Our feet are vital shock-absorbers. Your feet support your body weight as you walk and navigate your day, so foot pain can disrupt your life. In fact, 77% of adults have struggled with foot pain that has slowed them down (metaphorically or literally).
What causes pain on the bottom of your foot? Knowing more about your foot’s anatomy can help you learn how to cope with problems like plantar fasciitis, metatarsalgia, and neuropathy.
Your feet are fairly complex: 26 bones, 30 joints, and almost 100 muscles and ligaments. Each of these anatomical elements, from your toes to your Achilles tendon, help you stand upright and balanced.
In a healthy foot, these numerous bones, joints, and tendons work together to absorb pressure from your steps. But a foot injury or complication can become quite painful because your feet hold all of your body weight, which can irritate your foot any time you stand.
One of the most common culprits of foot pain is plantar fasciitis. If you have plantar fasciitis, the tissue along the arch of your foot (between your heel and your toes) becomes inflamed. This inflammation can cause sharp, stabbing pains in your heel or in the bottom of your foot.
People who wear shoes with poor arch support, who walk or stand for long periods of time on hard surfaces, or who walk barefoot are especially prone to developing plantar fasciitis.2
Plantar fasciitis symptoms are often most severe in the morning or during long periods of rest. When you wake up and step out of bed, you may feel a sharp pain in your heel or elsewhere on the bottom of your foot. Gentle stretching, ice or heat packs, and low-impact exercises like walking can help reduce pain.
Metatarsalgia is another potential cause of your foot pain. Patients with metatarsalgia often report pain and inflammation in the ball of their foot, right behind their toes. What causes this discomfort? Metatarsalgia can develop from high-impact activities that can stress the bottoms of your feet, like jumping or running.
A medical study found that 80% of people have experienced metatarsalgia at some point in their lives. Many patients report that their mild-to-moderate metatarsalgia pains resolve after resting their feet and using orthoses.
Foot pain can also be attributed to your nervous system. While tissue inflammation causes metatarsalgia and plantar fasciitis, millions of people experience nerve pain in their feet.
Nerve pain, or neuropathy, can be more complicated to treat and identify than other foot conditions. In neuropathy, a patient’s nervous system is either damaged or is misfiring.
Our nervous system connects our feet and toes to our brain, carrying signals throughout our body that allow us to move and feel our toes. Sometimes, an injury or an illness can complicate these signals, resulting in pain.
Peripheral nerve pain can feel like tingles, burning, or stabbing sensations.
When to See a Podiatrist.
For some people, their foot pain resolves, untreated, in days. But other people cope with chronic foot pain. Any kind of foot pain that prevents you from being able to go about your daily life is a potential cause for medical concern.
You should especially consider consulting a doctor if you experience any of the following:
- New pain that lasts longer than several days
- Pain that prevents you from walking
- Dizziness or nausea related to your foot pain (which could indicate a bone fracture)
- Fever or swelling related to your foot pain (which could indicate an infection)
- An accident or injury that could have caused your foot pain
- Your existing chronic foot pains have worsened
Call us today to resolve your foot pain.
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(09) 212 9612