Pain in the lower part of the feet: Causes and treatments


Our feet are vital shock absorbers. Your feet support your body’s weight as you walk and orient yourself during the day, so pain in your legs can alter your life. In fact, 77% of adults struggled with leg pain that slowed them down (metaphorically or literally). 

What causes pain in the bottom of the foot? Knowing more about the anatomy of your foot can help you learn how to deal with problems like plantar fasciitis, metatarsal pain, and neuropathy. 

Learn about Medications / Teresa Chiechi

Possible Causes

His legs are quite difficult: 26 bones, 30 joints and almost 100 muscles and ligaments. Each of these anatomical elements, from the toes to the Achilles tendon, helps you stay upright and maintain balance.

In a healthy foot, these numerous bones, joints, and tendons work together to absorb the pressure of your steps. But a foot injury or complication can be quite painful because your feet hold the full weight of your body, which can irritate your foot every time you stand.

 Plantar fasciitis

One of the most common causes of leg pain is plantar fasciitis. If you have plantar fasciitis, the tissue along the arch of your foot (between your heel and toes) becomes inflamed. This inflammation can cause sharp, stabbing pain in the heel or bottom of the foot.

People who wear shoes with little arch support, walk for a long time or stand on hard surfaces, or walk Barefoot are especially likely to develop plantar fasciitis.

Symptoms of plantar fasciitis are often most pronounced in the morning or during long periods of rest. When you wake up and get out of bed, you may feel sharp pain in your heel or elsewhere on the bottom of your foot. Gentle stretching, ice or heat packs, and low-impact exercises, such as walking, can help reduce pain. 


Metatarsalgia – another potential cause of foot pain. Patients with metatarsalgia often report pain and swelling at the tip of the foot, just behind the toes. What causes this discomfort? Metatarsalgia can develop as a result of intense activities that can cause stress on the bottom of the feet, such as jumping or running.

One medical study found that 80% of people experienced metatarsalgia at some point in their lives. Many patients report that their mild to moderate metatarsalgia pain goes away after resting their feet and using orthopedic shoe inserts.

Peripheral neuropathy

Leg pain may also be related to your nervous system. While tissue inflammation causes metatarsalgia and plantar fasciitis, millions of people experience nerve pain in their feet.

Nerve pain, or neuropathy, may be more difficult to treat and identify than other foot diseases. In neuropathy, the patient’s nervous system is damaged or fails.

Our nervous system connects our feet and toes with our brain, transmitting signals throughout the body that allow us to move and feel our toes. Sometimes an injury or illness can complicate these signs, resulting in pain.

Peripheral nerve pain may feel like tingling, burning, or stinging.


Neuroma occurs due to inflammation or expansion of the digital nerves. These nerves run along the bottom of the foot and give a sensation to the toes. The same activities that lead to suffering from metatarsalgia can also lead to the formation of neuromas. This includes overusing activities such as running, wearing shoes without proper support, or frequently wearing very high heels. Patients may feel that there is a pebble or foreign object on the bottom of the foot, usually between the second and third toes or the third and Fourth toes. It is usually associated with numbness/tingling / burning of two adjacent fingers.

Sesamoiditis or Sesamoid stress fracture

Sesamoids are two small bones under the yolk of the big toe. They help maintain the function of the tendon that flexes the big toe. These bones can become overloaded and inflamed, causing pain and swelling. If the overload is strong, a stress fracture may occur in them. Damage to these bones causes pain directly at the bottom of the big toe.

When to see a doctor

In some people, leg pain goes away without treatment within a few days. But other people are dealing with chronic leg pain. Any leg pain that prevents you from participating in daily life is a potential cause of medical problems.

You should especially consider consulting your doctor if you experience any of the following problems: 

  • New pain that lasts more than a few days
  • Pain that prevents you from walking
  • Dizziness or nausea associated with leg pain (which may indicate a bone fracture)
  • Fever or swelling associated with leg pain (which may indicate an infection)
  • Accident or injury that could cause leg pain
  • Your existing chronic leg pains have increased


Your health care provider will likely start with a physical exam to determine the cause of your foot pain. During a physical exam, your health care provider will try to determine any sensitivity or tenderness.

They can touch your feet, ask you to stretch your toes and watch you walk. A health care professional will also look for swelling or swelling, bruising, ingrown toenails, or other injuries that may aggravate your pain. 

After a physical exam, your health care provider may refer you to a foot and ankle specialist, such as a podiatrist or podiatrist. Podiatrists specialize in diagnosing and treating foot pain. Your family doctor or orthopedist may order an exam with images, such as x-rays, if they suspect you may have a broken bone or other skeletal problems.


To treat foot pain, your health care provider may recommend several lifestyle changes, medications, or treatments. 

While some foods have been touted as miracle remedies for inflammatory diseases such as plantar fasciitis, no food has been shown to be a reliable remedy for foot pain. However, healthy anti-inflammatory diet you can supplement the medical practice of your attending physician.

Foods with turmeric, lemon water, and antioxidants can help reduce inflammation in the body, such as swelling in the legs.

Some patients find that complementary or alternative treatments, such as acupuncture, provide temporary relief from leg pain. Medical researchers have found that electroacupuncture, in particular, can help relieve the pains of plantar fasciitis.

To prevent future injuries and strains on the feet, patients can buy orthopedic inserts or supportive and comfortable shoes. Walking and stretching gently can strengthen the legs after an injury, but patients should avoid over-running, jumping, or engaging in intense activities that may increase their pain. 

A health care provider may recommend that you use over-the-counter pain relievers, such as Tylenol (acetaminophen). Pressing a cold or hot compress on the foot can also help reduce swelling. However, if you have moderate to severe chronic leg pain, you may need more powerful medicine to help you cope.

For patients with more serious leg complications, a health care professional may recommend an opioid medication such as oxycodone or hydrocodone. Use opioids only as directed to avoid addiction, and always consult your health care provider before trying a new treatment or diet.

Cortisone injections will be recommended after failed conservative treatment for plantar fasciitis, sesamoiditis, and neuroma.

If any of these conditions are serious, your health care provider may recommend unloading your foot with a short CAM shoe or surgical shoe for several weeks.

A Few Words From Get Meds Info

At best, leg pain can be unpleasant. At worst, your pain may seem debilitating. However, you are not alone. Millions of people experience some degree of leg pain. Fortunately, there are options for finding relief. Whether you have metatarsalgia, neuropathy, plantar fasciitis, or other foot disease, your healthcare provider can help you create a treatment plan that’s right for you.

Frequently asked questions

  • Many conditions and factors can lead to neuropathy, including diabetes, injuries that cause nerve compression, autoimmune disorders, certain medications and treatments such as chemotherapy and vascular disorders. Neuropathy can also develop due to abnormal vitamin levels, alcoholism, other diseases, such as kidney or liver disease, or as an inherited disease.

  • Neuropathy is very common and affects about 25-30% of Americans. It is more common in people over age 65, people with diabetes, people who have received cancer chemotherapy, and people with HIV.

  • Sesamoid stress fractures are caused by overuse of tendons around sesamoid bones, which usually occurs in athletes and dancers. People with high arches or flat feet, or those whose feet roll inward when walking, may also suffer this type of fracture when walking.


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