Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Look out For These 19 Painful Foot Issues

by Derek Benoit, August 4th, 2021

ALWAYS consult your physician, specialist, or appropriate exercise professional before beginning ANY exercise or treatment plan. This content is for INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY AND DOES NOT CONSTITUTE MEDICAL ADVICE. By accessing this content, you agree to hold harmless the-outdoor-phoenix-community.com and Benoit Outdoor Media LLC for any injury, death, or damage to private property that results from performing any exercise, therapeutic exercise, or in receiving medical treatment.

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1.) Achilles Tendon Injuries: injuries from overuse of calf muscles and/or Achilles tendon itself. Can be tendonitis or rupture.

Symptoms: post exercise pain that gets progressively worse, stiffness until the muscles and tendon itself are warmed up, swelling.

Treatments: stretching, artificial support, massage, rest, ultrasound therapy, surgery (John Hopkins Medicine, 2021).

2.) Athletes Foot: fungal infection that can be contagious, especially in barefoot areas via wet floors. Usually found on the webbing between the toes and on the soles of the feet.

Symptoms: burning and itching, often with the appearance of dry skin. Sometimes redness or blistering can be present (Vanderheiden, 2020)

Treatment: OTC foot sprays, creams, and powders, or prescription varieties. If severe, may require oral medication (Mayo Clinic StaffA, 2021).

3.) Bunions: A buildup of tissue caused by misalignment of the bones of the big toe.

Symptoms: a large bump develops on the inside of the first joint of the big toe. The big toe angles inward the other toes of the same foot. (John Hopkins Medicine, 2021). Often caused by long-term wearning of pointed toe or cramped toe box shoes, especially by women. (Tejada, 2018).

Treatments: OTC bunion pads, shoes with wider toe boxes, OTC pain medications, ice, and rarely surgery. (John Hopkins Medicine, 2021; Tejada, 2018; Vanderheiden, 2020).

4.) Bursitis: painful inflammation of the bursae, the bone, muscle, and tendon-cushioning fluid sacs of the joints. This is often the result of wear and tear of the joints.

Symptoms: significant pain and in the heel and joint of the big toe.

Treatment: significant rest period of several weeks may be necessary. Flare ups are common (Mayo Clinic StaffB 2021; Vanderheiden, 2020)

5.) Corns: Yellow callus-like developing on the top knuckles of the toes. They can be hard or soft.

Symptoms: great pain and discomfort on top of toes, over joints, from rubbing against shoes or other toes.

Treatments: OTC moleskin pads designed to cushion the corn, shaving off dead skin from the corn, orthotics to redistribute pressure, wearing unrestrictive footwear, surgery (John Hopkins Medicine, 2021; Tejada 2018)

6.) Calluses: Thickened tissue on the bottom of the foot, at pressure points created by poorly fitting footwear.

Symptoms: develop at friction or pressure hot spots on the bottom of the foot, creating a buildup of harder skin.

Treatment: often trimming the built-up hardened skin.  

7.) Fat Pad Atrophy: the loss of body fat under the forefoot which provides cushioning. Such can also occur in the heel.

(Vanderheiden, 2020; Well Heeled PodiatryA, 2018).

Symptoms: significant pain from standing, especially barefoot, with relief coming from sitting or lying down. Bones of the forefoot become easily felt. Thick calluses develop as the foot attempts to protect itself.

Treatment: orthotics, FPA specifically designed shoes, injections of material to replace the pad, and now, matrix-bound fat grafts can be surgically implanted (Vanderheiden, 2020)

8.) Foot Ulcer: open wounds or blisters that are either difficult to heal, or chronically return. These are typically infected. Often occurs on the bottom of the foot, but can occur anywhere. They can start as skin infections, and progress down to the bone.

(UPMC Orthopaedic Care, 2021; Vanderheiden, 2020)

Symptoms: If there is a history peripheral neuropathy, or it’s present, the patient may feel very few to no symptoms. Otherwise, pain, swelling, and/or a burning sensation about an obvious sore that may be oozing fluid.

Treatment: antibiotics, surgical debridement, possibly amputation. (UPMC Orthopaedic Care, 2021).

9.) Fracture: such can be from a traumatic injury, or from repetitive stress. Stress fractures typically are associated with rapid increases in volume or intensity of activity.

