My foot hurts on the bottom – what’s wrong?

21 Jun

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.

my foot hurts

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.

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49 Responses to “My foot hurts on the bottom – what’s wrong?”

  1. Danielle October 13, 2014 at 6:16 pm #

    Hi. I went to Hershey about two months ago, it was a lot of walking and the first time I was that physical since I had my son 2 months prior. Since then I have had pain in only one spot on my right foot – it is on the bottom on the right side, kinda in the middle but more towards my heel. It hurts when I walk or stretch my foot upward or outward and when I touch it. Like I said it is only one little spot but when I walk it feels like the whole side of the foot hurts. However it does not hurt at rest. I hope you can help, this has been going on for 2 months now.

    • PA Foot And Ankle October 14, 2014 at 5:03 pm #

      Danielle: If you live in the Lehigh Valley, or near Lansford or East Stroudsburg, we’d be happy to take a look. We suspect that you may have a stress fracture. As you know, a woman’s body tends to de-condition after pregnancy, and for most it’s very hard to get back into the shape you were pre-pregnancy. Additionally, the weight from the pregnancy created stress on your feet before the little one arrived. On top of that, fluctuating hormone levels during pregnancy may affect bone density. In a nutshell, preganancy can punish your feet, and you most likely have a stress fracture or you’ve developed plantar fasciitis (could be either one, based on your description). If you can’t make it to one of our offices, please see a podiatrist close to you for a diagnosis and treatment plan.

  2. Pasquale D'Anna October 2, 2014 at 2:44 pm #

    Hello all. I am 44. I have excruciating pain on the bottom of my left foot near the little toe and goes all the way up to the heel on the left outside bottom. I cannot put any weight on it. Nor walk. I went to the Podiatrist. He took x-rays and MRI and he told me there is no physical showing of damage or injuries just some inflammation . Then he told me I may have Gout in my joints and bones or Fibromyalgia. This has gone on for weeks now. I do not believe in him anymore. I do the RICE but, no help. I do the Meds he gave me Indomethacin and Advil for pain. Still nothing helps. I do not know what it could be. I stand on my feet at work over 7 plus hours a day. Something tells me I have a major problem and it can’t be cured, maybe cancer in my little toe I do not know. This pain is unbearable and I feel sometimes I just want to cut the foot off! Any advice will be helpful. I think I should wear a boot from now on so it does not get worse. Thanks, Pasquale

    • PA Foot And Ankle October 2, 2014 at 3:18 pm #

      Pasquale: We’re sorry to hear about your pain. Are you wearing a good pair of athletic shoes or other supportive shoes when you’re at work?

      • Pasquale D'Anna October 2, 2014 at 3:23 pm #

        I am a Consultative Sales Associate at Sears. I wear Reebok shoes with supports inside that are classified for me Dr. Scholls. I limp and I sit when I can. But, I work with the pain. Or I get fired.

      • PA Foot And Ankle October 2, 2014 at 3:33 pm #

        It’s good news that the area is only inflamed and not injured in some other way. But inflammation anywhere in the foot can be quite painful. Unfortunately, as you must be on your feet for hours at a time, it’s going to get better very, very slowly. When you’re at home, elevate and ice your foot whenever possible, and stay off of it as much as possible. Continue to take your pain medicine regularly and on schedule. If the Reeboks are more than 6 months old, buy a new pair so that you’re assured the best support possible (you’d be surprised at how quickly they wear out). And if the pain hasn’t started to subside in 30 days, go see your podiatrist again for another evaluation.

  3. barb September 17, 2014 at 11:58 pm #

    I have been seeing a podiatrist for 2 months. I have had 3 shots in my foot for morton’s neuroma and feel that is getting better. Last time I was in I received a cortisone shot in my ankle for sinus tarsi syndrome. My foot is worse and is killing me. I am 49 and my whole bottom outside of my left foot is killing me. There was some swelling around my ankle today.

    • PA Foot And Ankle September 26, 2014 at 9:02 am #

      Barb: Your ankle should not have swelled up after the injection. Have you called your podiatrist to report your symptoms?

