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Understanding Foot Pain

Jan 13, 2015

Feet support our body weight as we walk around every day performing our daily tasks. We put our feet through years of wear and tear that can sometimes result in injury. It’s not feasible to stay off your feet and spend your whole life in bed, but it is beneficial to understand foot pain and what certain symptoms mean.

Understanding why you’re experiencing pain can help you treat your injury and prevent it from getting worse.

Understanding the Foot

The foot is a complex part of our body, made up of 26 bones and 33 joints.

The three parts of the foot are the hindfoot, the midfoot, and the forefoot. The calcaneous, or heel bone, and the talus make up the rear foot, the midfoot consists of the navicular, cuboid, and cuneiform bone, and the forefront consists of the metatarsals and phalanges. These bones along with the foot joints, muscles, and ligaments allow the foot to hold your body weight and provide motion to the foot.

Common Foot Pain

Foot pain is very common, especially if you’re involved in physical activities and sports. When severe enough, it will hinder you from walking and performing daily tasks. It’s important to have your foot pain looked at by a physician at the first sign of discomfort to prevent more serious issues such as bone or ligament damage or potential deformity.

Calcaneus Fracture

If you have pain, bruising, and swelling in your heel, you may have a calcaneus fracture. This type of foot injury will make it difficult to walk and there may be a visible deformity of the heel.

Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis is another injury that causes pain in the heel when the long, thin ligament that supports the arch of your foot is damaged. When your foot sustains a great deal of pressure from the impact of walking or running, the tissues can strain, tear, or becomes inflamed. The inflammation results in pain of the heel.

Stress Fracture

If you feel pain or tenderness that gets worse as you apply weight to it, you may have a stress fracture. This occurs when the muscles in the foot are worn out and can no longer absorb the shock of impacts, and the bone cracks.

Foot Arthritis

Arthritis causes the joints of the foot to swell, and is very painful in the affected area. When arthritis develops in numerous foot joints or in the ankle, walking can become difficult. The foot joints most commonly affected by arthritis are the hindfoot, the midfoot, and the big toe.

Based on the severity of your injury, your physician will determine what treatment method would be best for you. Non-operative methods are typically the best option, but surgery may be necessary if they aren’t effective.

If you’re dealing with this kind of foot pain, it’s important that you see your doctor immediately to be evaluated. If you are considering foot surgery, download our e-book, How to Choose an Orthopaedic Surgeon. This informative guide will educate you on how to find the right surgeon for you.