Understanding and Treating Your Foot Pain (2024)

There are many conditions that can cause pain in the feet, and the symptoms can have a major impact on everyday life. Effective treatment requires the right diagnosis and advice from an experienced healthcare provider. If you are experiencing foot pain, it’s a good idea to

visit a clinic as soon as possible. This will help you get diagnosed and start a treatment plan that will best support your recovery.

What to expect at your exam

When you visit a medical provider at one of WellNow’s 180+ medical clinics for foot pain, we will ask you about your symptoms and medical history and perform a comprehensive exam of your feet and legs. X-Rays may also be taken to help diagnose the cause of your foot pain.

For most causes of foot pain, you will be advised to rest by avoiding activities that hurt your foot. You can also help your recovery by using ice or pain relievers to reduce swelling, by stretching the muscles of your foot and leg, and wearing comfortable shoes with proper arch support and a cushioned sole.

Additional treatment may be advised depending on the pain’s cause, severity, and duration. We will outline some of our most commonly encountered foot conditions and foot injuries and how these are typically treated at our clinics.

Plantar Fasciitis

Heel and arch pain are often caused by an inflammatory condition called plantar fasciitis. With this condition, the band of tissue that connects the heel bone to the toes becomes irritated or inflamed. The pain is typically worse first thing in the morning.

If regular, at-home care for foot pain does not help, your medical provider may recommend a foot splint or an injection of medicine, such as a steroid, to help your foot heal.

Stress Fractures

Stress fractures are small, thin cracks in a bone that develop over time due to repetitive force. This is usually due to overuse, but stress fractures can also form under regular use in bones that are weakened by osteoporosis and other conditions.

The most common place for stress fractures to develop is in the bones that bear most of your weight. Of these bones, stress fractures happen most frequently in the second and third metatarsals of the foot. The heel and the navicular bone, which is located in the top of the foot, are also common sites for stress fractures.

It’s important to get a stress fracture treated right away. Delaying treatment can cause the fracture to turn into a full break, arthritis to develop, or the bone to heal improperly, which can result in long-term pain and disability.

Your treatment should include one to six weeks of resting the foot. You may be advised to elevate the foot when lying down and take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) to reduce the swelling.

You may also be provided with a cast, fracture boot, or orthopedic footwear to protect against stress on your foot. In addition, you may be advised to use crutches to keep weight off your foot for a period of time. Occasionally, internal fixation surgery is necessary, where pins, screws, and/or plates are used to hold the bones together.

Fallen arches

Also referred to as flat feet, fallen arches occur when the arches of the feet flatten out. This is just one of the many conditions that can cause pain in this area. For issues involving the arches of the foot, orthotics may be recommended to help support the foot arch while the injury or condition heals. Rest, ice, and painkillers can also aid recovery. Sometimes, physical therapy or surgery is recommended to correct the cause of the pain.

Fractures and broken bones

Fractures or breaks in the bones of your foot are usually the result of a serious impact, such as a car accident or a fall. Along with pain, you will likely also experience bruising, swelling, and difficulty with walking. The pain can be anywhere in the foot, depending on the location of the fractured or broken bone. One commonly broken bone in the foot is the fifth metatarsal, which is located along the outer edge of your foot.

A cast may be needed along with the regular care required for foot injuries. Your medical provider may advise using crutches and avoiding walking on the injured foot. In some cases, surgery may be necessary.

Where to get an exam for foot pain

Foot pain should not be ignored. You will gain the best chances of recovery when you are seen by a medical provider quickly upon developing pain or other symptoms. Visit a WellNow clinic near you for fast, reliable access to trusted healthcare providers. We’re open for extended hours every day of the week, so you can start feeling better as soon as possible.

Understanding and Treating Your Foot Pain (2024)


Understanding and Treating Your Foot Pain? ›

Oral analgesic medications such as acetaminophen (paracetamol) or aspirin are often the first line choice for quick relief of foot pain. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen or naproxen are also often recommended and can help to reduce inflammation at the same time.

What is the best painkiller for foot pain? ›

Oral analgesic medications such as acetaminophen (paracetamol) or aspirin are often the first line choice for quick relief of foot pain. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen or naproxen are also often recommended and can help to reduce inflammation at the same time.

What is the best thing to soak your feet in for pain? ›

A good soak

Some patients find warm water and Epsom salts soothing, Dr. Leonard said. “I have no objections to this as long as you check the water temperature to make sure the temperature is not too hot,” he said.

Why do the bottoms of my feet hurt so bad? ›

Pain in the bottom of your foot is often caused by exercise, such as running, wearing shoes that are too tight or a condition, such as Morton's neuroma. Some people also have a foot shape that puts extra pressure on the bottom of the foot. Hard or cracked skin or a verruca can also cause this type of pain.