  4. angel September 16, 2014 at 11:39 pm #

    i have this bump on the bottom of my foot in the middle right under neath the toes and it hurts so badly do you know what it might be

    • PA Foot And Ankle September 17, 2014 at 9:49 am #

      Angel: I assume you mean on the ball of your foot? If so, it could be a plantar wart, or it could be an irritation of the skin from one a misaligned bone in your foot. Please see a podiatrist right away for an evaluation.

  5. R3 September 10, 2014 at 8:24 pm #

    I have a pain on the bottom of the right side of my right foot the pain comes and goes but when it comes it hurts so much I want to stop walking or standing and it hurts when I stand what does that mean??

    • PA Foot And Ankle September 11, 2014 at 9:45 am #

      Your symptoms could indicate any number of conditions, and there’s no way to know for certain without an examination. You might have anything from tendinitis to a fracture. Please make an appointment to see a podiatrist. Until then, rest and elevate your foot whenever possible, apply ice for 20 minutes at a time to the sore area, and take advil or aleve to manage the pain.

  6. A August 17, 2014 at 6:52 pm #

    I feel pain front part bottom side( front area of feet, that touch ground). I feel both feet too warm since childhood. I am 50 years old. Started feeling pain for last few months. I stand almost two hours in a day. THANKS

    • PA Foot And Ankle August 18, 2014 at 8:58 am #

      A: From your limited description, it’s difficult to determine what might be wrong. Please see a podiatrist for a diagnosis.

  7. Jim Dizzle August 6, 2014 at 8:25 am #

    I have had pain on the underside of my left foot for two days. The pain starts behind the little toe and continues down the side of my foot toward the middle. I have used r.i.c.e, however I am unable to walk properly now. I had not been exercising, nor had an accident, though I do walk alot. I suffered similar pain about a year ago and went to the hospital. They initially told me it was broken, though after finding nothing in the x Ray, sent me home none the wiser. It cleared up gradually after about 3 weeks. Any ideas, please and thank you

    • PA Foot And Ankle August 6, 2014 at 9:31 am #

      Jim: Your previous injury could indeed have been a small fracture which wasn’t seen on the x-rays. But it could also have been a problem or injury to a joint or tendon. Your best bet is to see a podiatrist, the only physician who is trained exclusively to treat the foot and ankle. Impossible for us to say what your problem might be without an exam.

  8. Jodi July 5, 2014 at 10:16 pm #

    I have had 5 morton’s neuroma surgeries and suffer with severe heel pain – major burning and at times can not step down on it or even walk. I have had 2 cortisone shots none of which last more than a week. I ice it, stretch it and rest and stay off it at times like this tonight. So much pain that i’m down on the couch. Unfortunately on the same exact heel i had a bad staff infection at the age of 7 and had to have a piece of bone removed. Any answers or suggestions?

    • PA Foot And Ankle July 7, 2014 at 4:35 pm #

      Jodi:
      It sounds like you have multiple issues going on. We can’t begin to diagnose your condition online, as diagnostic tests are needed to ascertain what’s bothering you. If resting, icing, pain meds, and elevating the foot aren’t doing the trick, you should see a podiatric surgeon again – perhaps a new one this time.

  9. Jenna W July 1, 2014 at 9:34 am #

    I woke up one day with the entire bottom of both feet very tender and painful. I hadn’t done anything stressful or physical at all! Help! Any ideas?

  10. Chloe May 20, 2014 at 11:45 pm #

    I have a spot on my right foot on the right side of my Heel. It is like a little bump underneath my skin. If I touch it intentionally I don’t really feel anything, but if I accidentally brush or push the spot on my foot it gives me excruciating pain. Do you know what it could be?

    • PA Foot And Ankle May 22, 2014 at 4:17 pm #

      Chloe: Our best guess without seeing it is that it’s a cyst of some sort. Please see a podiatrist for an evaluation.

