The 5 Causes of Foot Pain

Foot PainFoot pain is extremely common. This study from the NIH estimates that nearly 25% of the population experiences foot pain at any given time. Foot pain can occur on the top, side, heel, arch, or ball of the foot. Although there are many causes of foot pain, most of them fall into the following categories:  

  1. Anatomical foot concerns
  2. Overuse Injuries
  3. Injury and foot trauma
  4. Ill-fitting shoes
  5. Underlying conditions

The team at the Foot and Ankle Specialists of Illinois are experts at diagnosing and treating a wide array of foot and ankle injuries, chronic conditions, and underlying concerns. Your feet are critically important to the proper function and mobility of the body. Make sure that your foot health is a priority and you will enjoy better, lasting health as you move through life. Below we explore some of the more common causes of foot pain.

1. Anatomical Foot Problems

Here are some structural foot issues that can lead to acute and chronic foot pain:

High Arch – This problematic foot structure puts extra pressure on the bones in the ball of the foot. 

Bunions – a bony bump that develops on the big toe joint from improper footwear.

Flat feet –  a deformity when the arch of a foot collapses or doesn’t develop correctly. Flat feet can lead to a range of secondary conditions and chronic pain.

Hammertoe – when one or more toes curl downward instead of being straight, usually due to compression or persistent pressure.

Supination/Pronation – Supination feet place more weight on the outside of the feet, whereas pronation places more weight on the inside arch region.

2. Overuse Foot Pain

Standing, walking, or exercising too much can lead to tendon inflammation, which can eventually become painful. Some foot conditions caused by overuse include:

3. Injury and Foot Trauma

Feet experience such common injury and pain because they have the most force and pressure exerted on them on a daily basis. Any activity involving walking or running involves the risk of a foot injury; even more reason to take great care of your feet and resolve any unaddressed conditions early on!

You can experience strains, sprains, bone fractures, or breaks in the metatarsal bones at the top of the foot. The ball of the foot is more prone to stress fractures due to high-impact, dynamic activities like running and especially jumping. A stress fracture can leave you feeling sharp, dull, or aching pain and must be treated by a medical expert to ensure that it heals healthily and correctly.

4. Ill-Fitting Shoes Cause Foot Pain

Wearing unsupportive shoes is a very common cause of foot pain. It can cause:

Another common symptom of wearing improper footwear is painful forms of tendonitis. 

Achilles tendinitis often characterized by dull aches and tenderness between the heel and calf muscles.

Extensor tendinitis – tendons that run along the top of the foot become inflamed, causing pain and swelling. 

5. Underlying Foot Conditions

In some cases, you may not have sustained physical trauma or injury. Instead, the cause of your pain could be the result of an underlying or yet to be diagnosed chronic foot condition. Some examples include:

  • Gout – a buildup of uric acid that irritates joints and causes pain, commonly affecting the big toe.   
  • Diabetic foot pain (peripheral neuropathy
  • Osteoarthritis – worn-down cartilage results in painful bone spurs near the joint.
  • Peripheral artery disease (PAD) 
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV) leads to painful Plantar Warts

Foot and Ankle Pain Treatment Available in Algonquin, IL

Unfortunately, this list is just scratching the surface of the possible foot and ankle-related conditions. If you are in pain or concerned about the health of your feet, the best course of action is to act early and seek out help from the professionals at Foot and Ankle Specialists of Illinois.

Our team is standing by to help answer any questions. If you are looking to schedule an appointment, call our offices to speak with a member of our team or book an initial consultation online today!

Written by Ali Hyderi