Foot Pain and Soreness
Causes of Foot Pain and Soreness
Causes of Soreness in the Forefoot
Many foot conditions can cause forefoot soreness, including the following:
- Arthritis – when the condition affects joints.
- Broken bones or stress fractures
- Bunion – a protrusion at the base of the big toe or little toe (“tailor’s bunion” or “bunionette”) that becomes inflamed.
- Bursitis – inflammation of the sacs that protect and cushion the joints.
- Calluses and Corns – thickened areas of skin that protect skin exposed to irritation.
- Gout – inflammation, often in the big toe area, caused by buildup of uric acid in the blood.
- Hammer toe – a deformity of the second, third or fourth toe in which the toe becomes bent at the middle joint.
- Ingrown toenail - when the corner or side of a toenail grows into the soft flesh of the toe.
- Metatarsalgia – soreness or pain in the ball of the foot due to impact or poor biomechanics.
- Morton's neuroma – nerve enlargement, usually between the third and fourth toes.
- Plantar wart – a wart on the underside of the feet.
- Sesamoiditis – inflammation of the small sesamoid bones in the ball of the foot, just below the big toe.
- Sprains and Strains
- Tendinitis – inflammation of tendons in the foot.
Causes of Pain/Soreness in the Rear Foot or Heel Area
Some conditions that cause pain or soreness in the forefoot—broken bones, bruises, arthritis, tendinitis, bursitis, plantar warts and stress fractures, among others—can also cause pain or soreness in the rear foot or heel area. Other causes of rear-foot pain may include the following:
- Plantar fasciitis – inflammation of the dense band of fibrous tissue that extends from the bottom of the heel bone to the ball of the foot.
- Heel spurs – bumps that develop on the edge of the heel bone.
- Haglund’s deformity (also called "pump bump") – bony enlargement at the back of the heel bone in the area where the Achilles tendon attaches to the bone.
- Tarsal tunnel syndrome – a compression or squeezing of the tibial nerve that produces soreness or pain along the nerve running from the inside of the ankle into the rear foot.
Causes of Pain/Soreness in the Arch Area
Foot pain and soreness also may occur in the arch area of the foot. This is most often due to one of the following conditions:
- “Fallen” arches or flat feet (pes planus) – the feet overpronate (turn inward too much), causing soreness and discomfort from stress on the muscles and ligaments.
- Very high arches or inflexible feet (pes cavus) – often lead to muscle soreness and stiffness in the arch area.
- Plantar fasciitis, as described above.