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Foot Pain

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Foot pain is a common complaint, and it can have many causes. Read on to learn more about different types of foot pain, diagnosis, and treatments.

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Causes of Foot Pain

Pain in the foot can be due to a problem in any part of the foot. Bones, ligaments, tendons, muscles, fascia, toenail beds, nerves, 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 foot pain.

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, worst in the morning when getting out of bed, is the most common symptom. Arch pain may also be present.

Treatment for plantar fasciitis includes:

  • Rest
  • Heel and foot muscle stretches
  • Over-the-counter pain relievers
  • Shoes with good arch support and a cushioned sole

Various other treatments for plantar fasciitis are available.

Heel spurs are abnormal growths of bone on the bottom of the heel bone that may be caused by an abnormal gait, posture or walking, inappropriate shoes, or certain activities, like running. Spurs may cause foot pain while walking or standing. Although one in 10 people has heel spurs, only one in 20 of these people will have 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 are more likely to have foot pain from heel spurs.

Treatment for heel spurs include:

  • Cutout heel pad
  • Custom-made insert (orthotic) worn in the shoe
  • Wearing shoes that fit well and have shock absorbing soles
  • Over-the-counter pain relievers
  • Rest
  • Surgery (rarely)
  • Physical therapy

A stone bruise is a deep bruise of the fat pad of the heel or ball of the foot. It often occurs with impact injury, but can occur after stepping on a hard object. The discomfort is often described as persistent pain that feels like walking on a pebble.

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