It’s never advisable to ignore any kind of foot pain. This is because the pain could be a sign of a serious underlying condition. Other times, there’s usually no reason to worry.
Knowing the different kinds of foot pain helps identify the root cause and possible treatment methods. It’s even easier to identify this kind of pain using a foot pain diagram.
And that’s why we’ve provided detailed illustrations of different types of foot pain, their target areas, causes, symptoms, risk factors, and treatment options to save you the (painful) trip to the foot doctor!
Not sure what’s causing your foot pain? Here are 13 foot pain identifiers you need to know!
Image Credit: RxList
Description: A gout is a form of arthritis characterized by extreme pain.
Causes: Gout is usually caused by the body’s inability to process uric acid. When the body receives too much uric acid and fails to process it, the acid crystallizes in the joints, causing gout.
Risk Factors: Gout is common in overweight individuals who have high blood pressure or abnormal kidney function. Individuals with heavy alcohol intake are also prone to gout.
Symptoms: People with gout mostly experience severe pain, swelling, or redness in joints, especially around the big toe.
Treatment: Gout can be treated with anti-inflammatory medications, supportive footwear, physical exercise, weight loss, and applying ice packs.
Image Credit: London Foot Ankle.
Description: A bunion is a bony-like bump that appears on the joint located at the base of the big toe.
Causes: Most cases of bunions derive from wearing tight shoes. However, some are due to foot stress and arthritis.
Risk factors: Bunions are more prevalent in women than men.
Symptoms: Pain in the joints of the foot, deformity at the base of the toe, and redness or tenderness. The sore area can also appear stiff.
Treatment: Changing shoes frequently and wearing supportive ones can help treat bunions. In extreme cases, surgical removal may be necessary.
Image credit: Hartford Podiatry Group.
Description: Calluses refer to the thickness of skin, usually on the hands or feet. This condition occurs mainly in areas prone to friction.
Causes: Wearing tight-fitting shoes, walking barefoot frequently, or using certain tools and instruments without protective gear can cause calluses.
Risk factors: Calluses are common among workers and athletes.
Symptoms: Common symptoms of calluses include a thick, tough area of skin and flaky, dry or waxy skin. In some cases, calluses may cause pain or tenderness under your skin.
Treatment: Applying a moisturizer on the hardened skin may help treat this condition. You can also soak the affected area in warm, soapy water and then rub off the hardened skin using a pumice stone. However, it’s advisable to seek medical attention if the callused area is sore or inflamed.
Image credit: FootIQ
Description: Corns are thick, hardened layers of skin. Their name originates from their close resemblance to actual corn. You’ll find them on the top or sides of the feet and, in some cases, between the toes.
Causes: Corns are usually caused by friction, pressure, or both.
Risk factors: This condition is common among individuals who wear tight-fitting shoes.
Symptoms: Individuals with corn will notice hardened, raised bumps at the top or sides of their toes and can be painful when pressed.
Treatment: Wearing supportive shoes and protective pads can help treat corn.
5. Ingrown Toenails
Image credit: Healthmark Foot and Ankle
Description: An ingrown toenail is a condition in which the side or corner of a toenail extends into the flesh.
Causes: Some common causes of ingrown toenails include injury to the toe, wearing shoes that suffocate the toenails, and improper cutting of toenails.
Risk factors: This problem is usually more common among individuals with diabetes.
Symptoms: Ingrown toenails can cause pain and redness at the affected area, tenderness, swelling, and limping.
Treatment: You can treat this condition by simply removing the toenail. However, some extreme cases may require nail surgery and matricectomy.
6. Heel Pain
Image credit: Pivotal Motion
Description: Also known as plantar fasciitis, this pain often feels like a sharp object stuck in the heel.
Causes: Plantar fasciitis is usually caused by the inflammation of the fibrous tissue located at the bottom of the foot.
Risk factors: This condition is common among individuals who don’t wear supportive footwear and is more prevalent in their 40s. Also, athletes and overweight individuals have a higher risk of developing heel pain.
Symptoms: When you develop plantar fasciitis, you’ll most likely feel pain at the bottom of the heel or arch, swelling, and difficulty exercising. This pain also resurfaces when standing for a prolonged period.
Treatment: Heel pain can be treated naturally with regular exercise, practicing the RICE method, wearing supportive footwear, etc. In extreme cases, you may require surgical treatment.
Not sure where to start? Click here to learn additional tips on relieving foot pain!
7. Achilles Tendonitis
Image credit: Grand Rapids Podiatry
Description: Achilles tendinitis is one of the most common types of foot pain.
Causes: This condition occurs due to injury of the Achilles tendon, which connects the calf muscle to the heel bone.
Risk factors: Achilles tendinitis is more prevalent in athletes, especially runners. It’s also common among individuals who play sports once in a while.
Symptoms: Individuals with Achilles tendinitis experience heel pain and tenderness around the sore area.
Treatment: Taking pain relievers is the common method of treating this kind of pain. The others include wearing supportive footwear while at work and practicing the RICE method.
8. Morton’s Toe
Image Credit: Northwest Foot Care
Description: Morton’s toe is when the second toe appears longer than usual. It’s also known as Greet foot or Royal toe.
Causes: This condition occurs due to irritation, pressure, or injury to one of the nerves leading to the toe.
Risk factors: Individuals who wear tight or ill-fitting high heels are at a greater risk of developing Morton’s toe. The same applies to those who wear tight shoes for sports such as rock climbing or skiing. Foot deformities can also cause Morton’s toe – people with hammertoes, flatfeet, bunions, and high arches have a higher chance of developing this condition.
