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Waco/Killeen
APC Icon — Orthopedics

Overview:

Orthopedic Foot and Ankle Treatment

Foot pain is a common condition with approximately 75% of Americans experiencing foot pain or stiffness at some point in their lives.

According to the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA), about a third of those affected by foot pain seek treatment for their foot pain from a podiatrist or an orthopedic specialist.

Foot pain refers to discomfort or pain in different parts of the feet, such as the arches, heels, soles, and toes. Despite being a common occurrence, foot pain can have a big impact on an individual’s quality of life as it often restricts normal activities for sufferers of foot pain. Chronic foot pain is a more serious condition that can cause additional health complications if left untreated (such as long-term damage or disability in the affected area(s).

What are the causes of foot pain?

Foot pain can be caused by a variety of factors, such as work-related repetitive activities, improper footwear, prolonged periods of standing, age-related wear and tear, and overuse due to high-impact exercises/sports or increased activities.

Various medical issues also have symptoms that include foot pain. Medical conditions that increase the incidence of foot pain in patients include the following:

  • Different forms of arthritis (which cause pain and inflammation in the feet)
  • Fungal or bacterial infections
  • Haglund’s deformity
  • Fallen arches
  • Fractures
  • Bunions
  • Tarsal coalitions
  • Bone spurs
  • Tendinitis
  • Flat feet
  • Abscess
  • Lupus
  • Warts
  • Gout
  • Peripheral arterial disease
  • Morton’s neuroma
  • Hallux rigidus
  • Hammer toes
  • Athlete’s foot
  • Claw toes
  • Turf toes
  • Corns and calluses
  • Sprains or strains
  • Ingrown toenails
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Metatarsalgia
  • Sesamoiditis
  • Bruises
  • Different forms of arthritis (which cause pain and inflammation in the feet)
  • Fungal or bacterial infections
  • Haglund’s deformity
  • Fallen arches
  • Fractures
  • Bunions
  • Tarsal coalitions
  • Bone spurs
  • Tendinitis
  • Flat feet
  • Abscess
  • Lupus
  • Warts
  • Gout
  • Peripheral arterial disease
  • Morton’s neuroma
  • Hallux rigidus
  • Hammer toes
  • Athlete’s foot
  • Claw toes
  • Turf toes
  • Corns and calluses
  • Sprains or strains
  • Ingrown toenails
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Metatarsalgia
  • Sesamoiditis
  • Bruises

Diabetes sufferers are also more susceptible to foot pain and foot disorders, as this condition can cause ulcers, sores, nerve damage (neuropathy), and sometimes clog or harden the arteries in the affected region(s). Certain prescription medications can also cause inflammation and pain in the feet. If this occurs, you should discussed it with your doctor.

What are the risk factors that increase the chances of foot pain?

Here are several factors that increase an individual’s likelihood for developing foot pain. They include:

  • Previous foot injuries (such as tendinitis, fractures, or sprains)
  • Specific occupations that require long bouts of standing
  • Smoking (as it slows down any healing processes)
  • High impact sports and exercises
  • Pre-existing medical conditions (such as diabetes)
  • Use of wrong footwear
  • Pregnancy
  • Obesity

What are the symptoms of a foot injury or inflammation?

Pain in the feet can be expressed as mild, moderate, or severe depending on the condition and/or injury. Along with pain, different medical conditions may produce various symptoms in different locations of the feet.

Here is a chart that indicates the symptoms and specific location(s) of foot pain caused by several different medical conditions:

Injury/Condition

Symptoms

Location on the Foot

Corns and Calluses Rough, thickened skin that is yellow or reddish. Pain in affected area(s) Around the side, top, or between toes; bottom of feet; or parts exposed to friction
Sprain Pain, tenderness, bruising, and swelling All parts of the foot
Broken Foot Throbbing and sharp pain, deformities, tenderness, redness, warmth All parts of the foot
Stress Fracture Sharp, stabbing pain along with dull pain Weight-bearing bones of the foot
Flat Feet or Posterior Tibial Tendon Dysfunction (PTTD) Pain in affected area(s) Foot arch
High Arches (cavus feet) Pain in affected area(s) Foot arch
Morton Neuroma Cramping and burning pain, which gets worse while walking Between the third and fourth toe or the second and third toe
Metatarsalgia Pain, numbness, or tingling when moving Ball of the foot
Plantar Fasciitis Pain first thing in the morning (reduced with activity) Back of the arch right in front of the heel
Haglund Deformity (pump bump) Painful, red, swollen bump. Pain in affected area(s) Back of the heel
Sesamoiditis Pain with bruising and swelling Ball of the foot beneath the big toe

Corns and Calluses

Symptoms — Rough, thickened skin that is yellow or reddish. Pain in affected area(s)
Area on the Foot — Around the side, top, or between toes; bottom of feet; or parts exposed to friction

 

Sprain

Symptoms — Pain, tenderness, bruising, and swelling
Area on the Foot — All parts of the foot

 

