Foot & Heel

Foot and heel injuries

Foot injuries are separated into heel pain, midfoot pain, forefoot pain (including pain under the ball of the foot), toe injuries and skin conditions such as athletes foot and blisters. Foot pain can be acute (sudden onset) or chronic (gradual onset). If you have suffered a recent foot injury then it is usually best to apply immediate first aid in the form of ice or cold therapy. We also explain under which circumstances you should see a doctor or seek professional medical advice.

When should you see a doctor with your foot pain? Often people do not want to bother their GP or A & E department but if you have any of the following symptoms you should seek further medical assistance.

The PRICE principles (protection, rest, ice, compression and elevation) are the gold standard set for treating acute foot and heel injuries. PRICE should be applied as early as possible and continued for at least the first 24-72 hours.

Heel injuries can be acute, meaning they have happened suddenly or are acutely painful. Or they can chronic, occurring gradually over time or result from an initial acute injury which has not healed properly. The most common causes of pain under the heel are Plantar Fasciitis and Bruised Heel whilst pain at the back of the heel in children is more likely to be Sever's disease. Select from the injuries below or if you do not know what your injury is then visited our symptom checker, or click on any of the symptoms below to view injuries with that particular symptom.

Midfoot pain is concerned with the middle of the foot where the small tarsal bones are located. The most common cause of midfoot pain other than following a sprained ankle is a mid tarsal joint sprain. A stress fracture of the navicular bone is also common and should not be missed. Pain in the midfoot area for more than five days following injury then a Lisfranc joint sprain should be considered.

Forefoot pain often originates from the long metatarsal bones in the foot, down towards the toes as well as pain under the ball of the foot. The more common gradual onset injuries include metatarsal stress fractures, bunions, and Morton's neuroma. Sudden onset or acute injuries result from direct trauma or impact and include fractures and ligament sprains.

Skin conditions of the foot are common in sports and most are easily avoidable. They include athletes foot, blisters, corns, calluses, and verucca. Most can be treated with over the counter remedies but if you think something is wrong then view our advice on whether see a doctor about your foot injury or skin condition.

Toe injuries include common conditions such as Ingrown toenail, Black toenail as well as fractured, broken toe or dislocated toes. Deformities such as hallux rigidus (stiff big toe) and hammer toe are also explained with advice on treatment, prevention and when to see a doctor or seek professional medical advice.