Symptoms of Foot Pain: Quick Reference - Terre Haute Regional Hospital | Terre Haute, IN
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There are different types of foot pain, each with different symptoms. Below is a chart listing the symptoms and recommended footwear or orthotics for each type of foot pain.

Condition Symptoms and Signs Location of Symptoms Recommended Footwear and Orthotics or Padding
Corns and calluses These are rough, thickened skin that is yellow or reddish. The area may also be painful. Around the side, top, or between toes; bottom of feet; or areas exposed to friction. Wide (toe box) shoes; lamb's wool between toes; doughnut-shaped pads for corns
Ingrown toenails A nail curling into skin causes pain, redness, swelling, warmth, and, in severe cases, infection. Toenails Sandals, open-toed shoes
Bunions and bunionettes (tailor's bunion) The toes point inward. There is a firm bump on the outside edge of the foot at base of the toe that is painful and stiff. Big toe (bunions) or little toe (bunionettes) Soft, wide-toed shoes or sandals; bunion shields or splints; padding the bunion; shoe inserts if necessary
Morton's neuroma Cramping and burning pain located between the third and fourth toe or the second and third toe. The condition is worse while walking and relieved by the removal of the shoes. Third and fourth toes, as well as second and third toes, and bottom of foot near these toes Wide (toe box), low-heeled shoes with good arch support; shoe inserts; padding in the shoes and/or between the toes
Hammertoe Toes form a hammer or claw shape. There may be pain and cramping. The second, third, or fourth toes Wide (toe box) shoes; straps, cushions, or pads
Metatarsalgia This condition is characterized by pain, numbness, or tingling with movement. Ball of the foot Wide (toe box) shoes; Shoes with a stiff heel and good arch support; orthotic with pad that reduces metatarsal pressure; inserts
Metatarsal stress fracture Ache, tenderness, and swelling. Weight-bearing activities are difficult. Long foot bones (metatarsals) Low-heeled shoes with stiff soles; shoe inserts or braces
Sesamoiditis Pain occurs possibly with swelling and bruising. Ball of foot beneath the big toe Low-heeled shoe with soft sole and soft padding inside
Plantar fasciitis Pain occurs with first steps after getting out of bed, decreases after stretching, and returns after activity. Back of the arch right in front of the heel Shoes with thick soles and extra padding; foot insole; heel pad; possible night splints; orthotics if necessary
Haglund's deformity (pump bump) This condition is characterized by a painful, red, swollen bump. Back of the heel Shoes with a soft heel; backless shoes; arch supports
Stress fracture Sharp stabbing pain occurs with activity. May also include swelling. Weight-bearing bones of the foot Protective footwear; stiff-soled shoe; wooden-soled sandal
Tarsal tunnel syndrome This is characterized by pain, numbness, tingling, or burning sensations. Pain may be worse at night. Usually in the mid- portion of the foot and heel Orthotics to relieve pressure
Flat feet or posterior tibial tendon dysfunction (PTTD) People with this condition have no arch. They may have pain with activity. Arch Orthotics may be needed if there is pain
High arches (cavus feet) Those with high arches may have pain when standing or walking or an unstable foot. Arch Soft orthotic cushions
Achilles tendinitis Pain that worsens during physical activities. Achilles tendon (the area behind the ankle near the heel bone) Shoes with a soft heel; heel lift; walking boot

Foot pain may also be caused by other medical conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis , diabetes , or gout .

Revision Information

  • Achilles tendinitis. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Ortho Info website. Available at: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00147. Updated June 2010. Accessed February 17, 2014.

  • Adult acquired flat foot. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Ortho Info website. Available at: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00173. Updated December 2011. Accessed February 17, 2014.

  • Callus. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated January 19, 2011. Accessed February 17, 2014.

  • Cavus foot (high-arched foot). American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons Foot Health Facts website. Available at: http://www.foothealthfacts.org/footankleinfo/cavus-foot.htm. Accessed February 17, 2014.

  • Corn. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated June 10, 2010. Accessed February 17, 2014.

  • Corns. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Ortho Info website. Available at: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00153. Updated September 2012. Accessed February 17, 2014.

  • Haglund's deformity. American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons Foot Health Facts website. Available at: http://www.foothealthfacts.org/footankleinfo/haglunds-deformity.htm. Accessed February 17, 2014.

  • Hallux valgus and bunion. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated January 31, 2014. Accessed February 17, 2014.

  • Hammer toe. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated May 25, 2010. Accessed February 17, 2014.

  • Hammer toe. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Ortho Info website. Updated September 2012. Accessed February 17, 2014.

  • Ingrown toenail. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated August 17, 2012. Accessed February 17, 2014.

  • Metatarsalgia. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated January 31, 2014. Accessed February 17, 2014.

  • Morton neuroma. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated January 31, 2014. Accessed February 17, 2014.

  • Orthotics. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Ortho Info website. Available at: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00172. Updated September 2012. Accessed February 17, 2014.

  • Plantar fasciitis and bone spurs. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Ortho Info website. Available at: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00149. Updated June 2010. Accessed February 17, 2014.

  • Sesamoiditis. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Ortho Info website. Available at: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00164. Updated September 2012. Accessed February 17, 2014.

  • Stress fractures of the foot and ankle. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Ortho Info website. Available at: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00379. Updated July 2009. Accessed February 17, 2014.

  • Stress fractures. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Ortho Info website. Available at: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=a00112. Updated October 2007. Accessed February 17, 2014.

  • Tarsal tunnel syndrome. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated January 31, 2014. Accessed February 17, 2014.