Foot pain is very hard to figure out. There, pheww, thats done :)
Unfortunately it can be debilitating for some, annoying for others and completely misdiagnosed for many. The art of pain is trying to figure out:
Then there is trying to halt the pain in the acute stage- when it is fairly new before it gets to a chronic stage where the pain is prolonged and some simple relief measures don't work.
There is no way you can be 100% sure that this is exactly the cause, and issue with the foot without looking at it, knowing the patient background, testing it and maybe sending it off for tests. Here are the main reasons patients get foot pain (in no order).
Many patients have been diagnosed with this. In most cases it is pain on the foot usually underneath it. So what exactly is metatarsalgia?
Generally that is what it is. Unidentified pain in the foot. The metatarsals are the balls of your foot so you would think that the pain is there. However, for me, it doesn't mean too much.
This is pain in the balls of your foot. The most common reasons are:
In some cases your pain can be in a small specific area on the balls of your foot. The above covers the most common, but then we have the less common:
A neuroma is where the nerves inbetween your toes get rubbed and then thickens. It is an irreversible issue once they thicken. They can be anywhere inbetween your the balls of your feet- but not specifically on the exact bone of the metatarsals. A Mortons Neuroma is nothing special- just that it is inbetween the 3-4 metatarsal.
The pain with this can be sore and get worse over time and relief usually comes from walking around barefooted or with wider footwear. Tight footwear causes the metatarsal bones to press more on the nerves. If it gets too bad then surgical removal of the nerve is helpful
Tingling, burning and shooting pains can be all part of diabetic neuropathy. This is where the nerves have been damaged/ sent off nerve signals due to irregular blood sugars. If those blood sugars have been up and down on a regular basis then you tend to find that your symptoms get worse. If the blood sugars have been regular for a couple of months you tend to find the odd sensations tend to calm down. Neuropathy can also be treated with prescribed medication
You can have foot pain due to a cut, infection or an ulceration (a breakdown of the skin). Even in diabetics who have little feeling foot pain can still be felt with an infection. So visually checking those feet on a daily basis can help limit the damage- also making sure that you see a health care professional right away is also recommended.
Debris can be splinters, stones, gravel and any object that can embed itself into your skin. This can hurt and needs to come out (by a health care professional) so that the area doesn't get infected or become much worse.
Foot pain can be related to a very common problem. Pressure from tight shoes will aggravate and press on those bunions. You can tell because the bunion will be sore. When you wear a heeled shoe the reduced movement in that joint will also cause pain.
You can also have a little toe bunion, called a Tailors Bunion. There are treatment options.
Sometimes time and mechanics have caused little bits of bone to form. When these form the joints in the foot don't move as well as they should and that can cause pain. Sometimes the arthritis can cause additional pressure and swelling which then presses on nerves and other structures within the foot.
Sometimes finding out how to deal with this type of foot pain depends upon what best works for you is the best treatment. Other times, the body figures out a way to move and adapt and in time it is possible that other arthritis (like knee arthritis) could be caused by this adaptation.
The heel is a very put upon structure- it whacks into the floor with most of our weigh every time we walk. Sometimes the structures within the heel hurt because of the constant pressure being demanded upon them. Other heel structures hurt because of a failure in the system which allows the heel to work.
Heel pain can be healed quite quickly if you figure out what is causing the pain in the first place (e.g. excess pressure under the heel, excess weight from the person)
A very common foot pain problem that has pain sites in mainly 2 places:
The fascia is a broad band of inelastic tissue that inserts into your heel and goes all the way under your foot and inserts into your toes. If you think of a bow on its side, the fascia is like the string.
Being very inelastic the fascia hates to be hurt or be out of its comfort zone. It has also a reduced blood supply so any tears or rips take a while to heal. but, the problem is every time you step on your foot you use the fascia.
Plantar Fasciitis and how to treat it is found here. Most of the time the problem with the fascia is inflammation- it is hurt so it tries to tell you and deal with the cause of the inflammation. If you have a heel spur then that is the fascia insertion being pulled over a long period of time. They dont disappear but they can be contained and calmed down. In some instances people have them removed if too troublesome.
Some people don't see that cracked heels can cause foot pain but when they start to form and open up and cut, then pain is felt.
Cracked heels are not hard to treat but they need to be caught at the right stage for you to do it at home. Any waiting then a healthcare professional is usually required- especially if they cut and open up.
Usually caused by dry heels and pressure the skin can not take the stresses being placed upon it so it starts to crack. If it builds up hard skin (a natural defense) then that hard skin can crack as well because of lack of moisture.
Get help from a healthcare professional. Why? Because: