minor case of foot pain can have a major negative impact on your overall quality of life.

Lifestyle Factors That Can Cause Foot Pain

Sometimes simple lifestyle factors can contribute to or be the primary cause of foot pain. This can include things like:

  • Being overweight
  • Improper footwear
  • Extensive running or other aerobic exercises
  • Pregnancy

Medical Complications That Can Contribute To Foot Pain

There are some medical conditions related to the health of the feet, or that cause additional symptoms that can contribute to foot pain. Treating the condition itself is often the first step in restoring the comfort in the feet. This includes things such as:


  • Peripheral neuropathy in the nerves of the feet
  • Clogged or hardened arteries in the legs and feet
  • Chronic inflammation issues
  • Gout
  • Foot ulcers or sores including cracked heels
  • A sprain in the foot or ankle, often localized to one foot
  • Excess buildup of calluses or cracks in the pad of the foot
  • A bunion on one or both feet
  • A recent or chronic wart problem
  • An ingrown toenail with or without infection
  • Swelling in the feet caused by a medication
  • Athlete’s foot
  • Peripheral arterial disease

Medical Conditions Of The Feet

There are several conditions that can impact the overall health of one or both of your feet. This can include chronic conditions, gradual deformations in the structure of your feet, as well as acute injuries like sprains in the connective tissues or surrounding muscles.

Morton’s Neuroma

Is a condition that develops gradually. It causes a thickening around the nerve tissues between toes near the balls of one or both feet.

Haglund’s Deformity

This is another slow-developing chronic condition where the bone tissue on the back of the heel starts to enlarge. It can further irritate the surrounding soft tissue, including the Achilles tendon. Many people with Haglund’s Deformity will also notice discomfort caused by their heel rubbing against their shoes. Painful bursitis inflammation is the bursa sac is also a common complication with this condition.

Plantar Fasciitis

Is actually one of the more common causes of foot pain. It’s essentially irritation of a thick band of tissue known as the plantar fascia which spans the bottom of your foot and effectively helps to connect your heel bone to your toes.

Common symptoms of plantar fasciitis include pain across the bottom of a single foot. It can develop in the arch, or toward the heel as well as the inner part of the heel. This condition is sometimes related to acute or chronic sports injuries. You might feel it in the morning after taking a long run or participating in vigorous athletics.


Is a painful foot condition that most often occurs near the balls of the foot. It tends to be related to an irritation in the metatarsal bones or the surrounding connective tissues and is often accompanied by inflammation issues.

Posterior Tibial Tendon Dysfunction

This condition is related to the tendon that helps support the natural arch shape of y our foot. Inflammation and connective tissue irritation in the Posterior Tibial Tendon in the foot or lower leg can cause pain, limit your ability to walk comfortably, and could lead to flat feet.

Turf Toe

Is a term that you hear frequently in football, though it certainly occurs in many other athletics as well as everyday life. It’s essentially a sprain at the base of the connective tissues of the big toe that occurs when the toe itself is bent backward beyond its normal range of motion. In some cases, the ligament itself can be torn which can lead to severe pain.

Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome

Is somewhat similar-to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome in the hands and wrist. It occurs when the primary nerve to the foot is compressed by a bone or the surrounding tissues. Common symptoms include discomfort and shooting pain on the inside of the foot, and may also cause, tingling in the toes or other parts of the foot.

When To See Your Doctor For Foot Pain

With an acute injury like turf toe, the incident that caused the foot pain, and the need for timely treatment is often obvious. Though with some of the aforementioned conditions, that are slow to develop or symptoms may fade only to return again it can be a little more difficult to determine when professional medical intervention is needed.

The following are some basic guidelines you can use to determine your foot pain that needs a physician’s attention.

This includes things like:

  • Sudden onset of pain
  • Severe pain
  • A recent injury in the foot
  • A past foot injury, which may have caused an inflammation or other complications
  • One or both feet are incapable of supporting your weight
  • You have an existing medical condition like peripheral artery disease, that might affect blood flow to the feet
  • You have an existing medical condition, like diabetes, that might affect the health of the nerves in your feet
  • You have an open wound, ulcer or crack on the foot
    Discomfort is caused by inflammation or painful swelling
  • Your foot pain occurred at the same time as a fever

Some forms of foot pain might start out minor. Yet left untreated can turn into a major problem that can have an adverse effect on your mobility and quality of life. If home-treatments like ice, soaking, or taking over the counter anti-inflammatory medications have had minimal effect on your foot pain, you should strongly consider professional treatment.