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.

Causes of Foot Pain

  • Injuries: sprains, strains, bruises, and fractures
  • Diseases: diabetes, Hansen disease, or peripheral vascular disease
  • Infections: bacterial, viral, or fungal
  • Inflammations: gout, bony outgrowths on the heel, plantar fasciitis, or arthritis
  • Structural problems: ingrown toenails

Possible Interventions

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


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

What Else You Should Do

  • Write down and share information about your loved one’s pain with their healthcare provider
  • Use a Pain Diary to note important information useful to the healthcare provider
  • Encourage your loved one to try a non-drug treatment and document the impact on their pain in their Pain Diary
  • References:

  • WebMD. June 11, 2021.  Foot Pain. Accessed 3.13.2022.
  • Mayo Clinic. March 13, 2021. Foot Pain. Accessed 3.13.2022.

Revised January 2022

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