October 4, 2015

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Foot Pain

What causes foot pain? (Continued)

Injuries to both the skin covering and the internal structures may also be caused by multiple small repetitive traumas. Microtrauma injuries can be caused by running on uneven surfaces or surfaces that are too hard or too soft, or by wearing shoes that have poor force-absorption qualities or fit incorrectly. Thickenings of tissue of the outer foot and toes are commonly known as bunions, corns, and calluses. These are often caused by poor-fitting shoes. Morton's neuroma caused by thickening of tissue around a nerve between the toes can cause toe numbness and pain and may also be aggravated by poor-fitting shoes. Footwear can be a contributor to foot pain. Poor-fitting shoes in the short term can cause blisters, bruising, and be a source of athlete's foot. The long-term effects may be bunions, corns, irritation of nerves and joints, misalignment of the toes, and the source of microtrauma injuries to the foot.

Repeated overstressing of the same structure of the foot may cause stress fractures, tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, and acute and chronic osteoarthritis. Stress fractures commonly occur in the metatarsal bones, the long bones of the foot.

The arches of the feet absorb and return force to and from the body to the outside world when we are standing on our feet. Injury to the plantar fascia is a common cause of arch pain. The plantar fascia is a tough fibrous sheath that extends the length of the bottom of the foot and lends support to the arch. When the plantar fascia is damaged, the resulting inflammatory response may become a source of arch pain. High and low arches (flat feet) may cause pain because of strain to the feet.

Disease, viruses, fungi, and bacteria may also be the sources of foot pain. Diabetes, Hansen's disease, arthritis, and gout are common diseases that affect the foot. Disorders of the nerves to the feet may cause numbness and burning sensation in the feet known as peripheral neuropathy.

Plantar warts on the bottom of the foot are caused by a virus and can cause irritation. Athlete's foot, which is caused by a fungus, also can lead to foot irritation. A common cause of foot pain is the ingrown toenail. Ingrown toenails occur when the edges of the nail grow through or into the skin, resulting in irritation and sometimes leading to infection. Continue Reading

Reviewed on 6/27/2014