  11. Sammy May 8, 2014 at 11:40 pm #

    The left side of my left foot has a weird pain. And I really would just like to understand what this pain is.. Please help.

  12. Carole May 4, 2014 at 12:30 am #

    About fifteen years ago I was diagnosed with Plantar fasciitis. That is pretty good now with orthotics. About 8 years ago I started to have pain in the ball of my foot. It burns , it feels swollen and the tingling sensation goes to my calf and sometimes up past the back of the knee. I can’t buy new shoes, they set my feet on fire. IT’s so bad sometimes that I cry because I need new shoes and can’t find any. It’s so bad sometimes I want my feet cut off. I have been to a sport doctor, 2 podiatrist. One says I have very tight muscle, the other it’s my nerve. They don’t want to use cortisone. My physio therapist says I have lots of lesions. I’m not a diabetic. I may have fibromyalgia.

    • PA Foot And Ankle May 5, 2014 at 10:24 am #

      Carole: We’re sorry to hear about your pain. Since you’re not diabetic, it’s probably not peripheral neuropathy (although there are are other causes for this besides diabetes). Our best guess, not having examined you, is that you have a nerve issue of some sort. We highly recommend that you seek an opinion from a 2nd podiatrist and follow their treatment guidelines. Tight muscles do not cause excruciating pain as you describe, but nerve pain is 2nd to none in its intensity.

  13. Leslie Prince April 17, 2014 at 6:55 pm #

    Hi can you help me i have had foot pain in the bottom of my foot for 4 months, sometimes
    I can’t walk ( bottom back of my Heel.) my Podiatrists can’t see anything in her medical books
    Please help !!
    Mr les prince.

    • PA Foot And Ankle April 18, 2014 at 9:56 am #

      Leslie: Sounds like classic heel pain caused by damage or irritation to the achilles tendon (it meets the heel at the very spot you describe). Please seek the advice of a 2nd podiatrist if you’re not satisfied with the opinion of the first.

  14. Melanie March 19, 2014 at 12:28 am #

    While celebrating St. Patrick’s Day (Saturday), I walked around for 14 hours in high heeled boots and eventually the drinking made things a little “hazy”. The next morning I thought I had a minor ankle sprain and bruised middle,outside, bottom of my right foot. Monday, the pain had worsened significantly and walking was almost unbearable. The pain was better with rest, but immediately returned with walking (longer distance=more pain). Additionally, pointing my toes produced terrible pain. I went to the doctor, got an X-ray and they said they couldn’t see anything, but there “may” be a stress fracture that has not calcified enough to show up on the X-ray yet and to come back in a week if there was still significant pain. It is now Tuesday and I am able to point my toes without pain, but walking makes me nauseous and my limp is almost comical. There is only minor swelling and hardly any discoloration. Does this sound like a fracture? I feel that going back to the doctor so soon would still produce nothing on the X-ray even if it was a fracture… but walking is so painful! Would they at least be able to give me something for the pain?

    • PA Foot And Ankle March 19, 2014 at 12:08 pm #

      Melanie: You need to see a podiatrist to diagnose your problem. Sometimes the shoes themselves can be the culprit, and on days like St Patty’s, anything can happen. Your symptoms definitely indicate a sprain or fracture, so don’t delay in getting it checked out by a foot specialist. Rest, elevate, and ice the sore foot whenever possible, and use aleve or advil to manage the pain and soreness. Do not wear high heels until the pain subsides – wear a good pair of athletic shoes.

  15. Penny December 29, 2013 at 6:04 pm #

    Hello I have had pain in my heel for about 3 months its getting worse and it’s pain all time but worse getting up in morning and walking on and when I sat down for some time I get pain and can’t walk what do u think it is what can I do for it and not seen doctor yet but I will tomorrow thanks x

    • East Penn Foot And Ankle December 30, 2013 at 10:50 am #

      Penny: You have the classic signs of plantar fasciitis, the most common cause of heel pain. Until you see your doctor, rest, elevate, and ice the sore foot and take over the counter anti inflammatory medicines to control the pain.

