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Foot Pain Causes and Treatment

Understanding your foot pain and the kinds of treatment available will help you receive better care.

There are many conditions that can cause pain in the feet, and the symptoms can have a major impact on everyday life. Effective treatment requires the right diagnosis and advice from an experienced healthcare provider. If you are experiencing foot pain, it’s a good idea to visit a clinic as soon as possible. This will help you get diagnosed and start a treatment plan that will best support your recovery.

What to expect at your exam

When you visit a medical provider at one of WellNow’s 150+ medical clinics for foot pain, we will ask you about your symptoms and medical history and perform a comprehensive exam of your feet and legs. X-Rays may also be taken to help diagnose the cause of your foot pain.

For most causes of foot pain, you will be advised to rest by avoiding activities that hurt your foot. You can also help your recovery by using ice or pain relievers to reduce swelling, by stretching the muscles of your foot and leg, and wearing comfortable shoes with proper arch support and a cushioned sole.

Additional treatment may be advised depending on the pain’s cause, severity, and duration. We will outline some of our most commonly encountered foot conditions and foot injuries and how these are typically treated at our clinics.

Plantar Fasciitis

Heel and arch pain are often caused by an inflammatory condition called plantar fasciitis. With this condition, the band of tissue that connects the heel bone to the toes becomes irritated or inflamed. The pain is typically worse first thing in the morning.

If regular, at-home care for foot pain does not help, your medical provider may recommend a foot splint or an injection of medicine, such as a steroid, to help your foot heal.

Stress Fractures

Stress fractures are small, thin cracks in a bone that develop over time due to repetitive force. This is usually due to overuse, but stress fractures can also form under regular use in bones that are weakened by osteoporosis and other conditions.

The most common place for stress fractures to develop is in the bones that bear most of your weight. Of these bones, stress fractures happen most frequently in the second and third metatarsals of the foot. The heel and the navicular bone, which is located in the top of the foot, are also common sites for stress fractures.

It’s important to get a stress fracture treated right away. Delaying treatment can cause the fracture to turn into a full break, arthritis to develop, or the bone to heal improperly, which can result in long-term pain and disability.

Your treatment should include one to six weeks of resting the foot. You may be advised to elevate the foot when lying down and take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) to reduce the swelling.

You may also be provided with a cast, fracture boot, or orthopedic footwear to protect against stress on your foot. In addition, you may be advised to use crutches to keep weight off your foot for a period of time. Occasionally, internal fixation surgery is necessary, where pins, screws, and/or plates are used to hold the bones together.

Fallen arches

Also referred to as flat feet, fallen arches occur when the arches of the feet flatten out. This is just one of the many conditions that can cause pain in this area. For issues involving the arches of the foot, orthotics may be recommended to help support the foot arch while the injury or condition heals. Rest, ice, and painkillers can also aid recovery. Sometimes, physical therapy or surgery is recommended to correct the cause of the pain.

Fractures and broken bones

Fractures or breaks in the bones of your foot are usually the result of a serious impact, such as a car accident or a fall. Along with pain, you will likely also experience bruising, swelling, and difficulty with walking. The pain can be anywhere in the foot, depending on the location of the fractured or broken bone. One commonly broken bone in the foot is the fifth metatarsal, which is located along the outer edge of your foot.

A cast may be needed along with the regular care required for foot injuries. Your medical provider may advise using crutches and avoiding walking on the injured foot. In some cases, surgery may be necessary.

Where to get an exam for foot pain

Foot pain should not be ignored. You will gain the best chances of recovery when you are seen by a medical provider quickly upon developing pain or other symptoms. Visit a WellNow clinic near you for fast, reliable access to trusted healthcare providers. We’re open for extended hours every day of the week, so you can start feeling better as soon as possible.