Foot pain is a common occurrence among millions of Americans. It is usually innocuous— either self-limiting or can be resolved with self-care measures. In some cases, however, foot pain can affect a person’s quality of life and signal an underlying medical condition, and, therefore, require appropriate medical intervention.
Here is a quick guide to some of the possible culprits in persistent foot pain as well as the importance of seeking proper medical attention.
Plantar fasciitis is inflammation of the fibrous band of tissue that links your heel bone to your toes (plantar fascia). Plantar fasciitis develops commonly due to repetitive strain or too much pressure on the plantar fascia, causing sudden and stabbing pain in the heel or arch of your foot. The pain is particularly intense after prolonged rest or activity.
If the pain continues unabated for more than a week, you should consider consulting a foot doctor. When left untreated, plantar fasciitis can cause problems in the areas connected to your feet: your knee, hip, and back. When your plantar fascia is compromised, the structures that support these areas have to work harder to compensate, hence the knee, hip, and/or back pain.
Bursitis is inflammation or irritation of the bursae, the fluid-filled sacs responsible for cushioning and facilitating smooth gliding between the bones and soft tissues near your joints.
If you have bursitis, the affected joint in your foot can feel painful and stiff and look swollen and red. Bursitis can develop due to direct pressure on the joint; injury or trauma to the area; or a medical condition, such as infection, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, or diabetes.
Bursitis, while it usually goes away on its own, can also persist, especially if its underlying cause is not addressed. For instance, if it is caused by an infection, you will need antibiotics to completely resolve the problem.
Achilles tendinitis is an injury to the band of connective tissue linking your calf muscles to your heel bone (Achilles tendon), caused by intense or repetitive strain on the tendon.
The pain associated with Achilles tendinitis usually starts as a mild ache in the back of the leg or above the heel. The pain can worsen after prolonged activity, particularly running or stair climbing.
Achilles tendinitis usually responds well to self-care measures but may take up to three months to completely go away. If the symptoms are severe, you need to see a foot doctor prevent complications, notably a rupture.
Peripheral neuropathy occurs when there is damage to one or more nerves outside of your brain and spinal cord (peripheral nerves). Peripheral neuropathy causes persistent weakness, numbness, and pain in your hands and feet.
Peripheral neuropathy is a progressive condition. If its underlying cause (usually diabetes) is not managed, you can suffer from extensive nerve damage and be at a greater risk of developing potentially irreversible complications. Serious foot ulcers, for instance, can lead to gangrene (tissue death) and eventual amputation.
Other Causes of Persistent Foot Pain
The following conditions can also cause chronic foot pain.
- Arthritis (e.g., osteoarthritis, gout, rheumatoid arthritis)
- Bone infection
- Metatarsalgia (a condition in which the ball of your foot becomes painful and inflamed)
- Morton’s neuroma (thickening of the tissue around one of the nerves leading to your toes.
- Plantar warts
- Foot deformities (e.g., hammertoe and mallet toe)
It can be hard to determine which of these is the underlying cause of your foot pain, unless you see a foot doctor.
It is always wise to have your feet regularly checked even before the subtlest manifestations of a problem, especially if you’re living with diabetes.
Foot Pain Treatment in South Texas
At the Podiatry Group of South Texas, our highly qualified foot doctors are all committed to providing comprehensive care using state-of-the-art diagnostic imaging tools and a vast range of innovative treatment methods, both nonsurgical and surgical.
To learn more about our services or to schedule an appointment, call us at (210) 227-8700. You may also fill out this appointment request form.