Foot Pain: Symptoms and Treatment

Foot Pain Overview

Foot is made up of 26 bones, 33 joints, 107 ligaments, 19 muscles, and numerous tendons. Complex foot biomechanics keep all these parts in the right position and moving together. Given these intricacies, it is not surprising that most people will experience some problem with their feet at some time in their lives.

Within each foot, the essential structure can be summed up as follows:

  • Seven short tarsal bones make up the heel and back of the instep.
  • Five metatarsal bones spread from the back of the foot toward front and make up the structure for the ball of the foot. Each metatarsal is associated with one of the toes.
  • Fourteen phalanges, small bones, form the toe structure.
  • Tarsal and metatarsal bones provide the structure for the arch of the foot.
  • Bands of ligaments connect and hold all the bones in place.
  • A thick layer of fatty tissue under the sole helps absorb the pressure and shock that comes from walking and everyday movements.

 

Foot pain

Foot Pain Causes May Include:

  • Mechanical (tight fitting shoes)
  • Biomechanical ( i.e. flatfeet, high arch foot)
  • Musculoskeletal (bone, tendon, ligament)
  • Metabolic (i.e. Gout)
  • Autoimmune (i.e. Rheumatoid Arthritis, Psoriatic arthritis)
  • Infectious (i.e. ulcers, ingrown toe nail, residual foreign body)

*** Please refer to our comprehensive foot and ankle symptom checker to learn more about your foot pain.

 

When should you seek medical treatment for you foot pain?

  • Seek immediate medical attention if you had an injury which led to numbness of your foot / toes
  • Seek immediate medical attention if you had an injury which led to swelling, coolness and color changes your foot / toes
  • Seek immediate medical attention if you believe you have an infection.
  • Seek immediate medical attention if you had trauma to the foot and the area looks deformed
  • Seek immediate medical attention if you have loss of function of your foot / toes
  • Seek immediate medical attention if the area of concern is exquisitely tender to touch
  • If your foot pain interferes with you daily living or if you are unable to perform your desired activities without pain