Foot pain Not only can foot pain be unpleasant in itself, but foot
problems can also cause pain in other parts of the body. Early treatment
Why does my foot hurt?
Foot pain can be the cause of considerable distress and frustration, not least because the problem is aggravated whenever we stand on our feet. There can be all sorts of reasons for foot pain, many of which are easy to resolve such as wearing orthotics to correct a foot imbalance, checking that you are wearing the right size shoe, treating a verruca, losing weight or keeping cracked heels moisturised. However, other causes of foot pain are not so straightforward to treat.
The feet and ankles are joined together through a combination of bones, ligaments, fascia tissue and muscles which all contribute towards the proper functioning of the foot. If any one of these structures is inflamed, strained, worn, damaged or not working as it should, the result can be any one of a range of painful foot conditions including:
- plantar fasciitis: thickening of the plantar fascia tissue beneath the foot, normally as a result of sudden damage or long-term damage to the tissue, causing pain in the heel which can be especially painful when first getting out of bed in the morning
- arthritis: the pain and stiffness caused by arthritis can vary in severity but can benefit from gentle exercise or manipulation by an osteopath to promote flexibility
- oedema/swelling: this needs swift diagnosis from your GP or nearest hospital accident and emergency department
- overpronation: also known as ‘flat foot’, this can cause pain in the ankles and lower legs and can have a knock-on effect in the rest of the body causing pain in the knees, lower back and hips; can be helped considerably by orthotics
- bunions: often caused by a dysfunction at the joint of the big toe and may lead to swelling, discomfort, pain or stiffness in and around the area
- Achilles tear, strain or tendinitis: pain and tightness in the Achilles area at the back of the heel or at the bottom of the calf muscle
- stress fracture: often caused by excess strain on the foot/ankle joints, or sport injury
- sprains and strains: can be very painful but often respond well to treatment, including rest, ultrasound and massage.
Any of the above conditions may be treated by an osteopath. However, where considered necessary an osteopath may refer you to a podiatrist or doctor for further investigation.
Please note that the above information is very brief and condensed; for proper diagnosis and treatment, please see your GP or osteopath