Rate Your Foot Pain: A Guide to Common Podiatry Ailments

Rate your foot painFeet are commonly considered a taboo subject. Most people would rather not speak about their feet, or the problems they may have inside their shoes. This phobia has lead to limited information on the topic, until now. From itchy and irritated soles to bunions and ankle problems, here is a glossary of common podiatry ailments. Our walking research has found that the best treadmills for walking are the Proform reviews and the Sole reviews.  You can even try a Bowflex TreadClimber as this would be the least pounding on your feet.  If you pick one of the treadmills from these three brands, chances are that these will keep your feet happy!

Achilles Tendonitis – Describing pain, inflammation, impaired performance and degeneration of the tendon, Achilles Tendonitis is a common injury among athletes. Activities such as jumping, changing from soft to hard surfaces and immediate intensity boots can be causes. Pain generally occurs within the calf and heel during running, pointing of the toes or taking the first few steps in the morning. Minimizing the pain can be as easy as resting, icing and taking an over the counter pain reliever. Remember to stretch before exercising and warm up properly.

Arch Pain – Arches in feet can vary, though arch height can be a factor in whether or not an individual will experience arch pain. Flat-footed people tend to experience fatigue and loss of strength in tendons and ankles. Those with high arches generally have pain in their lower backs with an increase risk for leg injury. Pain can decrease or be completely alleviated from sole inserts or specialty made shoes.

Bunions – A bunion starts when the big toe faces the second toe. It can develop into a small fluid filled pouch within a joint at the base of a big toe. Common causes include hereditary influence, small or high heeled pumps and gender, as women are more likely to suffer from bunions than men. Relief from bunions includes different footwear, padding, pain pills and ice. If bunions continue to grow, injections and surgery may be necessary.

Calluses – When skin is rubbed continually in a localized area, the body begins to increase the skin layers to protect the location. Calluses are the extra padding, generally on feet because of shoes or toes. Generally, there is nothing to be concerned about with calluses as they are not painful or unhealthy. The biggest frustration is physical appearance, though treatment can include padding, changing footwear and rubbing off the extra skin with a pumice stone. If the feet have calluses and corns or if the situation begins to get serious, surgery may be considered.

Gout – A serious form of arthritis, gout affects more than 2 million Americans. Sharp pain, sudden tenderness and increasing inflammation are common symptoms. Generally infrequent and short lasting, gout can become much more serious and life altering. Men are more likely to have gout as are alcoholics, obese people, diabetics and those with a genetic line of sufferers. Diagnosed through a urine, blood or fluid sample, gout can be relieved through anti-inflammatory drugs and injections. Staying hydrated, away from alcohol, limiting meat proteins and maintaining a healthy body weight all can reduce the risk of gout.

Hammer Toes – An uncomfortable and unattractive condition, hammer toes occur when a middle toe joint bends sideways to the appearance of a claw. Known to be painful, hammer toes are best treated as quickly as possible. Causes include poor footwear, arthritis, high arches in foot and toe injuries. Genetics and consistent bunions can be warning signs. Splinting, changing footwear, padding the toe and creams can all be used. If ineffective, surgery may be necessary.

Heel Spurs – Plantar fascia is the tissue forming the natural arch of a foot which can become swollen. Unfortunately this usually leads to heel spurs, a bone that has hooked at the heel. X-rays diagnose the problem and the first plan to relieve the pain is to sit and rest as much as possible, while icing the affected area. Take over the counter anti-inflammatory, stretch before working out and try shoe pads. Extracorporeal shock wave therapy (ESWT), injections and surgery are available for serious cases.

Metatarsalgia – Metatarsalgia occurs at the ball of the foot and features a sharp or burning ache that increases in severity when standing or running. Common complaints are numbness, tingling and shooting pains. As this is not a serious issue, resting, wearing more comfortable shoes, and propping and soaking feet should alleviate the problem in time.

Morton’s neuroma – Similar to Metatarsalgia, Morton’s neuroma is also located at the ball of the foot. The pain severity is the same, though in this case the body increases skin tissue around the nerve. Generally in response to injury or bad footwear, Morton’s neuroma should clear up naturally with basic treatment, though severe cases can lead to injection therapy or surgery.

Plantar Fascitis – The skin and tissue between the heel and toes is called the plantar fascia. When the area is injured or strained, the foot begins to be inflamed and weak. Causes include high arches, flat feet, obesity, poor footwear and cold muscles. This can make common activities such as standing, running and walking very difficult. Common treatments include new shoes, icing feet and severe cases can lead to steroids or splints.

Pronation – When walking, a neutral foot absorbs the weight of the body and the shock from the ground and distributes it evenly throughout the whole foot. In pronation, the foot rolls forward so far that it strains the arch of the foot. Children with pronation can learn exercises or sleep with braces that can strengthen their muscles and teach them to walk correctly. Adults can elect to use specially made shoes and padded soles to alleviate some of the effects.

Sesamoiditis – Sesamoids are bones that do not attach to other bones; rather they connect to tendons or are embedded within muscle tissue. When sesamoids break or the tissue or tendon around the bone becomes inflamed, tendinitis in the form of sesamoiditis can appear. Pain usually centers under the big toe, making bending or straightening difficult. A physical examination and X-rays may diagnose the problem and treatment usually includes resting, anti-inflammatory medication, and use of a specialized shoe or a pad.

Tailor’s Bunions – Also known as Bunionettes, Tailor’s Bunions are less common than general bunions but are caused by the same factors. Family genetics, rubbing, and natural development are all factors. Symptoms include inflammation, pain, and redness, especially with tight fitting footwear. Generally very obvious, diagnosis can happen visually without X-rays. Changes in shoes, adding padding, and taking anti-inflammatory medication should relieve the problem, though injections or surgery may be considered.

Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome (TTS) – Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome is when the nerve between the ankle and the foot is compressed. Causes include flat feet, swollen tendons, sprained ankles and diabetes. Numbness and shooting pain have been reported as complications. To diagnose, the doctor will test the nerve and possibly take images within the area to further examine the problem. Resting, icing, anti-inflammatory medicine, physical therapy and new footwear should help, though surgery is the best available option.

Tinea (Athlete’s Foot) – Athlete’s foot is generally found around foot soles, in between toes and toenails. If touching the affected area, it is important to immediately rewash hands, as it can spread to the hands and groin as well. Common symptoms include itching, redness, burning and flaking or cracking skin at the bottom of feet. Antifungal creams should clear up the affected problem and keeping skin clean and dry should prevent tinea from coming back.


  • Sandra PattersonMay 28, 2019 at 4:29 pmfrom
    Thank you for explaining that things like jumping can cause Achilles tendonitis. My brother does track and field for his school's team and has been complaining of a lot of pain in his foot. I will be sure to find a good podiatrist that can accurately diagnose him and help him out.
    • Amanda BJune 3, 2019 at 2:49 pm
      Hi Sandra, glad we are able to help. Best of luck with treating your brother's foot!
  • Dean PhillipsMay 31, 2019 at 9:55 am
    I had no idea that calluses form when the skin is rubbed continually. My brother plays football a lot, and he has been complaining about ankle pain. It might be a good idea for him to see a podiatrist to find out what's going on.
  • Dylan PetersonAugust 26, 2019 at 3:19 pm
    I appreciate how you said that gout can result in sharp pain and tenderness in your feet. My brother has been telling me about how his feet occasionally get some sudden pain, and I think that it could be gout. I'll share this information with him so that he can look further into his options for seeing a podiatrist about it in the future.

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