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Your feet bear weight when you’re standing and when you walk to where you need to go. Because of this, foot pain is common. Foot pain refers to any pain or discomfort in one or more parts of the foot, such as the following:
The pain can range from mild to severe, and it may last a short time or be an ongoing issue. Many measures can help relieve your foot pain.
Foot pain can occur due to certain lifestyle choices or a medical condition. Common causes include:
One of the main causes of foot pain is wearing shoes that don’t fit properly. Wearing high-heeled shoes can often cause foot pain because they place a great deal of pressure on the toes.
You can also develop foot pain if you get injured during high-impact exercise or sports activities, such as jogging or intense aerobics.
Common medical issues
Various medical issues are closely associated with foot pain.
Your feet are especially susceptible to the pain caused by arthritis. There are 33 joints in the foot, and arthritis can affect any of them.
Diabetes mellitus can also cause complications and several disorders of the feet. People with diabetes are
- nerve damage in the feet
- clogged or hardened arteries in the legs and feet
- foot ulcers or sores
- are overweight or have obesity
- are pregnant
- have a foot injury, such as a sprain, fracture, or tendinitis
Other potential causes of foot pain include:
- ingrown toenails
- medications that cause swelling of the feet
- Morton’s neuroma, which is a thickening around the nerve tissue between the toes near the ball of the foot
- hammer toes
- athlete’s foot
- Haglund’s deformity, which is an enlargement of the back of the heel bone
- peripheral arterial disease (PAD)
- fallen arches
- plantar fasciitis
- gout, especially affecting the big toe near the ball of the foot
Your at-home treatment options will vary depending on the pain you’re experiencing and its cause. However, following these tips may help relieve your discomfort:
- Apply ice to the affected area.
- Take an over-the-counter (OTC) pain reliever.
- Use foot pads to prevent rubbing on the affected area.
- Elevate the foot that’s causing you to have pain.
- Rest your foot as much as possible.
Many people who regularly experience foot pain are aware of what triggers it, and they know the best way to manage their pain. However, you should see a doctor as soon as possible in the following situations:
- Your pain comes on suddenly and is severe.
- Your foot pain is due to a recent injury.
- You can’t place any weight on your foot after an injury.
- You have a medical condition that interferes with blood flow, and you experience foot pain.
- The area that’s causing you pain has an open wound.
- The area that’s causing you pain is discolored or has other symptoms of inflammation.
- You have a fever in addition to foot pain.
The Healthline FindCare tool can provide options in your area if you don’t already have a doctor.
During your appointment, the doctor will observe your posture and how you walk. They’ll also examine your back, legs, and feet.
They’ll want to know the details of your foot pain, such as:
- when it started
- what parts of the feet are affected
- how severe it is.
If necessary, your doctor will order an X-ray.
The treatment for your condition depends on the cause.
For some people, something as simple as shoe inserts can provide a great deal of relief. They’re available over the counter or by prescription. Other people may need:
- a cast
- wart removal
- physical therapy
Follow these tips to help prevent ongoing foot pain:
- Choose comfortable, roomy, and well-cushioned shoes.
- Avoid shoes with high heels and narrow toe areas.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Stretch your toes before engaging in vigorous exercise.
- Practice good foot hygiene.
- Always wear footwear when you’re outdoors to protect your feet.
Although foot pain is common, it’s not a typical part of life. You should seek medical help if you have foot pain that hasn’t resolved after a week or two of at-home treatment.