Pain in the bottom of your foot: 7 potential sources

Pain anywhere on your body can interfere with your everyday life. It’s especially true for an ache that you feel on the bottom of your foot, as your feet have to handle quite a lot of stress on a day-to-day basis. If you’re experiencing pain in the bottom of your foot, it can cause you to wince in discomfort every time you stand or walk.

Since pain on the soles of your feet can be impossible to ignore, it’s important to address it as soon as possible to reduce the risk of it worsening. By understanding the source of the pain, you’ll be able to determine the most effective treatment options to help you get back on your feet (literally) with ease and comfort.

We’ll discuss possible causes for pain in the bottom of your foot as well as how to relieve it with a variety of treatments, including physical therapy.

7 possible causes of pain in the bottom of your foot

Pain in the bottom of your foot usually means that there’s an issue that’s presenting itself in the arch or ball of the foot. While there are three arches in the foot, “the arch” usually refers to the most prominent one, called the medial longitudinal arch, which stretches along the inside of your foot from the back to the front. The ball is the padded area between the arch and the toes.

When you feel pain in the bottom of your feet, it often goes hand in hand with reduced mobility. If it hurts to be on your feet, then it’s only natural to want to be off them as often as possible, which interferes with your everyday routine. Reduced mobility is just one of the symptoms that are commonly experienced alongside pain in the bottom of your foot. There are many potential sources of the pain that can lead to other symptoms, such as swelling, physical abnormalities or difficulty bearing your weight.

Here are seven potential sources of pain in the bottom of your foot:

  • Plantar fasciitis — There’s a band of tissue stretching along the bottom of your foot connecting your toes to your heel bone, known as the plantar fascia. It can become inflamed from a variety of causes, such as overuse and types of walking surfaces. The main symptom of plantar fasciitis is stabbing pain in the heel that’s often worse in the morning. It may also cause swelling and sole pain.
  • Flat feet — Pes planus, or flat feet, refers to having little to no arch. The entire sole touches the ground with every step, straining the muscles and ligaments while having a difficult time evenly distributing your weight. People with flat feet may feel pain in the arch or heel, especially during activity. It can also impact your gait. Many people have flat feet due to genetics, while others may lose their arch due to aging, injury or obesity.
  • Improper footwear — Sometimes the cause of pain in the bottom of your foot isn’t due to a medical condition or foot structure, but the type of footwear worn throughout a busy day. Supportive, properly fitting footwear is essential for everyday activities as well as exercising or playing sports. It’s possible that wearing shoes that are too tight can cause pain in the bottom of your foot, particularly in the ball and heel. The pain may occur alongside swelling.
  • Morton’s neuroma — Pain in the bottom of your foot may be due to the thickening of tissue around a nerve leading to the toes. Morton’s neuroma, also known as interdigital neuroma, most commonly occurs between the third and fourth toes. Not only does this condition cause sharp pain in the ball of your foot, but it has been described as feeling like you’re stepping on a pebble or marble.
  • Bunions — Sometimes you can physically see the source of your foot pain. It’s possible to develop a bony growth on the joint of the big toe when the bones move out of place. The big toe can get pulled in toward the smaller toes, causing the joint at the base of the big toe to stick out, resulting in a bulge known as a bunion. It can cause pain near the bunion as well as at the bottom of the foot. Bunions are often the result of narrow shoes or your foot mechanics as you walk.
  • Bursitis — There are fluid-filled sacs that work as cushions for your joints, known as bursae. While your body may develop bursae in your feet over time due to injuries, they only have one natural bursa located between the heel bone and the Achilles tendon. The bursa can become inflamed, resulting in bursitis and causing pain in the bottom of the foot. The pain can occur alongside other symptoms, such as redness and swelling. 
  • Metatarsalgia — When the ball of your foot becomes inflamed, it’s known as metatarsalgia. It stems from the metatarsal bones and can be the result of many different causes, including ill-fitting shoes and participating in activities that require a lot of jumping or running. It means that there’s been too much pressure applied to one spot.

How to relieve pain in the bottom of your foot

Pain in any part of your foot can make it difficult to carry out your daily activities, from walking up the stairs in your home to standing for a presentation at work. It’s important to be proactive about the issue by determining the likely source of the pain and exploring effective treatment options as soon as possible.

Talk to your doctor about your symptoms, though they may refer you to a podiatrist. After the source of your pain has been diagnosed, you can collaborate with your doctors as well as a physical therapist to figure out what treatment options will work best for you.

There are some treatments for foot pain that you can do at home, while others will require the assistance of a health care professional:

  • Footwear support — For many people, it’s impossible to stay off your feet for long periods of time, even if they’re hurting. That’s why you should make sure your feet are properly supported when you’re standing, walking or exercising. Your podiatrist or physical therapist can make recommendations for the best footwear based on your lifestyle, as well as shoe insoles or orthotics for increased comfort and support.
  • Rest and ice — It’s important to prioritize resting your foot whenever possible to reduce the pressure on the affected area and decrease the risk of the symptoms worsening. Resting your foot often goes hand in hand with icing your foot for 20-minute intervals. Ice or cold packs can reduce pain and swelling by decreasing the blood circulation to the area.
  • Physical therapy — One of the best courses of action for persistent or worsening foot pain is to seek a physical therapist. They will design a personalized treatment plan for you to alleviate your symptoms and improve the overall quality of the affected area. For pain in the bottom of your foot, physical therapy plans often include treatments such as manual therapy, therapeutic exercises and electrical stimulation.

At Continuum Wellness, we understand that pain in the bottom of your foot can interfere with your overall quality of life. From targeted exercises to foot support recommendations, we’ll help you get back to your everyday routines with comfort.

Call us or request an appointment today if you’re experiencing pain in the bottom of your foot. 

For more information, Contact Us Today.

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