Condition. Foot pain

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Your foot is a complex network of bones, ligaments, muscles, and tendons strong enough to support the weight of your body. However, your foot is susceptible to injury and pain.

Foot pain causes

Foot pain or the feeling of discomfort in the foot can be caused by injury to or a disorder of any of the multiple structures involved with the foot. Your feet are very complex, being made up of:

  • 26 bones
  • 33 joints
  • 19 muscles
  • 107 ligaments

Causes for foot pain can originate in the foot itself, or foot pain can be caused by disorders that affect the body systems (systemic diseases and conditions) like peripheral neuropathy due to diabetes or atherosclerosis. Reasons for pain in the foot that originate in the structures of the foot include:

  • Bone fractures
  • Sprained ligaments
  • Strained muscles or tendons
  • Heel spurs
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Infections
  • Arthritis

Osteoarthritis can develop in any of the joints of the foot, and because the ankle and the foot contain so many joints and are so close together, pain in one often affects the other. Osteoarthritis of the ankle and foot is often associated with trauma, such as dislocations, sprains, or fractures. Micro-trauma and disorders like flat feet or other problems can also lead to arthritic changes in the joints.


Plantar fasciitis causes pain in the foot’s arch that is often described as “burning.” The arch of the foot helps with transferring weight from the front of the foot, or the bottom of the toes, to the heel. In severe plantar fasciitis, moving the foot even slightly can cause severe pain. Plantar fasciitis develops when the mid-foot tissues, which connect the heel bone to the toes, swell.


Pain in the arch of the foot can also be caused by tarsal tunnel syndrome. In this condition, the nerves in the ankle area become compressed or pinched.

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