In many cases, foot pain goes away by itself without needing treatment. However, if your pain continues or affects your everyday life, it may be a sign of an underlying medical condition.
The cause of your pain can often be identified by the location of the pain and other symptoms you might have.
If you have severe pain anywhere in your foot following a fall or accident, you could have a fracture. It will usually feel hot and swollen, and you might be unable to walk. You should go to your nearest minor injury unit or A&E if you suspect a broken toe, ankle or foot.
Foot joint pain
Arthritis is a common cause of joint pain and stiffness, and sometimes crepitus (a cracking or crunching sound or sensation when you move a joint). Forms of arthritis that commonly cause painful feet or ankle pain are osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and gout.
Pain in your heel could be plantar fasciitis, a condition which around one in 10 people will get at some point in their lifetime. It makes it difficult to walk, caused by the inflammation of a strong band of tissue which stretches from your heel to your toes.
If you have heel pain but you're able to lift your toes without pain, then you may have bursitis - inflammation of a bursa, which is a soft cushion within your joints.
Sudden pain and difficulty walking may be an Achilles tendon rupture due to force or injury. Alternatively, Achilles tendinopathy is pain and stiffness that appears gradually. It's a type of tendonitis (inflammation in a tendon).
Common causes of toe pain are:
Other causes of foot pain include:
You should visit your GP if:
Your GP may be able to diagnose your foot problem just by examining your foot and talking about how you’re feeling. However, occasionally they might need to use imaging tests such as an X-ray or ultrasound scan to make a diagnosis.
Your GP may refer you to a consultant specialising in feet (a podiatrist or chiropodist) who can help diagnose you and recommend treatments, such as creams or insoles.
Most foot pain can be managed at home. Depending on what type of pain you have, you could try:
If these don’t improve your symptoms, your doctor may recommend: