Foot Pain

The foot is an extremely complex structure made up of 26 bones, 33 joints, 19 muscles, 107 ligaments plus nerves, blood vessels and connective tissue. The American Diabetes Association reports that about 50% of people with diabetes have some form of nerve damage that may cause numbness or a burning sensation in the feet, called peripheral neuropathy.

  • Causes of Foot Pain
    • Injuries such as sprains, strains, bruises, & fractures
    • Diseases such as diabetes, Hansen disease, peripheral vascular disease
    • Infectious causes such as bacteria, viruses, fungi
    • Inflammation such as gout, calcaneal spurs, plantar fasciitis, arthritis
    • Structural problems such as ingrown toenails

  • Possible Interventions
    • Treatment will depend on the cause of the pain and may involve medication, strengthening, stretching, and possibly the use of physical therapy
    • Non-Drug Treatments (for minor pain)
      • Rest and/or elevation of the limb
      • Ice to affected area
      • Compression
    • Over the counter (OTC) Drugs (for minor pain)
      • Acetaminophen
      • Ibuprofen

  • Prevention
    • Encourage mobility, good hygiene, and weight loss if appropriate
    • Routine foot care including nail trimming

  • What Caregivers can do to help their loved one with Foot Pain
    • Write down and share information about your loved one’s pain with their provider
    • Use a Pain Diary to note important information useful to the provider
    • Encourage your loved one to try a non-drug treatment to decrease minor pain

Revised 3/2020

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