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Foot pain is a common problem with a wide range of possible causes. Common musculoskeletal causes of foot pain include the following:

  • Sprains and strainsSprains affects ligaments and strains affect muscles. They are associated with trauma, or more activity than you are used to. The tissues in your foot may have been temporarily stretched or twisted and should will heal within weeks. 
  • Gout: A type of arthritis caused by a build-up of uric acid in the body and formation of crystals in the joint of your big toe. This causes severe pain and inflammation even at rest.
  • Bunion: A bony swelling at the base of the big toe that can be painful and difficult to walk on. Affects women particularly who wear pointed shoes. 
  • Plantar fasciitis: Irritation of the tough band of tissue (fascia) that runs under the sole of the foot. Symptoms include heel pain first thing in the morning and are associated with walking or running.

Less commonly foot pain is caused by the following

  • Morton's neuroma:  An irritation of the nerve between the toe bones due to compression and causes sharp, severe pain. Although the exact cause is unknown, a number of problems such as wearing high-heeled shoes or having flat feet can aggravate this condition.
  • Metatarsalgia: is pain in the ball of your toes due to a number of possible causes such as wearing tight-fitting shoes, high impact sports activities or being overweight. This often causes burning or aching pain and can affect one or more toes.
  • Arthritis: Osteoarthritis is one of the common causes of foot pain in older people .This also causes swelling of the tissues in and around the joints, including the big toe and heel joints. Less commonly foot pain is caused by rheumatoid arthritis, which presents with inflammation of the joints due to a problem with our immune system.
  • TendonitisAchilles tendonitis can also cause pain and stiffness in the back of the heel as well as around the ankle.

When do I see my GP?

  • If your whole foot is painful, heavy and swollen, it may be a sign of oedema. 
  • If you have severe trauma to your foot and suspected bony injuries
  • Foot pain can sometimes be caused by an object that has become embedded in the foot if you have stepped on something sharp with bare feet.
  • If your pain is following a lot of high-impact sports (long-distance running or basketball) and if you suffer with pain and swelling, you may have a stress fracture.

Ankle pain is commonly due to an ankle sprain but can also be caused by ankle instability related to sprains, arthritis, gout or tendonitis. Rarely it also associated with a fracture, nerve compression, infection and altered structural alignment of the leg or foot (poor biomechanics).

Ankle pain may be associated with swelling, stiffness, redness, and warmth in the involved area. The pain can be an intense dull ache that increases upon weight bearing and ankle motion. Initial treatment of PRICE (protection, rest, ice, compression and elevation) can be very effective. Please read further to understand more about ankle pain and how to manage them.

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