What Conditions Cause Foot Pain

What Conditions Cause Foot Pain?

Foot pain can significantly impact your daily life. If you suffer from foot pain, you may have difficulty walking and exercising. Pain may make standing for extended periods impossible. Understanding the underlying causes of foot pain is crucial for effective treatment and prevention.

These five medical conditions are common causes of foot pain.

1. Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis involves inflammation of the plantar fascia, a thick band of tissue that runs across the bottom of your foot and connects your heel bone to your toes. This condition causes sharp, stabbing pain in the heel. You may notice this pain when you take your first steps in the morning or after long periods of standing. Poor footwear, high-impact activities, and obesity are risk factors for developing plantar fasciitis. You may be able to treat minor cases with stretching exercises and over-the-counter pain relievers. In more severe cases, you may need physical therapy, custom orthotics, or corticosteroid injections.

2. Morton’s Neuroma

Morton’s neuroma is a painful condition that affects the ball of the foot, most commonly between the third and fourth toes. When the tissue around one of the nerves leading to the toes becomes thickened, it causes burning pain or numbness. Morton’s neuroma may feel like there’s a pebble in your shoe. Tight, narrow shoes or high heels that compress the toes can cause Morton’s neuroma. Foot neuroma treatment options include wearing supportive footwear or custom orthotics. Cortisone injections can reduce inflammation and pain. In severe cases, you may need to have the affected nerve surgically removed.

3. Bunions

A bunion is a bony bump that forms on the joint at the base of your big toe. This condition occurs when some of the bones in the front part of your foot move out of place. This movement causes the tip of your big toe to be pulled toward the smaller toes, which forces the joint at the base of your big toe to stick out. Bunions can cause significant pain, swelling, and redness around the affected joint. Wearing tight, narrow shoes that squeeze the toes together is a common cause of bunions. Genetics and foot shape also may play a role in the development of bunions. For minor cases, you may need roomier shoes or special padding to protect the bunion. Eventually, you may need surgery to correct the deformity.

4. Achilles Tendinitis

Achilles tendinitis is an overuse injury of the Achilles tendon. The Achilles tendon is a band of tissue that connects your calf muscles to your heel bone. This condition causes pain and stiffness along the back of your leg, near the heel. Achilles tendinitis is common among runners and other athletes. Risk factors include a sudden increase in the intensity or duration of physical activity, tight calf muscles, and wearing shoes that do not provide adequate support. Treatment options include rest, ice, and anti-inflammatory medications. Stretching and strengthening exercises for the calf muscles are also important.

5. Arthritis

Arthritis can cause significant foot pain. Osteoarthritis occurs due to the wear and tear of joint cartilage, leading to pain, swelling, and reduced flexibility. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition that causes inflammation of the joints, leading to pain, swelling, and deformity. Managing arthritis-related foot pain may include anti-inflammatory medications, pain relievers, physical therapy, and supportive footwear or orthotics. Maintaining a healthy weight and engaging in low-impact exercises can help reduce stress on the joints. In severe cases, surgical intervention may be required to repair or replace damaged joints.


Foot pain can impact your quality of life. Understanding the underlying medical conditions can help you seek appropriate treatment and relief. Conditions such as plantar fasciitis, Morton’s neuroma, bunions, Achilles tendinitis, and arthritis are common culprits of foot pain. By recognizing the symptoms and risks associated with these conditions, you can take proactive steps to manage and prevent foot pain.