Foot pain – all or some parts of it, such as the back, the sole under the fingers. The arch of the foot, or the ankle – is a symptom, and as such. Various causes can cause it. In fact, nostalgia is the medical term to define a generic pain on top of the foot. Can have neurological causes (as happens in the diabetic foot), musculoskeletal, dermatological, or vascular causes. You may feel pain in one foot, perhaps following an accident traumatic, or both. And the pain itself can have different characteristics: being sudden and stabbing, accompanied or not by swelling, affecting only one foot, or both. Appearing at rest or after a walk or a run.
To find out what causes foot pain and how to make it go away. First, it is important to contact an orthopedic specialist to undergo a visit and/or the necessary tests to diagnose. Therefore be able to find the right treatment for solving the problem.
Before delving into the subject and understanding what kind of foot pain has hit us and how to treat it, let’s do a nice review of anatomy. What is afoot made of?
The pain on top of the foot
In the image that portrays the foot definition structure, the foot is the lower limb’s extreme element. Its articulation is quite complex and includes the five fingers. Similar to those of the hand but without the grasping ability. The metatarsus (the front of the foot), the heel (the rear portion of the foot). And the ankle connects the foot to the leg. A foot, similar to the hand, comprises 26 bones divided between bones of the tarsus (the seven bones that support the ankle and heel). The metatarsus (the five bones of the anterior part of the foot), and the phalanges (the 14 ossicles of the foot’s fingers).
An anatomical curiosity: some people may then have one or two extra bones, called accessory bones, and even an extra finger. This is the case of Marilyn Monroe. The great diva had six toes instead of five in her left foot!
The foot’s many bones are held together and coordinated by a complex system of cartilages, tendons, and muscles. That completes the foot joints and allow them to move.
We come to the sole, on which the limb rests and on which we walk. It has a characteristic triangular shape, with the heel’s tip and the base connecting the metatarsal bones. Blood vessels branch out to the fingers, leg, and the rest of the body. Now that we understand our foot’s anatomy let’s see the most frequent causes of pain.
The most common causes of pain on top of the foot
Image showing a foot during a visit to the doctor suffering. From pain on top of the foot is not uncommon. Indeed, it happens quite frequently to complain of some discomfort in our delicate extremities, not infrequently due to uncomfortable shoes or, for women, too high heels worn for many hours. A sprain, an awkward position, a blister that appears after walking for too long without resting, or an unpleasant callus. Common foot deformities such as the classic “onion” are all possible causes of foot pain.
A sudden or progressive pain that affects the whole foot, or only the sole, or only a point of the same, however, especially if strong enough to become disabling or recurs over time, must undoubtedly be investigated. Therefore, the possible and frequent causes of foot pain include:
- Achilles tendonitis ( Achilles tendon );
- Rupture of tendons ;
- Fracture of one or more bones of the foot or toe joint;
- Bursitis (joint inflammation);
- Calluses and corns;
- Diabetic neuropathy and diabetic foot ;
- “Flat” foot ;
- Gout (the disease caused by an excess of uric acids in the blood, which causes joint inflammation with severe pain, swelling, and redness of the foot);
- Haglund’s disease (disease-causing severe heel pain due to abnormal but benign growth of bone in this part of the foot);
- Foot or “hammer” toe ;
- Hallux valgus (popularly called “onion,” which causes widespread foot pain with difficulty walking, not only concentrated on bone deformation);
- Ingrown toenail (onychocryptosis);
- Metatarsalgia (pain in the sole of the forefoot);
- Morton’s neuroma (inflammation of one of the nerves in the toes)
- Foot osteoarthritis ;
- Osteomyelitis (foot bone infection);
- Paget’s disease (metabolic bone disease);
- Peripheral neuropathy (a disease affecting the peripheral nervous system);
- Plantar fasciitis (inflammation of the fibers of the sole)
- Plantar blisters and warts
When pain affects the sole
The pain in the ball of the foot – of one or both – is as widespread as nonspecific. It can, in fact, be a consequence of very different conditions. It can be superficial and,d therefore, be felt above all in the skin or come from inside the foot. So it can be burning or dull, manifest at rest or only when we walk. It can depend on trauma, or a defect in walking, even a congenital anatomical anomaly. Among the most common causes, we have identified four: metatarsalgia, plantar fasciitis, Morton’s neuritis, the formation of corns and calluses. All of these pathological conditions cause pain in different areas of the sole. Let’s see them.
Infographic of a hallux valgus manifests itself with a pain in the foot located in the metatarsals region. The bones that form the joint from the center of the plant reach the fingers and act as “shock absorbers” when we walk.
This syndrome affects women more frequently and often has a “mechanical” cause. That is, it is due to repeated microtraumas in turn resulting from the poor distribution of body weight. When shoes with very high heels are often worn, in fact, one tends to unbalance the posture by concentrating the load on the anterior area of the plant, exactly the region of the metatarsals. Other possible causes of this foot pain are congenital anomaliesanatomy of the joint or the foot in general, support defects, and systemic joint diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis.
Even too intense training, especially if practiced without suitable footwear, can contribute to the onset of pain on top of the foot. Calluses can form in the area affected by metatarsalgia, which is a source of pain when walking.
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More common than people think, plantar fasciitis is inflammation of the fibers of the sole where they “hook” to the heel bone. The plantar fascia is a sturdy strip of connective tissue that crosses the sole and absorbs the vibration that occurs when we walk.