(Vanderheiden, 2020)


Stress Fracture-deep, dull pain with limited mobility or change in biomechanics. Tenderness at a specific spot; redness and swelling typically on the top of the foot. The area around the stress fracture may feel weak. Pain can increase with weight bearing activity (Petra, 2019).

Fracture-often serious pain, swelling, redness and possibly bruising. (Mitnick, 2021).


Stress Fracture-RICE method plus reduction or avoidance of activity involving the affected foot (Petra, 2019).

Fracture- for the toes, use the buddy splint method. Fractures of the forefoot and toes typically do not require surgery. For other areas of the foot, casting and/or surgery may be required to create structural repairs (Mitnick, 2021).

10.) Gout: a form of arthritis-inflammation of the joints-of the foot, typically the big toe joint. Often caused by a buildup of uric acid crystals in the blood, which get “stuck” in the joint.

Symptoms: redness, significant swelling, serious pain, often in the first joint of the big toe. It may be almost impossible to move the joint without severe pain.

Treatment: prescription medications, increasing hydration, decreasing alcohol consumption, avoiding foods high in uric acid. (Cleveland Clinic, 2020; Vanderheiden, 2020)

11.) Hammertoe: an imbalance of power between ligaments and muscles about the toe joints

Symptoms:  the bend of the middle joint creates a claw-like appearance of the toe

Treatments: if progressed, will required surgery to correct. Manual stretching of the toes, hammertoe-specific orthopedic shoes, and strength building exercises should be tried first. (Tejada, 2018).

12.) Heel Spurs: bone growth typically found at the junction of the heel bone and the plantar fascia ligament. Thus it’s the bone’s response to stress and overstretching of the ligament. Consequently this is associated with plantar fasciitis.

Symptoms: pain and inflammation on the bottom of the foot, just prior to the heel. On may feel a lump in the same location. Mild to severe pain while walking or even standing (John Hopkins Medicine, 2021; Vanderheiden, 2020)

Treatments: Ibuprofen (anti-inflammatory med), orthotic inserts, ice or cold packs, rest and time. If  it’s severe, corticosteroids or even surgery may be required (John Hopkins Medicine, 2021). Pain is usually worst in the morning. Stretching of lower leg muscles, the Achilles tendon, and the plantar fascia ligament through physical therapy is often required (Tejada, 2018).

13.) Ingrown Toenail: most common with the big toe, the edge of the nail grows into or presses against the skin bordering the nail.

Symptoms: red, and/or swollen skin next to toenail, with pain.

Treatment: for mild pain with no discharge: soak in warm water. For worsening pain, or other symptoms, with discharge, antibiotics are likely necessary. If severe, surgery may be required. (Moyer, 2021)

14.) Morton’s Neuroma: rubbing together of long bones in the foot pressures the nerves, resulting in a buildup of benign tissue along said nerves.

Symptoms: burning, numbness and tingling develops in the toes. Typically pain and swelling develops in the long bones prior to 3trd and 4th toes. Most often such occurs after long bouts of walking or standing.

Treatments: resting the foot, less restrictive footwear, possibly cortisone injections or even surgery if persistent. (John Hopkins Medicine, 2021; Tejada, 2018).

15.) Osteoarthritis: this can be in the “traditional” form of wear and tear in cartilage, in this case of the foot. Inflammation ensues. Other foot conditions may be worsened by arthritis progression in the feet. Bones can wear down or develop spurs as a result.

(Vanderheiden, 2020)

Symptoms: stiffness, pain, and swelling about the joint. Decreased ability to walk.

Treatments: weight loss, customized shoes or orthotics, pain relievers and anti-inflammatories, steroidal injections, and in serious cases, surgery (Cleveland Clinic, 2019).

16.) Plantar Fasciitis: I know this one well! This is overuse-caused strain and inflammation of the plantar fasciitis ligament. Such runs from the fore of the hell, toward the forefoot along the arch.

Symptoms: significant pain, inflammation, and difficulty walking, especially in the morning or after resting. Common in women, people who are overweight, people with EITHER high or flat arches of the foot.

Treatments: rest, ice or cold packs, stretching of the plantar fascii, Achilles tendon, and muscles of the lower leg via physical therapy (Hopkins Medicine, 2021)

17.) Plantar Wart: warts on the soles of the feet caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV) spread through contaminated wet environments, like public pools or gym showers.