Broken Foot

Symptoms — Throbbing and sharp pain, deformities, tenderness, redness, warmth
Area on the Foot — All parts of the foot

 

Stress Fracture

Symptoms — Sharp, stabbing pain along with dull pain
Area on the Foot — Weight-bearing bones of the foot

 

Flat Feet or Posterior Tibial Tendon Dysfunction (PTTD)

Symptoms — Pain in affected area(s)
Area on the Foot — Foot arch

 

High Arches (cavus feet)

Symptoms — Pain in affected area(s)
Area on the Foot — Foot arch

 

Morton Neuroma

Symptoms — Cramping and burning pain, which gets worse while walking
Area on the Foot — Between the third and fourth toe or the second and third toe

 

Metatarsalgia

Symptoms — Pain, numbness, or tingling when moving
Area on the Foot — Ball of the foot

 

Plantar Fasciitis

Symptoms — Pain first thing in the morning (reduced with activity)
Area on the Foot — Back of the arch right in front of the heel

 

Haglund Deformity (pump bump)

Symptoms — Painful, red, swollen bump. Pain in affected area(s)
Area on the Foot — Back of the heel

 

Sesamoiditis

Symptoms — Pain with bruising and swelling
Area on the Foot — Ball of the foot beneath the big toe

 

The most common ways that foot pain is expressed include:

  • Inability to move parts of the feet
  • Burning or tingling
  • Pain
  • Joint pain
  • Bleeding
  • Bruising
  • Stiffness
  • Swelling
  • Numbness
  • Cramping
  • Inability to move parts of the feet
  • Burning or tingling
  • Pain
  • Stiffness
  • Swelling
  • Joint pain
  • Bleeding
  • Bruising
  • Numbness
  • Cramping

When should I see a doctor for my foot pain?

Foot pain, however mild, can be debilitating if it limits one’s daily activities. If at-home remedies are not working and symptoms are increasing and/or getting worse, it is important to seek medical attention. If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, schedule a same or next day appointment with an orthopedic foot specialist at Advanced Orthopedics:

  • Redness, warmth, and tenderness in the region with an increase in temperature above 100 F
  • Pre-existing conditions (such as diabetes that inhibit the healing process)
  • Open wound with pus oozing
  • Severe pain
  • Pre-existing conditions that interfere with blood flow
  • Inability to walk or put weight on the feet/foot
  • Burning, numbing sensations
  • Persistent swelling

Seek immediate medical assistance at an emergency room or hospital if you are experiencing the following symptoms, as these are conditions are serious and potentially life threatening:

  • Paralysis in the foot or a side of the leg
  • Palpitations
  • Chest pain
  • Painful, persistent headaches
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Change in vision

What are the possible complications of foot pain?

Foot pain is usually the result of overuse or an acute injury, and will often resolve itself with basic at-home treatments, rest, and time. Complications can develop where immediate medical treatment is recommended. These include:

  • Joint deformities
  • Widespread infection
  • Abscess
  • Thrombosis
  • Sepsis
  • Gangrene
  • Shock

How is foot pain diagnosed?

An accurate diagnosis of foot pain requires a comprehensive evaluation. There are various steps that orthopedic doctors at Advanced Orthopedics go through to accurately evaluate a patient’s condition or injury along with a treatment plan to address any foot pain, which includes:

  • Understanding past and current medical history to check when and how the condition may have started
  • The specialist will conduct a thorough physical examination to assess the condition of the foot. Some of the steps can be as follows:
    • Comparison of one foot to the other to assess any visible changes and changes felt to the touch
    • Manipulation of the arch and the foot to identify the presence of any ingrowths, bumps, gaps, bruises, bleeding
    • Range of motion tests to compare the functional ability of the feet
    • Inspection of skin for signs of changes – discoloration, thickness, etc.
    • Testing of the nerves of the feet
  • Along with assessing the foot itself for different symptoms, specialists will also ask questions to understand the type(s) and level(s) of foot pain being experienced by a patient as pain can be expressed in the following ways:
    • Pain during any activity
    • Pain before and after an activity, without any restriction on the ability to move and function
    • Pain before and after an activity, affecting the ability to move and function
    • Severe pain that affects all activities
  • Tests – Depending on initial observations during the evaluation, the specialists at Advanced Orthopedics may also prescribe further tests to support an accurate diagnosis. These tests can include:
    • Imaging tests (such as X-rays, MRIs, ultrasounds, and bone scans to check for location-specific changes or damages to the bone and/or soft tissues)
    • Blood tests (to rule out the possibility of systemic diseases such as diabetes, gout, or rheumatoid arthritis)
    • Nerve studies (such as nerve conduction velocity and electromyography)
    • Vascular assessments (using doppler ultrasounds)

Case-specific tests and assessments may also be conducted based on the specialist’s initial assessment of a condition(s). Some of these tests may be a part of the physical examination, and include:

  • Tuning fork and visual perception tests
  • Monofilament test
  • Eversion stress test
  • Talar tilt test
  • Navicular drop test
  • Windlass test
  • Pinprick tests

How is foot pain treated?