In this case, the pain manifests itself as soon as you wake up when you put your foot on the ground getting out of bed in the morning and then intensify during the day every time you walk. However, a sensation of pain is sometimes still felt even at rest. Among the most common causes of this inflammation are anatomical anomalies of the foot. Including a too-short Achilles tendon, the “flat” or “hollow” foot, or finally. The internal formation of a heel spur or “spine.” This abnormal growth of bone tissue in the heel area presses against the plantar fascia fibers, irritating it.
It is the inflammation of one of the nerves that cross the toes, usually in the central area, between the third and fourth toes.
Therefore, the pain is concentrated mainly in the foot’s anterior area, accentuating with movement and causing an often intense burning. Among the most common causes, the continued use of unsuitable, uncomfortable shoes with high heels and/or too narrow toes.
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Corns and calluses
This thickening of the skin on the sole can be so painful that every step is torture. They form in the areas where pressure is concentrated. Where both the friction with the shoe and the “load” effort increase. This is why it is common for the forefoot to become the privileged seat of these hardening, which can only be superficial or extend towards the inside of the tissues, pressing against the nerves and causing intense pain. Small calluses can also form between the toes due to the toes’ rubbing with the shoes while thickenings along the heel area. On the outside of the foot, it can crack and bleed, causing intense pain.
Achilles tendon infographicsHeel pain, or heel pain, is usually caused by functional overload or repeated trauma. Such as an awkward landing on the heels, running on hard surfaces like concrete or asphalt, or shoes that don’t sufficiently cushion shocks. If the trauma is significant, there may be a fracture, usually of the heel bone.
Then there is Achilles tendonitis or Achilles, an inflammation of the sturdy tendon positioned behind the ankle, which connects to the heel, which causes severe pain, especially when walking or going downstairs. This type of injury affects the right or left foot, depending on which one is mostly used as an attack or discharge foot. Very affected by Achilles tendonitis are, in fact, the sportsmen.
On the other hand, the heel spur is an abnormal bone growth. Which, like a thorn, forms under the heel, causing pain in the heel. On the outside of the foot, when walking or standing for a long time. It is more common in those who have the problem of flat feet.
Pain near the ankle or on the outside of the foot
In the ankle area or on the outside of the foot, sudden pain is mainly caused by traumatic events. From a blow, a fall, a “sprain.” Particularly after a sprain, the tendons can become inflamed. Another cause could be the fifth metatarsal fracture, common among athletes or those. Who overload the foot even with repeated shocks.
A possible cause of foot and ankle pain is an injury to the talus, especially in young people who play sports. The latter is a “short” bone of intersection between the tarsus (the foot) and the ankle’s upper bone. Allowing the transmission of movement between these two joint parts. This small bone is subject to fractures, and a specific degenerative pathology called osteochondritis of the talus, which occurs when trauma occurs. Such as invoices, the cells of the bone “die” and detach from the healthy portion. If it occurs at a young age, or in the under twenty, it usually passes spontaneously. In adults, however, it is necessary to intervene surgically.
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Pain on top of foot: when the cause is diabetes
Image depicting a blood sugar check of a diabetic case of its own is foot pain caused by diabetes. Unfortunately, this is a fairly common consequence – called diabetic foot, representing a neurological and circulatory complication caused by this metabolic disease. In fact, glycemic decompensation is at the origin of diabetes. And that is the case of the most serious form – type 1 or juvenile diabetes mellitus, which often occurs already in childhood. It ends up damaging the peripheral nervous system and blood vessels. Making the circulation and nerve signals inadequate precisely in the body’s areas farthest from the heart and brain, such as the feet. What happens in these cases?
Curious, but the main symptom of diabetic foot is not foot pain, but its absence! One does not notice small wounds and lesions that can easily occur under the sole, for example, between the toes, normally causing ache. Therefore, the diabetic foot can degenerate to necrosis, with tissue “death,” with consequent gangrene.
For this reason, prevention is the best cure for diabetes and foot health. Chronic neuropathy diabetic, a condition in which we witness a gradual loss of sensitivity of the peripheral areas, deprives the sufferer of the main symptom of wounds and abrasions or pain in the foot. Therefore untreated lesions can become infected and turn into ulcerative sores.
In these cases, it is necessary to carefully inspect your extremities every day in every part: under and between the toes, along the plantar arch, on the sides, and the heel wherever the foot can become the site of injury.
Furthermore, it is necessary to take particular care of hygiene, regularly carry out a good pedicure, and moisturize the foot’s delicate skin.
Pain on top of the foot in the child
Image depicting a doctor’s hands holding a little boy’s foot Children are often wild, and … inattentive! All it takes is a slight trauma, a small accident, an injury. And here, sudden pain in the foot arises and causes tears and tantrums. What may have happened? A fall from the bike, a race over an obstacle, a sprain. There are many causes of pain in the child’s foot, especially after the age of three. When he begins to walk and run quickly, safer on his legs, and … he ends to tumble badly for the great desire to explore the world.
One should not worry too much about foot pain in children after a bump, unless, of course. It is accompanied by other symptoms such as severe swelling, burning, redness, or bruising., or when. The child can no longer move it or appears deformed, perhaps after sports training. In fact, it could be a rupture of the limb, an injury to the tendons, ligaments, or ankle joint. It is better to immediately take the child to the emergency room for a visit and check-ups in these cases.
A separate discussion deserves the so-called “growing pains,” improperly so-called given that. They have nothing to do with the child’s development but have unknown causes, presumably psychosomatic in nature.