Treatment: Wearing supportive shoes, taking over-the-counter NSAIDs, and physical therapy.
9. Ankle Sprain
Image Credit: Fairview
Description: Ankle sprains occur due to stretching or tearing the ligaments that connect the ankle joints.
Causes: This kind of foot pain happens when the ankle turns, rolls or twists awkwardly.
Risk factors: Both children and adults can experience ankle sprains. However, it’s more common among people with active lifestyles, such as athletes.
Symptoms: The most common ankle sprain symptoms include extreme ankle pain, swelling, difficulty in walking, restricted range of motion, and tenderness around the sore ankle. In extreme cases, you may hear a popping sound when you sprain your ankle.
Treatment: Practicing the RICE method is the most effective treatment option for a sprained ankle. It’s also advisable to take painkillers and then see a doctor if the pain persists.
10. Hammer Toe
Image credit: Premier Podiatry
Description: Hammertoe happens when the ligaments and muscles found around your toe’s joint are imbalanced. As a result, the middle joint of your toe sticks upwards, making it look like a hammer.
Causes: Wearing shoes that don’t fit is one of the leading causes of hammertoe. Other probable causes include arthritis, spinal cord tumors, stroke, polio, high arches, Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, and feet that curl inwards while walking.
Risk factors: This condition is more prevalent among people who work long hours wearing ill-fitting or non-supportive shoes. Individuals with Morton’s toe are also prone to hammertoes, and the same applies to those with flat feet.
Symptoms: Most individuals with hammer toes will experience blisters and calluses, especially at the points where their toes meet the top of their shoes. They’ll also experience pain while walking, softness in the bent toe, and pain in the affected toe joints.
Treatment: Wearing properly fitting shoes is one of the best natural treatments for hammertoes. Others include wearing inserts or pads to reposition your toes, using ice packs to relieve pain, exercising to strengthen and straighten the toe, and so on.
However, severe cases of hammertoe may require surgery. Depending on the severity of the condition, a foot doctor may suggest any of the following surgery options:
11. Turf Toe
Image Credit: Beantown Physio
Description: Turf toe is the spraining of the ligaments located around the joint of the big toe.
Causes: This condition is mostly caused by jamming the big toe or pushing it off forcefully and repeatedly while jumping or running.
Risk factors: Athletes are at the highest risk of developing turf toes, especially those who participate in artificial turf sports, hence the name ‘turf toe.’ Such sports include soccer, basketball, dance, gymnastics, wrestling, etc.
Symptoms: Individuals with turf toe report pain, limited joint movement of the big toe, and swelling. These symptoms can last for weeks or even months, depending on the severity of the injury.
Treatment: Most cases of turf toe can be treated with the RICE method alongside over-the-counter medication such as ibuprofen to alleviate the pain.
12. Stress Fracture
Image credit: Dr. Elton
Description: A stress fracture is a crack or severe bruising of the bone. While most bones in the human body system can suffer stress fractures, the feet and ankle are the most commonly affected.
Causes: This condition occurs when people adjust their exercise routine, pushing themselves too hard in the process. Additionally, bone insufficiency can also lead to a stress fracture.
Risk factors: Athletes are usually at the highest risk of developing stress fractures. Additionally, if you spend months without exercising, and then you exercise too hard after that, you’ll most likely develop this condition.
Symptoms: Common symptoms of a stress fracture include bruising, constant pain that increases when carrying out your day-to-day activities, tenderness around the affected foot, and swelling.
Treatment: The RICE method works in most cases to treat this condition. You may also need surgery if the pain persists for more than eight weeks. This surgery is called internal fixation, which involves using pins, plates, and screws to attach the bones as they heal.
13. Overlapping Toe
Image credit: The Foot and Ankle Clinic
Description: As the name suggests, an overlapping toe occurs when one toe rests over or under the other.
Causes: This condition is mostly hereditary but can also be caused by overpronation and other foot problems such as:
- Mallet toe
- High arches
- Rheumatoid arthritis
Risk factors: Individuals who wear ill-fitting shoes risk developing overlapping toes. This happens when the affected toe is forced to rest over or under another toe, searching for room inside the shoe.
Symptoms: Foot pain is the most common symptom of overlapping toes. This pain is especially severe when the toe rubs against the shoe or bears extra weight. As a result, such individuals may also develop calluses and corns, which are painful.
Treatment: Wearing supporting and properly fitting shoes is one of the best natural ways to treat overlapping toes. Others include using toe separators, pads and inserts, splints, and weight management. In extreme cases, physical therapy may be necessary.
The Bottom Line
Many people tend to ignore foot pain until it develops into something more serious. Having a foot pain diagram for reference is one of the best ways to identify the cause of the pain, including risk factors and treatment options.
Another thing you’ve probably noticed from this list is that most of these foot problems occur due to wearing non-support footwear. This is particularly common among individuals who spend long hours wearing such shoes, especially at work.
For this reason, WorkingManGear.com provides the ultimate guide to men’s work boots, focusing on different parameters such as career, health, price, and type of boots!
And that’s not all – here, you’ll find more information on best work socks and insoles for a painless day at work, whether standing, sitting, or walking.
While most of these foot problems can be fixed naturally at home with the help of a foot pain diagram, it’s advisable to consult a foot doctor if the symptoms persist.
So how do you find the right foot doctor? Here are six things you need to consider!