Foot Pain Identifier

Our feet are certainly resilient– but only up to a point. If you are experiencing some minor-to-moderate pain right now, then this guide will help you figure out what’s wrong until you get to your doctor’s appointment.  Before we go into the different areas of the foot where the pain emanates, here are some important foot pain identifier questions to take note of:

  • Is the site of the pain warm to the touch?
  • Is my foot feeling tender?
  • How does it look? Is it red?
  • Does the foot look swollen?
  • Does the pain worsen when I walk or stand?
  • Is it difficult to walk to stand?

When you’re going through this foot identifier list, remember to only use it as a guide and not as means to self-diagnose and more importantly, self-medicate.

Pain on Top of Foot

Thankfully, it is easier to figure out what’s wrong when the pain you are experiencing emanates from the top of your foot, because it is easier to see or characterize. top foot pain

Stress Fractures

The most common reason for sudden dorsal foot pain, this is usually caused by repetitive overloading of the foot and will usually cause sever pain, tenderness and swelling. Depending on its severity, a few days of resting your foot will do the trick. Applying ice and taking pain relievers are also recommended.

Extensor Tendonitis

As the name suggests, this condition concerns the tendons, a fibrous connective tissue, on your foot. It gets inflamed or irritated for a number of reasons: tight/uncomfortable shoes, standing for long periods, running on uneven surfaces, or a sudden blow to the foot. This usually comes with some bruising, tenderness and inability to wear shoes. After icing the affected foot and taking the right medications, people with extensor tendonitis are recommended to use orthotics and do calf muscle stretching exercises.

Tibialis Anterior Tendonitis

A bit similar to the previous condition, this is a degenerative issue that affects the front of the ankle. The usual common causes and treatment options are the same as for extensor tendonitis.


Arthritis at ankle joint (Gout , Rheumatoid arthritis)If you are aware that you have high levels of uric acid and you suddenly felt intense pain on the top of your foot, especially around the big toe, and you can see swelling, redness and feel a warm sensation, then this is most probably the culprit. You will need to see a doctor for the right medicines and possibly steroids too.

Athlete’s Foot

Although more known for causing stinky feet, athlete’s foot can also sometimes cause foot pain. A severe case can lead to swelling and blisters. It is a fungal infection caused by poor foot hygiene and can be cured through anti-fungal medication or applying tea-tree oil.

Tarsal Coalition

Usually affecting children, tarsal coalition is a very painful problem that is believed to be congenital and would often require surgery, a cast and orthotics.

Flat Feet

Adults who develop flat feet usually won’t really notice any changes or feel any pain. But there are occasions, especially when you’ve stood for a long period of time or ran a couple of miles, when it will make itself known by causing you extreme pain. There are many options to treat this problem but usually, proper footwear, a good pair of orthotics will do the trick.

Degenerative Arthritis

Arthritis in the foot can be very annoying, especially when you put pressure (no matter how light it is like putting on shoes) on the affected foot. If you find that you have degenerative arthritis in the big toe joint, your doctor will be able to help you figure out how to lessen its symptoms.

Dorsal foot pain is not that common and usually tells you that there is something more serious going on. Don’t hesitate to call your doctor right away to properly diagnose the problem and prescribe the right treatment.

Foot Arch & Heel Pain

When the bottom of your foot aches, there is no disputing that it is very inconvenient and annoying. Tiptoeing to get to places is not enjoyable.

Plantar Fasciitis

The most common cause of heel pain, this condition happens when the plantar fascia, a band of touch tissue that connects your toes to the heel bone, get irritated. A common surefire way to find out if this is your problem is if you’ve observed that the heel pain is worst in the morning or when you’ve rested your feet for a while. Aside from rest, pain relievers, heel and foot stretches, braces, shoes designed for people with plantar fasciitis, shoe inserts, and pf night splints can be very helpful in treating this problem.

Heel Spurs

Characterized as an abnormal growth of the bone on the bottom of the heel, it is extremely common but would only rarely cause pain. It is said that only one in 20 people with heel spurs will feel discomfort. Although it would be very hard to reverse, it can be treated with wearing shock-absorbing soles, cutout heel pads, orthotics and physical therapy.Man runner outside with digital composite of foot bones

Stone Bruise

If you feel like your walking on pebbles barefoot, then this is probably the cause of your problem. It occurs in impact injuries or when you stepped on a hard object. Usually, resting and icing it would do the trick.

Heel Bone Fracture

Also called as calcaneus, this happens when your heel is subjected to high impact like falling from a height or a car accident. Depending on the severity, treating a fractured heel bone can take a few months and will come with bruising, swelling limping and difficulty in walking.

It is a very common complaint by many but that doesn’t mean it can’t lead to anything serious.

Bottom of Foot Pain

The ball of the foot (where the toes meet the rest of the foot) is very muscular and is usually where we all put the majority of pressure during strenuous activities. It is very susceptible to injuries and could lead to very serious problems.


METATARSALGIAOne of the three common reasons for pain in the ball of your foot, this condition is caused by continuous or repetitive strenuous activities, as well using ill-fitting shoes. A simple lifestyle change (or better shoes!) are enough treatment for metatarsalgia.

Morton’s Neuroma

A more serious problem, Morton’s neuroma is when the tissue between the bases of your toes are thickened, which is usually due to wearing high-heeled or tight shoes. Shoe inserts, steroid injections, pain relievers and surgery are the common ways to treat this condition.


It involves the big toe and would, aside from sever pain, come with inflammation and redness. People with this problem need to be on bed rest, wear a footpad, ice the toe for at least five minutes at a time, and if needed, get steroid injections.

When you are feeling pain the ball of the foot, you should figure out right away what’s happening before it worsens. Underneath this area is the fat pad that gets thinner as we grow old.

Foot Pain Everywhere

If you can’t isolate an area on your foot that the pain is centered on, it is possible that the pain is in fact everywhere. There are only two common reasons for this.

Nerve Damage

Commonly a side effect of diabetes, nerve damage or neuropathy will feel like your foot is burning or being electrocuted. To be able to properly cure this serious problem, you need to go to the doctor and find the underlying cause.

Orthopedic Trauma

Whether it’s from an accident or a silly mistake, trauma will definitely get you crying out in pain. Characterized by acute pain, inability to bear weight, swelling and tenderness, it is possible that trauma is caused by a broken or fractured ankle or another joint in your foot.

It is not everyday that your feet demand your time and attention by acting out. So the second you feel that your foot or feet are in pain, don’t wait. Act on it right away.

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