Common Causes, and Symptoms of Foot Pain

Cause Location of Symptoms Symptoms
Corns and calluses Around toes, usually little toe, bottom of feet or areas exposed to friction Hard, dead, yellowish skin
Ingrown toenails Toe nails Nail curling into skin causes pain, swelling, and, in extreme cases, infection
Bunions and bunionettes (tailors bunion) Big toe (bunions) or little toe (bunionettes) Toes point inward
Area next to bony bump is red, tender, occasionally filled with fluid
Toe joint may be inflamed
Note: Osteoarthritis may also occur in the big toe in older people
Morton's neuroma Third and fourth toes and bottom of foot near these toes Cramping and burning pain around the third and fourth toe
The neuroma may be detected by pressing top to bottom using one hand and with the other hand pressing on the top of the foot and moving it side to side
Aggravated by prolonged standing and relieved by the removal of the shoes and forefoot massage
Hammertoe Usually second toe but may develop in any or all of the three middle toes Toes form hammer or claw shape
No pain at first, increasing as tendon becomes tighter and toes stiffen
Metatarsal stress fracture Area beneath the second or third toe Sudden pain when injury occurs
Sesamoiditis Ball of foot beneath big toe Pain and swelling
Plantar fasciitis Back of the arch right in front of heel At onset, some people report a tearing or popping sound
Pain, most severe with first steps after getting out of bed, decreasing after stretching, returning after inactivity
Bursitis of the heel Center of the heel Pain, with warmth and swelling. Increases during the day
Haglund's deformity (Pump bump) Fleshy area on the back of the heel Tender swelling aggravated by shoes with stiff backs
Stress fracture or, uncommonly, heel spurs Bottom of heel Sharp stabbing pain
Tarsal tunnel syndrome Anywhere along the bottom of the foot Numbness, tingling, or burning sensations, pain, most commonly felt at night
Flat feet The arch No arch
Often no pain or discomfort
Sometimes people report fatigue, pain, or stiffness in the feet, legs, and lower back
High Arches (Hollow feet) The arch High arches
Lower back pain, possible tendency to lower limb injuries
Achilles tendinitis Achilles tendon: area along the back between calf muscles and heel Pain worsens during physical activities (particularly running) after which the tendon usually swells and stiffens
If it ruptures, popping sound may occur followed by acute pain similar to a blow at the back of the leg