When to See a Doctor for Foot Pain

Foot Pain

You likely don’t spend a lot of time thinking about your feet unless they’re giving you issues. However, if you think about it, you need your feet to function properly daily. Your feet not only get you where you need to go, but they also perform other tasks such as assisting you when you’re sitting or lying down as well as operating the accelerator and brake when you’re driving a vehicle. When you suddenly experience foot pain, you want to know the reason why and how it can be fixed.

What Types of Foot Pain Can You Experience?

The foot is a complex part of your body, consisting of 26 bones connected by a variety of ligaments, tendons, joints, and muscles. Since the foot consists of numerous facets, this appendage is susceptible to many stresses. Foot issues can cause pain and inflammation, resulting in limited mobility and movement.

Certain types of foot pain are caused by poorly fitting shoes. Wearing properly fitting shoes can provide solid support and prevent irritation to the foot’s joints and skin. Otherwise, foot pain can occur due to certain types of sudden or perpetual movement that can cause stress to the foot.

What Are Some Causes of Foot Pain?


Achilles Tendonitis

You may have Achilles tendonitis if you experience pain in the back of your leg or above your heel. This pain typically occurs due to repetitive use since your body uses the Achilles to help you jump, run, and climb stairs. This band of tissue, which connects your heel bone to your calf muscles, can also become tighter as you age.

Achilles Tendon Tear or Rupture

If the pain in the back of your leg is more severe than just Achilles tendonitis, it may be due to a tear or rupture of the Achilles. You might have difficulty standing or heard a popping noise when you first experienced the pain. A tear or rupture is usually the result of a sudden movement while jumping, running, or climbing stairs.


Usually found at the base of the big or little toe, bunions are a protrusion of bone around a particular joint. Women tend to get bunions more often than men because they wear tight, pointed shoes. Bunions can also result from arthritis, which can affect the joints of the big toe.


Located on the bottom of your foot as well as the sides or tops of your toes, corns are bumps of dry skin. They have a hard center and are surrounded by swollen skin. When pressed, they can be painful. They’re often confused with calluses, which tend to develop on pressure spots and look similar but aren’t usually painful.


You can experience several different types of foot fractures, but many don’t require surgery or even a cast. The location of the fracture determines the course of action. Ankle joint fractures may be serious and a cause for immediate medical attention, whereas metatarsal bone fractures, which are located in the middle of the foot, don’t require a cast. Sesamoid bone fractures, which involve the two round bones at the end of the metatarsal bone on the big toe, may require surgery to remove the bone. Toe fractures usually heal without a cast.


This condition occurs when a toe buckles and causes the middle joint to extend outward. Shoes that are too tight can put too much pressure on a hammertoe and aggravate the condition. Corns may also develop as a result of this condition.

Heel Spurs

Found on the underside of the heel bone, a heel spur is a bone growth in response to the stress experienced in the foot. It usually affects the plantar fascia, which is a long band of connective tissue that holds the arch together. It also acts as a shock absorber during different types of physical activity. When this part of the foot becomes overworked, inflammation of the tissue can cause it to pull away from the bone.

Plantar Fasciitis

Lingering pain in the heel that begins the minute you wake up can be caused by plantar fasciitis. Those first few steps you take once you roll out of bed can be excruciatingly painful if you experience this condition. This discomfort comes from inflammation of the tissue located on the bottom of your foot. This tissue, which is called the fascia, connects the toes to the heel bone and can occasionally tear if it experiences too much tension. Too much running or jumping can cause this pain to occur.

What Treatments Are Available for Foot Pain?

You’re the best person to know what kind of activity you did before you began to experience foot pain. If your foot pain is due to overuse or an injury, the best course of action is to rest your feet and apply cold therapy. This involves putting ice on your foot for 15 to 20 minutes several times each day. You can also take over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications to help ease the discomfort.

However, if you’re unsure of the cause of your pain or if it involves both feet, it’s important to seek medical attention immediately. Other reasons you should see your doctor include any of the following:

  • Have pain or swelling in your foot.
  • Have signs of infection, such as tenderness or redness.
  • Cannot put weight on your foot or have difficulty walking.
  • Have diabetes and the wound isn’t healing.
  • Have an open wound that oozes.

Even mild foot pain can become debilitating after some time and can affect your daily life. Sometimes seeking the advice of a medical professional is the best first step you can take. If you’re in the North Texas area and are experiencing foot pain, reach out to Orthopedic Specialists of North Texas. Each of our specialists is highly trained in the field of orthopedics and has extensive training in the treatment of specific body parts, including the feet and ankles.


Best Work Boots for Plantar Fasciitis for Men by Esther Max is licensed with CC BY 2.0