I frequently hear this question when a new patient is experiencing foot pain for the first time. The answer unfortunately is anything but simple and could lie anywhere between Metatarsalgia to a traumatic fracture. This assumes that there are no obvious signs of injury.
A minor reason for pain on the bottom of the foot, particularly on the “ball” of your foot, is Metatarsalgia. That’s a very big word for a simple overuse injury. It’s called Metatarsalgia because it affects the Metatarsals, the largest bones in your feet. This condition may create a feeling that you’re walking with a pebble in your shoe, or may express itself as sharp pains in your toes, or pain just behind your toes. Rest, elevation and ice will relieve Metatarsalgia symptoms. If they persist or worsen, see a podiatrist for a diagnosis.
A more serious reason for pain in your foot could be a fractured bone. With 26 bones in the foot, plus 2 sesamoid bones which are very small, the chances for fractures are plenty, especially if you’ve gained a large amount of weight in the past year (pregnancy, obesity) or if you compete athletically. Many times these small fractures may only produce mild pain when they first occur, but may become very painful after a few days.
Usually the most comon reason for pain on the bottom of your feet is Plantar Fasciitis, which is an inflammation of the thick tissue which connects the heel bone to the toes and creates the arch of the foot. Plantar Fasciitis may start out as a mild burning sensation and stiffness in the heel, or create so much pain in your foot that you can barely walk. Only an examination by a trained podiatrist can determine if you have Plantar Fasciitis and what your treatment options may be. For more information on Plantar Fasciitis, check out my YouTube video.
If you experience any pain in the bottom of your feet, your best bet is to call the podiatrists at PA Foot and Ankle Associates for a thorough examination and a course of treatment customized just for you.