Foot pain is common, and it has a wide variety of contributing factors, including too much time standing, athletic injuries, chronic conditions such as arthritis, and uncomfortable shoes. In most cases, the site of pain can reveal the underlying cause, which will determine if medical intervention is required. Because this is Pain Awareness Month, today, Dr. Mucinskas at Feet First Foot Care Specialists is sharing information regarding pain in different parts of the foot.
1. Generalized toe pain: Pain in a single toe may be a hammertoe, which is a condition that affects the second, third, or fourth toe. The toe bends downward and looks irregular. The toe may appear discolored or swollen and may be difficult to straighten. In some cases, hammertoe affects several toes.
2. Big toe pain: Many of the same issues that affect the toes, such as strains, sprains, arthritis, and broken bones, can cause pain in the big toe. But if the pain is only in the big toe, especially at the top, an ingrown toenail may be the cause. This condition develops when the side edging of the toenail grows into the skin, causing pain, swelling, or infection.
3. Ball-of-foot pain: Pain at the front of the foot near the toes or on the ball of the foot has many possible causes. Minor overuse injuries, tense muscles, and muscle sprains and strains can all cause pain in the ball of the foot, which typically resolves within a few weeks and may get better with massage.
4. Foot arch pain: Injuries to the tendons and muscles of the foot, overuse, and unsupportive shoes may cause arch pain. Conditions that affect the heel, such as tendonitis and plantar fasciitis, may also cause pain in the foot's arch.
5. Joint pain: Joint pain, such as in the ankle, on the knuckles of the toes, or at the point where the toes connect to the foot, may be a sign of arthritis. The most common type is osteoarthritis, which develops when the cartilage that protects the joints weakens. While there is no cure for arthritis, several treatment options can help.
6. Heel pain: Achilles tendonitis and plantar fasciitis are among the most common conditions that can cause pain that spreads to the heel. Achilles tendonitis occurs when the tendon down the back of the leg becomes inflamed. Plantar fasciitis is inflammation of the thick band of tissue that spreads from the heel to the toes. The pain is stabbing and sharp and often feels worse in the morning or when exercising.
7. Generalized swelling or foot pain: General swelling or pain may indicate a blood flow problem. Damage to the blood vessels or nerves from conditions such as diabetes may cause inflammation. In some cases, a person’s feet will temporarily swell in the heat or during pregnancy.
Foot pain can make sleeping, walking, and daily tasks uncomfortable or even impossible. If you experience chronic foot pain, do not attempt to self-diagnose it. Instead, contact Dr. Mucinskas at Feet First Foot Care Specialists to schedule a visit by calling our office at 860-632-5499 or by clicking here to make your appointment online.