Foot pain is a common complaint, becoming more common as people get older. Some of the most common causes of foot pain include:
Many causes of foot pain are related to injuries from slip-and-fall accidents or sports injuries, especially from sports that cause significant impact to the bottoms of the feet.
Diagnosis begins with a physical examination of the foot and a review of symptoms, as well as a review of the personal and family health history of the patient to look for issues that could cause pain or have a bearing on treatment. During the examination, passive and active movements may be used to determine the source of pain and to evaluate the function and flexibility of the foot and ankle. When a physical examination does not provide enough information to develop a form diagnosis, x-rays or other types of diagnostic imaging procedures may be ordered to provide additional information.
Painful foot conditions require different types of treatment depending on the underlying cause. Typically, conservative options like oral medications, steroid injections, and custom orthotics are used first, accompanied by stretching exercises or physical therapy as needed. If the plantar fascia is involved, special splints may be used to help gently stretch the tissue and improve flexibility over time. Lifestyle changes including losing excess weight or changing shoe style may also help. In cases where the causes of foot pain are more complex, and conservative options aren't effective in providing relief, surgery may be recommended to remove heel spurs, reposition the plantar fascia where it attaches to the heel or provide other corrective measures.
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