Updated: 2021, Jun 17

Foot Pain: Common Causes, Signs, Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

What is Foot Pain?

The foot is one of the complex parts of the human body and its importance should not be underestimated. The structure of the foot is made up of 26 bones that are connected by joints and very thick ligaments.

Foot Pain: Common Causes, Signs, Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

These make the foot strong enough to handle the rigors of walking, running, jumping, and any other strenuous activities you might perform on a regular basis. Foot pain could be triggered by a number of issues such as structural damage to the foot, ligament damage, or strain on the joints as well as ligaments.

These structural damages will significantly affect the ability to comfortably use your foot for a number of actions.

What Causes Foot Pain in the Morning?


Foot pain in the mornings could be triggered by a number of causes.

However, one of the common causes of foot pain in the morning is damage to the plantar fasciitis. The plantar fascia is a fibrous tissue, which is rather thick and is located between the sole of the foot and the toes. This inflammation, that is a major cause of this condition, can be caused by several factors, such as:

  • Wearing inappropriate footwear that lack arch support
  • Being overweight
  • Tendinitis
  • Aging
  • Stress fracture

Arthritis is also known to promote the development of plantar fasciitis – whose pain is noticeably felt as soon as you get out of bed in the morning.

What Other Signs and Symptoms May Accompany Foot Pain?

If the pain and tenderness are focused on a certain area on the foot, it is one of the strongest signs that the cause or damage is confined to that area.

The rate of onset of pain, whether sudden or develop over the course of time, is an essential piece of information to keep in mind when making the diagnosis.

Muscle and tendon strains are likely to be caused when the muscles are stressed to an extent such that a tear develops in the muscle fibers. This may even be on a cellular level, but will still cause pain.

Traumatic events and repetitive blows to the foot, for whatever reason, will cause damage to the foot. Regular occurrences such as overstretching, bruising, or being lacerated may need professional medical advice in order to establish exactly how bad the damage is.


*All individuals are unique. Your results can and will vary.

How is Foot Pain Diagnosed?

Diagnosis of what exactly causes pain in the foot is essential for the correct treatment of the problem. Medical specialists will establish the seriousness of the injury by gauging the amount of pain suffered by an individual. The four bands of pain are usually classified as:

  • During activity
  • Before and after actions but not affecting the activity in any way
  • Before, during, and after the activity
  • Severe pain that makes activity impossible.

For more complicated diagnosis, the doctor may have to take an X-Ray or carry out an MRI scan to have a closer look at the conditions of the bones and ligaments in the foot.

When Should I Seek Medical Treatment for Foot Pain?

An individual should seek medical treatment for foot pain as soon as it becomes significantly uncomfortable to walk or perform regular day-to-day activities.

Since the foot plays a role in our daily lives, we generally wait for it to heal itself. Smaller problems that cause foot pain such as a strain or sprain will heal themselves as long as proper care is taken.

Avoid putting too much stress on the foot and allow it to rest as much as possible. Applying some sort of soothing balm will also help reduce the pain. For more significant pain and injuries that take longer to heal, consult a specialist.

What Follow-up Care is Needed After Foot Pain is Treated?

The kind of follow-up care will largely depend on the primary factor causing foot pain. For instance, a simple sprain or cellular level ligament tear will usually not need more than a significant amount of rest.

However, physiotherapy should not be ignored. There are a number of useful exercises that your physiotherapist will recommend, which will strengthen the foot as well as the bones and ligaments.

Improving muscle strength and flexibility is of prime importance before doing regular workout for the foot.

How Can Foot Pain Be Prevented?

The foot is so regularly used in our daily activities and prevention is something that is usually forgotten.

However, simple warm-up exercises should be performed before starting any athletic performances or even strenuous physical activity that is going to put significant pressure on the foot. Make sure that the muscles and tendons are warmed up, stretched, and ready for action.
Get a health check-up for:

These diseases have the potential to cause foot problems in the future, so it is advisable that you get tested for them as well.


*All individuals are unique. Your results can and will vary.

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Expert’s Opinion

Experts, as well as the US Health Institute, agree that foot pain while being a common occurrence, can affect a person’s daily performance and comfort if it becomes chronic, or if it is the result of structural damage to the foot.

The cause of the problem, such as what you were doing when you first encountered the problem, will help you realize how severe the problem is and whether you need medical help.

Being overweight is a common cause of the problem. So if obesity is a problem you suffer from, take steps to deal with it. The more serious causes of foot pain may need medication for complete healing.

Read Also: Toe Pain: Common Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis And Treatment

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Evan Jensen, CPT

Evan Jensen is a renowned American Nutritionist, Diet Expert and health writer. He specializes in writing about health, fitness, nutrit

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