Why does my foot hurt even when resting? ›

Foot pain at night may be related to having poor circulation in the foot. The name for this in medical terms is “rest pain”. This is not “pain at rest” but rather pain that happens because the circulation cannot support the tissues even when they are at rest.

How can I get instant relief from foot pain? ›

Hot and cold therapy can provide immediate relief for foot pain and help to reduce inflammation. Alternate between hot and cold treatments to soothe sore muscles and promote blood flow to the affected area. Heat therapy: Fill a basin with warm water and soak your feet for 10-15 minutes.

Do compression socks help with foot pain? ›

Compression socks can help ease foot pain by: Improving blood circulation — Compression socks work by applying gentle pressure to the feet and legs, which helps to improve blood flow. This improved circulation helps reduce swelling and discomfort in the feet, making them feel more relaxed and less painful.

What does Epsom salt do for foot pain? ›

But Epsom salt can ease pain related to inflammation, which can be beneficial for foot health. Supporters claim that in addition to reducing pain symptoms and promoting healing, Epsom salt can be dissolved in warm water to ease pain from gout, eliminate odor, and help treat infection.

What does soaking your feet in baking soda do? ›

Relieves callus pain

Baking soda also has effective anti-inflammatory properties to relieve painful symptoms caused by calluses, horniness and calluses. Mixed with 5 drops of lavandin and tea tree essential oils (antiseptics), it soothes inflammation and gently removes dead skin.

Is heat or cold compress better for foot pain? ›

Apply heat, cold or both to your feet. Usually, cold therapy using ice is recommended for acute injuries like a sprained ankle, or if you're experiencing swelling. Heat therapy, on the other hand, can be better for chronic foot pain, as it can help soothe stiff joints and relax muscles.

How do I know if my foot pain is serious? ›

Seek immediate medical attention if you:

Have severe pain or swelling, especially after an injury. Have an open wound or a wound that is oozing pus. Have signs of infection, such as redness, warmth and tenderness in the affected area or you have a fever over 100 F (37.8 C). Are unable to walk or put weight on the foot.

What is the best position to sleep in with foot pain? ›

Ill-fitting footwear is a root cause of many types of foot pain. Sleep flat on your back to distribute your weight evenly and avoid placing too much pressure on a single area. If your feet still hurt after adjusting your position, try elevating them with a pillow.

What is the best anti-inflammatory for foot pain? ›

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

Popular over-the-counter NSAIDs include aspirin (Bayer, Bufferin, others), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others), and naproxen (Aleve). If you are taking an NSAID solely to relieve pain, expect to take a low dosage for a limited amount of time — usually until the pain is gone.

What disease makes the bottom of your feet hurt? ›

Plantar fasciitis typically causes a stabbing pain in the bottom of your foot near the heel. The pain is usually the worst with the first few steps after awakening, although it also can be triggered by long periods of standing or when you get up from sitting.

How do I know if my foot pain is nerve pain? ›

Regardless of the cause of the pain, someone with nerve pain in one or both feet may experience: a burning, aching, or tingling sensation. the sensation of an electric shock in the foot or feet. pain that gets worse during the night or specific activities.

Why does the top of my foot hurt and it hurts to walk? ›

People tend to develop pain on the top of their foot from overuse injury, such as running, or from wearing shoes that are too tight. Typically, keeping your weight off the affected foot may help relieve pain. In some cases, you may need to wear a cast or attend physical therapy to support your recovery.

What is it called when the top of your feet hurts? ›

The extensor tendons on, the top of the foot, are needed for flexing or pulling the foot upward. Excessive flexion or walking in shoes without proper support can damage these tendons. This is known as extensor tendinitis, which can cause significant pain in the top of the foot.

Is Tylenol or ibuprofen better for foot pain? ›

Other members of this drug class include aspirin and naproxen (Aleve). As you may have guessed from the descriptions above, acetaminophen is best used for fever, aches and pains, but will not be very helpful if the pain is due to inflammation. Ibuprofen is more helpful for these symptoms when inflammation is the cause.

What is the strongest drug for nerve pain? ›

Anticonvulsants are one of the most effective medications for treating nerve pain. Examples include pregabalin (Lyrica) and gabapentin (Neurontin). These medications are typically very effective in treating nerve pain, but they may also cause undesired side effects, such as: lethargy.

Is Aleve or ibuprofen better for foot pain? ›

On average, Aleve lasts eight to twelve hours, while Advil lasts just four to six hours. That means that if you have chronic, long-lasting pain, Aleve is probably a more effective option for you. Advil is better for short-term pain, and it's also considered safer for children.

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