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Conditions that Cause Foot Pain

There are multiple conditions that can lead to foot pain. To better help you understand your condition, we have detailed explanations of the most common causes of foot pain listed below.  Click the learn more buttons for additional information on a specific condition including symptoms, treatments and videos.

If you’re not sure which condition is causing your pain. Don’t hesitate to contact us! Whether you need a routine checkup, a simple corrective shoe insert or foot surgery, Houston Foot & Ankle is equipped to handle all your podiatric needs.

Achilles Tendonitis

The body’s strongest tendon, the Achilles tendon is commonly injured during athletic activity. At some point, many athletes become familiar with persistent pain and soreness below the calf, known as Achilles tendonitis.

Ankle Sprains

Ankle sprains occur when ligaments are twisted, torn or stretched by extreme pressure on the ankle bone and joint. Symptoms include persistent pain or tenderness on the outside of the ankle, tightness and swelling, trouble walking on uneven surfaces, stiffness, and the ankle joint giving way without warning.

Arthritic Foot & Ankle Care

With 33 joints and a remarkable daily weight load, it’s no wonder that feet are especially prone to arthritis. Arthritis is a potentially debilitating condition that affects almost 40 million Americans, most of them over age 50. The disease causes inflammation and swelling of the cartilage and lining of the joints, generally accompanied by an increase in the fluid in the joints. —an especially painful situation for the feet and ankles.


About one-third of people in Western countries know the ache and irritation of bunions. A bunion is an inherited bone deformity causing an enlarged joint at the base of the big toe (the metatarsalphalangeal joint), which causes the toe and joint to shift out of place. The condition is progressive and can lead to chronic pain and difficulty walking. This pain is caused by the destruction of the joint cartilage.

Calluses and Corns

A callus is a hardened area of skin on the foot caused by friction between the shoe and a prominent bone, or bone spur. This thickened skin can form on top of nerves and/or fluid-filled sacs causing intense pain and soreness.  These conditions most often occur along the heel, the ball of the foot, or the outside of the big toe.  So while calluses affect the skin, they actually point to an underlying bone issue.

Children’s Feet

At Houston Foot & Ankle we treat all ages, including infants and children. Common foot problems we treat in children include flat feet, in-toeing, out-toeing, foot injuries, and warts.

Diabetes/Diabetic Foot Care/Diabetic Wounds

If you have diabetes, foot care should be one of your top priorities. Diabetics are uniquely prone to a number of foot problems, and in extreme cases of unchecked blood sugar and lack of foot care, they can lose toes, feet or even legs.

Flat Feet

Flat foot is a common structural condition characterized by low arches, collapsing ankles, fatigue and soreness. Flat foot can occur during childhood if the arches of the feet don’t develop, after an injury, or from the wear and tear of aging.

Fungal Toenails

A fungal infection of the toenail is a sometimes painful and often unsightly condition that can cause the nail to enlarge and separate from the nail bed. Symptoms include yellowing and thickening of the nail plate and nail bed, dead skin and flecks of nail visible through the nail, an increase in the density of the nail,  cracks on the nail or flaking, and pain, sensitivity, or a mild odor at the site.


Twenty-five percent (25%) of bones are located in your feet. This makes them quite susceptible to bone fractures. Certain activities or injuries can cause a fracture, or “break,” in one or more of these bones. Pain, swelling, redness, and even bruising are signs of a possible fracture. Fractures of the foot can be diagnosed by x-rays or other studies.

Geriatric Foot Care

For many people,  geriatric aging brings on some mild issues with the feet. Sometimes, however, these issues can be symptoms of more critical medical problems. Your podiatrist can discern whether your foot condition reveals an underlying cause, like diabetes, poor circulation, nerve problems, or arthritis.


A Hammertoe is a deformity of the second, third or fourth toes. In this condition, the toe is bent at the middle joint, resembling a hammer. Symptoms include pain at the top of the bent toe upon pressure from footwear, formation of corns on the top of the joint, redness and swelling at the joint contracture, restricted or painful motion of the toe joint, and pain in the ball of the foot at the base of the affected toe.

Heel Spurs/Plantar Fasciitis

Heel spurs and plantar fasciitis are the most common diseases seen in our office. Plantar fasciitis is an overuse condition. The thick ligament on the bottom of the foot becomes inflamed. Usually your first step in the morning is very painful.  Anytime you are off your foot then get back up, it can be painful as well. The heel area has the most pain. Plantar fasciitis can occur with or without a heel spur.

Ingrown Toenails

An ingrown toenail is a condition that occurs when the sides or edges of the toenail press through the skin around the nail bed. The toe becomes inflamed and sometimes infected. This can be very painful.


Neuromas are the result of friction on a group of nerves in the ball of the foot, often between the third and fourth toes. The nerves become enlarged, and sufferers may experience a pins-and-needles sensation, a feeling of thickness, a sense of heat or pain, or a lack of sensation. Symptoms include pain in the forefoot and between the toes, tingling and numbness in the ball of the foot, swelling between the toes, and pain in the ball of the foot when weight is placed on it.


There are several causes of peripheral neuropathy in the foot and ankle.  The most common is diabetes.  Diabetic neuropathy occurs due to prolonged uncontrolled blood sugar.  This leads to the destruction of nerves in the foot.

Pain in the Ball of the Foot

Pain in the ball of the foot, the area located between the toes and arch, is a condition referred to as metatarsalgia. Sufferers report discomfort and pain that usually centers on one or more of the five bones (metatarsals) in this mid-portion of the foot.

Peripheral Arterial Disease/Peripheral Vascular Disease

Sometimes called a “silent killer,” peripheral artery disease (PAD) is a narrowing of the arteries of the legs and feet, and it warns of serious cardiovascular problems. Sufferers often report no symptoms, or their symptoms are so mild that they do not seek medical treatment. Symptoms may include pain in the leg when walking, but not at rest, ulcers or sores on legs or feet, cold or blue-tinted skin, and slower nail or hair growth in the affected limb.

Plantar Fibromas

Plantar fibromas are benign tissue tumors or growths on the plantar, or bottom surface of the foot. Unlike plantar warts, which grow on the skin, these grow deep inside on a thick band of ligaments called the plantar fascia. The tumors make walking painful and put undue stress and pressure on different parts of the foot.

Skin Conditions/Athlete’s Foot

Athlete’s foot is a fungal infection on the skin of the feet. The infection often begins between the toes, but it can spread to the toenails, soles of the feet, and elsewhere on the body if left untreated.


Warts can be painful. Sometimes they are confused with calluses and corns. A wart is caused by a viral infection that enters a cut in the skin. Warts can recur in the same location over and over. If a wart is not treated properly, if can become a cluster of warts and be more difficult to get rid of. Warts are found in adults, teenagers, and children.

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