Self-Diagnosing Foot Pain: A Guide

Many people take their feet for granted until they start hurting. Once we feel pain and discomfort, we instinctively search for a way to relieve the pain. Self-diagnosing foot pain can be tricky, but we hope this guide helps you understand some of the common foot conditions we see.

Treating The Cause, Not the Symptoms

Many foot issues can be temporarily helped by rest and ice. However, this is just treating the symptoms, not the underlying causes of your pain. Therefore, you must get a diagnosis of the actual reason your feet hurt instead of temporarily easing symptoms without treating the underlying cause.

How To Figure Out What’s Wrong With Your Feet

One of the most common (and practical) ways to identify the root cause of your foot pain is to know the location of your pain. Is your pain located…

…in the toes?

…in the arches of your feet?

… in your heels?

… on the ball of the foot?

Please choose the area you feel your pain is located from the previous list, and below, we have provided a few possible causes for the pain.

Toe Pain

  • If pain is located in your toes, specifically in the joints, you may have gout. This form of arthritis attacks the joints of the toes (usually the big toe) and crystallizes in the joints, causing intense pain.
  • Toe pain accompanied by disfigured toes or a large lump on the side of the foot under the big toe may be a bunion developing. Many people with bunions also have hammertoe or mallet toe.
  • Corns, calluses, and ingrown toenails can also cause pain. You can usually identify these conditions with a visual inspection.

Arches Pain

  • Plantar fasciitis is a common cause of pain in arches, often affecting the heels as well. Your foot doctor will be able to identify this condition and help you come up with a treatment plan.
  • Flat feet or fallen arches affect how your foot moves and walks, causing pain when things are improperly aligned. A podiatrist can recommend shoe inserts or orthotics to help correct the condition and relieve your pain.

Heel Pain

  • The most common cause of heel pain is plantar fasciitis. With this condition, you will often feel the pain worse after resting for extended periods of time or when first rising in the morning. 
  • Heel spurs can cause significant pain. These bony growths are often caused by footwear that does not fit properly. However, you can also have heel spurs that do not cause any pain.

Ball of the Foot Pain

  • Morton’s neuroma is a common cause of pain in the balls of your feet. Thickening tissue under the toes often feels numbness or pain or the feeling of stepping on a pebble or small object. A podiatrist will be able to diagnose this condition and help you find relief.
  • Metatarsalgia also affects the ball of the foot. It can feel like a sharp ache or burning pain, especially after high-impact activities. 

If you are searching for answers for self-diagnosing foot pain, we hope this guide has been helpful. However, no internet guide can adequately understand your pain and diagnose it like a professional. Best Foot Doctor has offices in the NYC area that are currently accepting new patients. If you have foot pain, we would love to schedule an appointment with you and work with you to help find relief

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