The treatment of foot pain depends on the diagnosis, and can range from home remedies tips to complex, surgical interventions. At-home treatment options are usually sufficient for many conditions, which include:

  1. Changes to diet (avoiding inflammatory foods)
  2. Footwear with shock-absorbing soles
  3. Over-the-counter pain relievers
  4. Application of ice
  5. Simple exercises
  6. Use of foot pads
  1. Soaking the foot in warm water
  2. Use of a pumice stone
  3. Orthotic inserts
  4. Elevation
  5. Rest

Stronger medical intervention may be required based on the extent of pain being experienced by a patient. Specialists may begin a specific course of treatment which would include:

  1. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and other pain relievers
  2. Assistive devices such as splints, braces, and crutches
  3. Light and manual therapies for pain reduction
  4. Radiofrequency wave therapies
  5. Ultrasound therapies
  6. Physical therapy
  7. Laser therapies
  1. Special prescription footwear and/or inserts including custom functional orthotics
  2. Pain management therapies using electrical stimulation
  3. Prescription pain medication (case-specific)
  4. Biomechanical changes
  5. Steroidal injections
  6. Metatarsal pads

The orthopedic specialists at Advanced Orthopedics offer the latest treatments and technology to identify and resolve pain experienced in or near the feet for their patients throughout Central Texas. If you are pain, contact us for more information on treatment options available or to schedule a same or next day appointment by visiting www.austinpaindoctor.com or calling 512-244-4272.

Is surgery required for treating foot pain?

Surgery should be considered a last option when a patient does not find pain relief from previous non-invasive treatments or therapies. Surgery would then be considered to address the following symptoms/conditions:

  • Correct acute injuries (such as torn cartilage or ligaments, damaged tendons or bones, dislocations, and fractures)
  • Correct vagus heel or hammer toes
  • Remove rheumatoid nodules
  • Remove bone spurs
  • Reshape toes
  • Pain relief

Common foot surgeries include:

  1. Toe deformities corrective surgery
  2. Morton’s Neuroma surgery
  3. Achilles’ tendon repair
  4. Foot fracture surgery
  5. Fusion surgery
  1. Metatarsal surgery
  2. Reconstructive surgery
  3. Heel surgery
  4. Fasciotomy

Speak to an orthopedic specialist at Advanced Pain Care to understand the specifics of your condition and what treatment options are available to you.

How can I prevent chronic foot pain?

Simple tips can help prevent foot pain or keep an existing injury/condition from escalating into a chronic condition. These include:

Wearing activity-appropriate footwear

Practicing good foot hygiene

Maintaining a healthy weight

Avoiding uncomfortable footwear

Keeping a close watch on any pre-existing medical conditions

Exercising regularly

Following a healthy lifestyle

The orthopedic doctors at Advanced Orthopedics have decades of expertise in diagnosing and treating foot pain conditions and have in-house specialists to refer to and facilitate a comprehensive and multi-modal treatment plan for you (including Pain Management, Neurosurgery and Rheumatology). If you are in pain, there is no need to wait. Visit https://austinpaindoctor.com/ for more information on different treatment options or call 512-244-4272 to schedule a same or next day appointment with an orthopedic specialist to address your foot pain.

FAQs

Q: How can I make my feet stop hurting?

A: Foot treatments depend on the condition/diagnosis of the foot pain and can range from simple home remedies to surgical interventions.

Simple, at-home treatment options are usually sufficient to treat and alleviate foot pain that include:

  • Over-the-counter pain relievers
  • Application of ice
  • Elevation
  • Simple exercises
  • Rest
  • Use of foot pads
  • Orthotic inserts
  • Footwear with shock-absorbing soles
  • Changes to diet (avoiding inflammatory foods)
  • Soaking the foot in warm water
  • Use of a pumice stone

Q: What is the best medication for foot pain?

A: Over-the-counter pain relievers and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are usually the most effective medications to alleviate general/localized foot pain. If specific medical conditions are causing foot pain, they need to be evaluated and diagnosed by a specialist before prescribing the right medication to address a specific case of foot pain.

Q: Why do the soles of my feet hurt so badly?

A: If you have severe pain in the soles of your feet, the most common reason is plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the fibrous tissue that runs along the bottom side of your foot and connects your heel bone to your toes. There are various steps to take to alleviate this specific inflammation of the foot – often experienced by runners or those who participate in high-intensity sports activities.

Q: Why do both of my feet hurt so bad?

A: Foot pain can result from a simple strain or an acute injury, but it can also be a sign of a more serious health condition. Foot pain is a common condition caused by a wide variety of factors that include wrong footwear, prolonged periods of standing, age-related wear and tear, increased activities, overuse due to high-impact exercises, and repetitive work-related activities. Acute foot pain often is resolved with time, rest and at-home treatments, although consult with an orthopedic specialist at Advanced Orthopedics for a comprehensive evaluation, diagnosis and treatment plan if your foot pain persists.