Symptoms: can be singular or multiple warts on the bottom of the foot. Skin moves “around” the wart. Black dot in the center. Pushing directly does not hurt, but pressure from the sides does.

Treatment: burning or freezing of the wart, prescription topical treatments, laser therapy, dry needling, wart-specific insoles. Some OTC topical treatments may also work. (Well Heeled PodiatryB, 2018).

18.) Sprain: injury to the ligaments of the ankle and feet (or any other joint) resulting from movement beyond the normal limitations of the joint.

Symptoms: bruising that comes to the surface, pain and swelling. Symptoms can be severe.

Treatments: rest, ice, compression, elevation (RICE) method. It is recommended to wrap ankle or joint in supportive tape. OTC medications such as ibuprofen for inflammation, which helps reduce pain. (John Hopkins Medicine, 2021).

19.) Toenail Fungus: results from cracking or weakness in the nail allowing fungi to take hold, which thrive in the warm, moist environment within most socks and shoes.

Symptoms: yellow discoloration and thickening of the nails, which become brittle. Sometimes presents with other coloration mixed in.

Treatment: often treated with prescription oral or topical medications. Some over-the-counter meds can help, depending on severity, surgical removal of nail may be recommended (John Hopkins Medicine, 2021).

To learn more about foot care, please take a look at:



Cleveland Clinic. (2020). Gout. Health Library. Diseases & Conditions. Clevelandclinic.org.  https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/4755-gout

Cleveland Clinic. (2019). Foot and ankle Arthritis. Health Library. Diseases & Conditions. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/13900-foot-and-ankle-arthritis                      

John Hopkins Medicine. (2021). Foot pain and Problems. Health. Conditions and Diseases. Hopkinsmedicine.com. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/foot-pain-and-problems

Mayo Clinic StaffA.(2021). Patient Care & Health Information. Diseases & Conditions. Athlete’s Foot. Diagnosis & Treatment. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/athletes-foot/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20353847

Mayo Clinic StaffB. (2021). Bursitis. Patient Care & Health Information. Diseases & Conditons.   https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/bursitis/symptoms-causes/syc-20353242

Mitnick, M. (2021). Foot Fracture. Foot Pain Explained: Answers to Your Foot and Ankle Questions. https://www.foot-pain-explained.com/foot-fracture.html

Moyer, C. (March 11th, 2021). Causes of foot pain and treatment options: everything you need to know about foot Pain. Health A-Z. Foot Health. Verywellhealth.com. https://www.verywellhealth.com/painful-foot-conditions-1337744

Petra, Z. (September 12, 2019). Symptoms of a foot stress Fracture. Sports Injuries. Ankle and Foot Injuries. https://www.sports-health.com/sports-injuries/ankle-and-foot-injuries/symptoms-foot-stress-fracture

Silverman, L. (January 7th, 2017). The causes, symptoms, and treatment options for foot Ulcers. Minnesota Ankle & Foot Blog. https://www.anklefootmd.com/the-causes-symptoms-and-treatment-options-for-foot-ulcers/

Tejada, A. (October 22nd, 2018). Common foot problems in your 50s and Beyond. Home. The Orthofeet Blog. Orthofeet.com. https://www.orthofeet.com/blogs/news/common-foot-problems-in-your-50s-and-beyond

University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Orthopaedic Care. (2021). Foot Ulcers. Conditions and Treatments. The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences. Pittsburgh, PA. https://www.upmc.com/services/orthopaedics/conditions-treatments/foot-ulcer

Vanderheiden, T. (February 10th, 2020). Common foot and ankle Problems.  Foot Health. Heel Pain. Verywellhealth.com. https://www.footankleinstitute.com/blog/19-foot-problems-in-aging-feet/

Well Heeled PodiatryA. (2018). Fat pad atrophy/syndrome: the loss of the fat pad under your feet. Foot Conditions. Heel Pain. https://www.wellheeledpodiatry.com.au/fat-pad-atrophy-syndrome

Well Heeled PodiatryB. (2018). Plantar Warts. Foot Conditions. Plantar Warts. https://www.wellheeledpodiatry.com.au/plantar-warts                  

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