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Why Do My Feet Hurt? Common Reasons Behind Foot Pain

Foot pain will likely happen at some point in your life since the average person takes 3,000 to 4,000 steps a day. We’ve got a list of some of the most common reasons behind foot pain and tips for how to have healthy feet.

Your feet do a lot for you. They take you where you want to go, they keep you balanced, and they can carry your whole body weight for miles on end. When foot pain strikes, it can be a frustrating experience that can stop you in your tracks. 

Your feet include the heels, sole, ball of the foot, toes, and ankles. There are many reasons why someone might experience foot pain. Pain in your feet can be the result of a misalignment of bones, tendons, and ligaments in your feet or inflammation caused by arthritis. Foot pain can also happen if you’ve been injured or from overuse by walking, standing, or running for too long.

In some cases, you might feel pain only in one foot or on one part of your foot. If you have pain in your feet, it could be a signal that something is wrong or out of place. Foot pain can feel like pinching, aching, burning, throbbing, stinging, stabbing, tingling, or numbness.

Foot pain comes in all shapes and sizes. While some types of foot pain resolve on their own, other types might require medical treatment. Seek medical attention if your feet hurt so bad you can barely walk or if there is excessive bleeding anywhere on your feet. 

Here are some of the more common reasons for foot pain. 

If you’re wearing unsuitable shoes, you might experience pain in your feet. High heels can create pressure on your heels, balls of your feet, and toes and can affect the arch of your foot. 

Other poorly fitting shoes like dress shoes or flip flops can also cause foot pain if they don’t provide enough support for the shape and size of your foot.

Broken toes are some of the most common injuries, and they can happen if you drop something heavy on your foot or stub it on a piece of furniture or hard surface. 

Foot injuries can also cause bruising or swelling on affected areas that may be tender for several days or weeks.

Injuries like car crashes or slips and falls can break one or more bones in your foot, such as a metatarsal bone or the talus bone in your ankle.

Foot injuries can also cause bruising or swelling on affected areas that may be tender for several days or weeks.

Friction on your foot (which can happen if your foot rubs up against improper footwear) can cause layers of the skin on your feet to become thick or hard. 

The buildup of skin is meant to protect the area of your foot from friction, but over time it can develop into large mounds that become painful and unsightly. The pressure on corns and calluses may make it more challenging for you to walk or wear shoes. 

Ingrown toenails happen when a toenail starts to grow into the soft tissue around the top or corner of your toes. Ingrown toenails are painful and can cause swelling, redness, or an infection if left untreated.

Tendinitis is a medical term used to describe the inflammation or irritation of a tendon. Tendons are cord-like tissues that attach your muscles to your bones. They help stabilize your foot as you move to reduce the risk of sprain or breaks. 

Tendinitis is a medical term used to describe the inflammation or irritation of tendons, cord-like tissues that attach your muscles to your bones.

When a tendon in your foot becomes inflamed, it can cause pain and tenderness in any of the connecting muscles. Inflammation of your Achilles tendon (which connects your calf muscle to your heel bone) often occurs in runners or people who do other high-impact exercises on their feet like tennis or basketball. 

Osteoarthritis is another kind of inflammatory condition that affects the bones in your feet. This form of arthritis occurs when the protective cartilage around your joints wears down, which is sometimes a natural process of aging. Osteoarthritis can also happen as a result of overuse.

This form of arthritis occurs when the protective cartilage around your joints wears down, which is sometimes a natural process of aging.

Gout is one form of arthritis (related to excess uric acid) that affects the feet and can cause pain and swelling around a joint, particularly the big toe. People who have gout sometimes describe the pain as feeling like their toe is on fire.

People who have foot pain mostly in their heel may have inflammation on the fascia, called plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis can cause a stabbing pain in the bottom of your foot near or on the heel as soon as you step on your foot, especially first thing in the morning.

A person with flat feet has little to no arch on the inside of their foot, which means that the whole sole touches the floor when they’re standing. 

Flat feet can cause pain in the area where the foot would normally arch or the heel. 

Other reasons you might have foot pain include: 

  • Complications related to diabetes, such as diabetic neuropathy, which occurs when the nerves in your feet become injured or damaged by high blood sugar
  • Psoriatic arthritis, which is a flare-up of arthritis caused by psoriasis, a skin condition that can also cause swelling, stiffness, and pain in your joints
  • Nerve damage to any of the nerves in your limbs, which can cause numbness and tingling in the feet
  • Septic arthritis, which is a painful infection caused by germs that travel through your bloodstream to a joint

If you want to get rid of your foot pain, try some of these tips for healthy feet. Be sure to speak with your doctor or a podiatrist about your foot pain so they can make an appropriate diagnosis and come up with a treatment plan, if necessary. 

  • Keep your feet clean by washing them often, drying them well, trimming your toenails regularly, and moisturizing your feet to avoid cracking.
  • Massage your feet to help improve blood flow and circulation.
  • Change your socks daily and wear socks that fit well to keep odor and bacteria at bay.
  • Wear proper footwear that offers the right kind of support for the shape and size of your feet. Your podiatrist can recommend the best shoes or insoles for you.
  • Wear protective footwear if you’re on your feet a lot, such as anti-slip soles or reinforced toes.
  • Protect your bare feet from bacteria in public areas such as swimming pools or gym showers by wearing flip flops or water shoes. 
  • Your feet swell and expand as the day wears on, so shop for footwear in the afternoon or evening to get the right fit for you.

There are many possible reasons why you might have pain in your feet, some more serious than others. The best and most reliable way to find out why your feet hurt is to speak to your doctor or foot care specialist.

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