Nearly all causes of foot pain can be grouped under one of the following:
- Ill-fitting shoes. Poorly fitting shoes are a frequent cause of foot pain. High-heeled shoes concentrate pressure on the toes and can aggravate, if not cause, problems with the toes.
- Certain medical conditions. Any medical condition that causes a disturbance in the way a person walks can contribute to foot pain. This may include diseases or conditions that lead to pain or numbness in the feet (such as diabetes), leg and foot deformities, spinal problems, and neurological disorders such as Parkinson's disease or cerebral palsy.
- High-impact exercise. High-impact exercising, such as jogging or strenuous aerobics, can injure the feet and other parts of the leg. Common injuries include corns, calluses, blisters, muscle cramps, acute knee and ankle injuries, plantar fasciitis, and metatarsalgia.
Medical Conditions Causing Foot Pain
Arthritic Conditions. Arthritic conditions, particularly osteoarthritis and gout, can cause foot pain. Although rheumatoid arthritis almost always develops in the hand, the ball of the foot can also be affected.
Diabetes. Diabetes is an important cause of serious foot disorders. [For more information, see In-Depth Report #9: Diabetes - type 1 and In-Depth Report #60: Diabetes - type 2.]
Obesity. Obesity can cause foot and ankle pain.
Pregnancy. Pregnancy can cause fluid buildup and swollen feet. The increased weight and imbalance of pregnancy contributes to foot stress.
Medications. Some medications, such as calcitonin and drugs used for high blood pressure, can cause foot swelling.
|Click the icon to see an image of foot inspection.|
Review Date: 01/30/2011
Reviewed By: Harvey Simon, MD, Editor-in-Chief, Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Physician, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.