Aching feet or foot can come on gradually over a period of days or weeks. There are some cases where this can occur immediately post exercise due to an injury or issue. It can be a regular occurrence in runners or jumping activities.
Pain at the back of the foot or back of heel pain, also known as Achilles heel pain is usually a gradual onset injury. The most common are Sever's disease which affects children, insertional Achilles tendonitis, Achilles tendonopathy or Achilles bursitis.
The ball of the foot is the area underneath and behind the toes. It is the part of the foot you push off on when walking or running. Pain in the ball of the foot can be sharp or dull in nature. It can occur due to poor foot posture or dynamics in gait (walking) pattern. Pain could occur from a stress related response, poor footwear, a surface related issue or a fracture.
Pain affecting the big toe or great toe can be described as pain under big toe, pain in big toe or big toe joint pain. Pain in big toe joint may involve ligament sprains for example in Turf Toe. Turf toe can occur due to a hyperextension injury and is usually associated with artificial surfaces. It is pain in the connective tissue and a healing process must occur with rehabilitation necessary. Pain can be due to a sprain of this connective tissue but tears and ruptures can also elicit the pain and symptoms in this area.
Bruising on the toe is a discolouring caused by bleeding in the joint which may take hours or even a day or so to emerge. It is usually accompanied by swelling and pain. Bruising in the toes is likely from joint injury involving ligament damage, soft tissue or a fracture to any of the small bones of the toes (phalanges bones).
The most common cause of burning pain in the foot is athletes foot skin infection. Burning foot pain may also be caused by nerve damage, usually in the legs and is known as neuropathy. Symptoms may also include a numbness in the foot or pins and needles feeling in the foot and can be directly from the lumbar spine where the nervous system is giving the pain.
What causes flaking skin? The most common cause of skin flaking off the foot is athletes foot infection. Other causes include dry skin, eczema, sunburn and a build up of hard skin.
Pain under the foot is also described as pain on the bottom of the foot or sole of foot pain. Plantar fasciitis is the most common cause of pain in the arch of the foot. This can occur gradually and may start with tightness around the area. Sometimes a change in floor surface (especially hard surfaces) or having no support of the arch can bring on pain in this area. A sore foot arch is often worse first thing in the morning and eases as the day goes on. Foot arch pain can also be due to inappropriate footwear or a surface issue where overload as occurred and is common in sport.
Pain which comes on gradually is often known as chronic foot pain. The athlete is unlikely to be able to pinpoint a specific time when the injury happened and can be due to a variety of reasons.The athlete may have been struggling on with the pain as a niggle for some time. Chronic foot pain can also result from an acute injury, which has failed to heal properly or had the appropriate treatment and rehabilitation.
Heel pain, which comes on gradually is often due to an overuse problem. Pain under the heel is likely from either Plantar Fasciitis or Bruised Heel (Fat Pad Contusion), although a stress fracture of the heel bone (calcaneum) should not be ignored, especially if symptoms persist.
Heel pain in the morning is often related to Plantar Fasciitis. Typically the pain is under the heel and can be into the arch of the foot. It is worse first thing in the morning but eases after walking on it a while as it gets warmed up and stretched. Foot pain in the morning in general could relate to any tendon injury which tightens up overnight.
Pain on inside of foot or medial foot pain is it is called is likely to have come on gradually. It may feel similar to pain in the arch of the foot. Overuse is the most likely cause along with poor foot biomechanics. Some causes of inner foot pain are listed here.
Itching on the foot or between the toes is often a fungal infection known as athletes foot. The medical term for itchiness is pruritus and is associated with scratching. Irritants, moisture, dryness, bacterial or fungal infections, parasites and viruses can cause itchy feet.
Non weightbearing is the case where the foot or heel can not touch the ground due to pain or surgery. Sometimes aids such as crutches or aircast boots are provided to help with this but in an immediate setting hopping is used.
Numb toes or numbess in the toes is a loss of feeling and sensation in an area but can also have signs of tingling or burning. It can affect the nerves or blood vessels in connection to the given area. It usually comes on through nerve compression or restriction of circulation from poorly fitting shoes. Nerve damage can occur following injury or being exposed to cold conditions for long periods of time for example frostbite and immersion foot (trench foot).
Outer foot pain or pain on the outside of foot is also known as lateral foot pain. It may come on gradually where patients may complain of a sore outside of the foot. The lateral longitudinal arch due to poor biomechanics, strain or tear can cause lateral foot pain. The cuboid bone is situated laterally and the ligamentous structures associated with this bone can cause pain in this area from overuse or direct trauma.
Pain under the heel usually comes on gradually over time through overuse. This pain can be associated with the calcaneum or soft tissue structures. Plantar fasciitis is the most common cause of pain under the heel, especially in older athletes but with increased artificial surfaces it is becoming more common in all ages.
Pins and needles in feet. A feeling in the foot which may also be related to a numb feeling. This is due to nerves being affected in some way following injury.
Point tenderness means a localised sore spot when pressing in on a specific part of the foot. This could be due to simple inflammation or a bruise. Alternatively this can be from an issue with a tendon, ligament or bone.
Sharp pain in the foot can be acute or chronic. This can be due to an impact injury through trauma or from gradual onset. Pain can be intermittent and referred from the lumbar spine.
Gout, blisters, athlete’s foot, dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis, insect bites, or hand, foot, and mouth disease may cause redness of the skin. The skin often appears red before a blister is formed known as a hot spot.
Calluses can cause skin tenderness or soreness on the skin of the foot. Calluses are common at the ball of the foot. Bruising and inflammation with associated swelling can also cause skin tenderness.
Stiff toe or toes are toes that may be difficult or uncomfortable to move. This may be due to pain or it may be because the joint is swollen or has restricted movement.
Foot pain which comes on suddenly, usually from a traumatic impact, twisting or sprain. Also known as acute foot pain. Acute foot pain can occur from fractures to any of the bones in the midfoot, forefoot or heel as well as the toes.
An acute toe injury, which occurs suddenly, usually from a direct impact or trauma such as stubbing the toe or having your toe stood on. This can also be from a toenail haemotoma due to this type of impact. With an acute toe injury the patient is likely to know exactly when the injury happened.
Why is my foot swollen? Feet swelling up can be caused by a sudden traumatic foot injury, through overuse or some other medical condition such as Gout. In some instances the feet can be swollen due to a severe fracture or multi joint injury.
Swelling on the heel is usually swelling at the back of the heel where the achilles tendon inserts. Achilles swelling can be from a tendonopathy or a tear of the posterior structures. Sever’s disease can also cause swelling in some circumstances and a heel spur can occur.
A swollen big toe is most common and may be caused by injury to the toe joint from a direct trauma or stubbing the toe. In some cases the nail bed is injured or infected and creates a swollen toe.
Toe deformities or a deformity of the toe occurs following a sudden onset traumatic injury involving a fracture ‘jamming of toe’ or dislocatoin. Toe deformities can develop gradually as in the case of a bunion.
Pain on top of foot can be due to fractures or hematomas if direct impact as occurred. Ligamentous, tendon and muscular injuries can all cause foot pain on top.