  16. Stefano December 3, 2013 at 10:24 pm #

    I dont have a fracture(had a xray) just pain on the near end of my foot, any treatment recommended? ( im in physio right now) or just rest, elevate, etc until it goes away

    • East Penn Foot And Ankle December 4, 2013 at 10:51 am #

      Stefano: Sounds like you have the classic symptoms of plantar fasciitis, the primary cause of heel pain for most people. Lay off exercising as much as possible, but continue to do the stretching exercises your physical therapist recommends. To control the pain, rest, elevate, and ice the painful area whenever possible and use over the counter meds like advil or aleve to control the pain. The plantar fascia is irritated from overuse, which could be from exercising on hard surfaces or not wearing shoes that support your feet correctly. You must allow it to cool down in order to heal.

  17. Stefano December 3, 2013 at 10:22 pm #

    I had a sprained ankle, after six weeks the pain shifted from the area where the ball is to the near bottom of my feet, I feel a sharp pain when I run, its doesnt effect me much but i still feel something when im excercising. Should i lay off it until the pain goes away? or continue excersing but not pushing my foot to the limit

  18. Jeanne Bolton November 28, 2013 at 11:05 pm #

    I burnt my feet on the hot sand and they are still hurting for a month. No blisters.

  19. yolandi nel November 27, 2013 at 11:43 am #

    My feet pains for almost 3 years and I’m only 27 it feels like burning and hurts in the holes underneath my feet

    • East Penn Foot And Ankle November 27, 2013 at 11:46 am #

      Yolandi: Do you have access to medical care? Burning sensations could indicate nerve damage or tendon damage.

  20. Danny November 14, 2013 at 11:54 pm #

    I had sprained my ankle in mid July is now November and my ankle seems to be feeling a lot better. however on my left foot the outside with the arch hurts every time I competitively run and cool down. I would walk, and I would be limping with the pain but it would go away after a while, what seems to be the problem?

    • East Penn Foot And Ankle November 15, 2013 at 10:10 am #

      Danny: Sounds like you have a classic case of plantar fasciitis. Please see a podiatrist for treatment, because it will only get worse.

  21. Danny November 14, 2013 at 11:53 pm #

    I had spring my ankle in mid July is now Nobember and my ankle seems to be feeling a lot better however on my left foot the outside with the ark is hurts every time I competitively run and cool down. I would walk and I would be limping with the pain but it would go away after a while, what seems to be the problem?

  22. Jaden November 6, 2013 at 6:09 pm #

    I had twisted my ankle about 3 weeks ago during a volleyball game. At first it was very severe pain and couldn’t walk. But it never fully went away, it is a pain after every time I rest and it is on the bottom left side of my foot, going to doctor on friday, any thoughts on what the problem could be?

    • East Penn Foot And Ankle November 6, 2013 at 8:56 pm #

      Jaden: Sounds like you sprained your ankle pretty good! Next time seek medical attention right away to make sure your foot and ankle heal properly from the get-go.

  23. Lew July 4, 2013 at 9:23 am #

    i have pain along the outside edge of my feet (but on the bottom) . If i sit with my feet elevated for a time and then stand, thats when they hurt to the point where i can hardly walk.
    What is the cause?
    Thank you

    • eastpennfoot July 5, 2013 at 9:04 am #

      Lew: Your problem could be anything from a fracture to Peripheral Neuropathy (problem with nerves). The only way to get an accurate diagnosis is for a podiatrist to examine you.

      • Lew July 5, 2013 at 9:31 am #

        there are no obvious signs of fractures or injury from running.
        thanks for the reply.
        good day

  24. Tammy Allen April 17, 2013 at 10:57 pm #

    Does Plantar FacItis Cause The Whole Bottom Of Your Foot To Hurt?

    • eastpennfoot April 29, 2013 at 10:46 am #

      Tammy – it may. The only way to know what’s wrong with your foot is to schedule a visit with your podiatrist as soon as possible. We’re happy to see you if you live in the Lehigh Valley

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