Having sore or painful feet can make your whole day miserable. One of the more common reasons for sore feet or heel pain is plantar fasciitis. This is an inflammatory process in the plantar fascia. This thick band of tissue runs from the ball of the foot and inserts at the heel. With overpronation, poor shoes, sudden increase in physical activity or being overweight you are at higher risk for developing this condition.
But, while plantar fasciitis is the most common cause of foot pain, there are other causes that originate from multiple other places. Bones, muscle, fascia, ligaments, nerves, skin, toe nails and blood vessels can all trigger pain in the foot from a variety of causes.
Although heel spurs were once thought to trigger plantar fasciitis, it turns out that plantar fasciitis will trigger the development of heel spurs. Not everyone with spurs will develop pain and discomfort. A spur is an abnormal growth of bone at the bottom of the heel that might be caused by your gait, posture or walking in inappropriate shoes.
A stone bruise is a condition in which you bruise the pad of your heel when you step on a stone or other small hard object. It can be something that is inside your shoe for a period of time, or while walking barefoot.
Achilles tendonitis is a condition in which the Achilles tendon is inflamed and often shortened. If the tendon is short, with or without the inflammation, it can cause a separation of the heel bone, often resembling a stress fracture. This cause sudden heel pain that requires treatment and often casting of the foot.
Bunions are a large bump on the outside edge of the foot that restricts the movement of the big toe and is often painful. This is caused by a misalignment of the bones in the foot. Oftentimes associated with older individuals, it can also occur in teenagers when their bones are not formed correctly in the foot. Wearing narrow shoes can also be a causative factor for the development of bunions which often require surgical correction and subsequent orthotics to correct the placement of the bones and joints. Although most bunion sufferers can get quick relief and correction without surgery through the use of bunion splints and corrective sleeves.
Skin conditions that cause pain in the foot include ingrown toe nails, calluses and corns. Each of these conditions can be rectified through the use of good foot hygiene, over the counter products and changing the type of shoes worn to accommodate the size and shape of your foot.
Bony conditions that cause pain include arthritis, osteoporosis and stress fractures. Osteoarthritis and gout can cause severe pain in the foot. Both will often be accompanied by some deformity of the foot structure and will be more painful with standing and use. Gout will be painful when anything touches the skin of the foot.
Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is an arterial condition that causes narrowing of the arteries in the areas of the body furthest from the heart muscle. PAD reduces the amount oxygen available to the muscles of the foot and lower extremities which results in pain when you walk.
A Morton’s neuroma is a pinched nerve in the foot that may feel like you have a pebble in your shoe all the time. You can feel tingling and burning in the ball of the foot which is caused by the nerve between the third and fourth toe becoming irritated. Treatment is using wider box shoes or an orthotic which raises the foot and spreads the metatarsals so the area doesn’t rub on the neuroma, causing this symptoms.