8 Causes of Your Foot Pain

Foot pain is hard to ignore. It can impact your mobility, your sleep, and your ability to perform everyday tasks. Pain can develop in your toes, heels, arches, and soles.

Foot pain can result from an accident or injury, a medical condition such as diabetes, improper footwear, or overuse or wear and tear. Fortunately, you have many options to relieve foot pain and get you moving again.

Fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeon Bryan King, MD, PhD, of Tuscaloosa Orthopedic & Joint Institute, shares information on eight common causes of foot pain.

Plantar fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis develops when the plantar fascia, which is the thick band of tissue that runs between the heel bone and toes, becomes inflamed. This inflammation can result in sharp pain in your heel when you take a step. 

It's one of the most common causes of heel pain, especially among runners. It’s also most noticeable when you wake up in the morning, or after long periods of rest.


The foot contains more than 100 tendons, and tendonitis refers to inflammation or irritation of any of them. 

Achilles tendonitis is a common cause of foot and ankle pain. Other types of foot tendonitis include peroneal tendonitis and posterior or anterior tibial tendonitis. The most common cause of foot tendonitis is overuse. 

Heel spurs

A heel spur is a bony growth between the front of your heel bone and your arch. Risk factors for heel spurs include having plantar fasciitis, being overweight, and running and frequently jumping during sports. 

In many cases, heel spurs don't cause pain or any issues, but it can be painful and debilitating for others. 


There are 26 bones in the foot, and almost any of them can get broken or fractured. In many cases, the foot fracture heals on its own with rest, but some fractures require casting and surgery.


A hammertoe is a foot deformity. It refers to a bend in the toe's middle joint, usually the second, third, and fourth toes. Hammertoes can be caused by injury, improper shoe wear, and a misaligned foot structure. 


A bunion is painful and often unsightly. It's a bony growth on the base of your big toe. It forms a bump on the side of your big toe and causes your big toe to lean inward toward the other toes. 

Wearing narrow shoes can contribute to the development of a bunion. Once you have a bunion, narrow shoes can exacerbate the condition. 

Athlete’s foot

Athlete's foot is a common foot infection caused by a fungus. It affects the skin between the toes. Symptoms include itchy, scaly, and cracked skin between your toes. People often catch it in public showers and swimming pools. 


Gout is a common type of arthritis, and the symptoms it creates can come and go. When a gout attack occurs, you experience pain, swelling, redness, and tenderness in certain joints, often the joint in the big toe. 

Treatment options depend on your condition and symptoms. Most foot pain can be treated with rest, ice, and over-the-counter medications. In some cases, such as fractures, bone spurs, and plantar fasciitis, surgery may be necessary.

Do your feet hurt? Call Tuscaloosa Orthopedic & Joint Institute in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, to make an appointment with Dr. King for an expert diagnosis and treatment plan. 

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