Foot hurts when walking - how to treat?
The human lower limb ends with a stop. It is represented by the metatarsal, tarsus and toes. The foot is divided into heel, instep, sole, arch, and dorsum.
Pain in the foot is associated with various diseases, so it should not be tolerated. It can be acute or chronic. In the latter case, the discomfort follows a person for a long time. Any part of the foot can hurt. Sometimes symptoms such as swelling, numbness, burning, rashes, etc. join the pain.
Pain in the foot can indicate a pathology of the foot itself, diseases of the lower extremities, and even general disorders in the body. To eliminate pain, you need to determine its causes and only after that start treatment.
Doctor-neuroogist M. M. Sperling talks about pains in the foot and lower leg that are common in neurology:
What diseases cause foot pain?
- Osteoporosis as a cause of foot pain
- Obliterating endarteritis
- Diabetic foot
- Plantar fasciitis, heel spur
- Metatarsal head bursitis
- Flat feet
- Foot injuries
- Transverse flat feet
- Osteomyelitis and panaritium
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Useful video from a doctor
What diseases cause foot pain?
There are many diseases of the foot, let's talk about the 15 most common ones.
Osteoporosis as a cause of foot pain
With osteoporosis, a person is concerned about pain, which can occur both during movement and at rest. The pain gains maximum intensity when you press the place where the bones are located.
Osteoporosis develops when bone tissue loses phosphorus and calcium. The provoking factors are:
- Errors in nutrition, when a person's menu does not meet the needs of his body for calcium and minerals.
- Loads on the foot that are unbearable for her.
- Aging of the body.
- Physical inactivity due to lifestyle characteristics or various diseases.
The period of bearing a child. In this case, the fetus picks up the missing trace elements from the mother's bone tissue.
- Endocrine system diseases.
Diagnosing osteoporosis will require an x-ray or CT scan.
The therapy is based on the intake of calcium and vitamin D preparations. Calcium must be taken by women who are carrying a child. This is especially true for the third trimester.
If the cause of osteoporosis comes down to endocrine diseases, then the patient is prescribed hormonal drugs.
Read More: About Osteoporosis Treatment
With varicose veins of the lower extremities, their overstretching and deformation of their shape occurs. If the disease has just begun to develop, then the patient will be disturbed by mild pain in the foot and lower leg, as well as a feeling of heaviness in them. Swelling of the legs is observed in the evening.
As the pathology progresses, veins begin to appear through the skin. The dermis itself will suffer from a lack of nutrition, it will become dark. During this period, the formation of trophic ulcers is possible.
The following factors can provoke the disease:
- Congenital malformations of the veins.
- Heart failure.
- Prolonged pastime in a sitting or lying position.
If the disease has just begun to develop, then it is necessary to use medicinal creams and ointments, which are aimed at eliminating pain in the legs. Compression garments must be worn. If the disease debuted long ago, then it is impossible to do without surgical intervention.
Read more: about the treatment of varicose veins
Obliterating endarteritis is widespread. It is accompanied by pain in the legs and other disorders. Men are more likely to suffer from pathology than women. Experts consider smoking to be the main risk factor for the development of the disease.
Pathology has been developing for a long time, the average age of its debut is 30-40 years.
In addition to painful sensations in the feet, a person will experience the following symptoms:
- Numbness of feet.
- Hypersensitivity of the lower extremities to the effects of cold. The pain with hypothermia of the legs becomes burning.
- The appearance of ulcers on the skin, the formation of which is due to circulatory disorders.
- Lameness and muscle weakness.
If you ignore the symptoms of the disease, then impaired blood flow in the lower extremities will lead to gangrene of the foot.
With early diagnosis of endarteritis, it is possible to stop its development by taking medications and using medicinal creams and ointments. In the future, the patient is prescribed microsurgical operations aimed at restoring blood flow. If the patient develops gangrene, then a leg amputation is necessary.
Diabetic foot is one of the most common complications of diabetes. Diabetes is accompanied by an increase in blood glucose levels, as insulin loses its activity and cannot fulfill the function of utilizing sugar in the body. Metabolic processes in the body are disrupted, cholesterol plaques begin to be deposited on the vessels, atherosclerosis progresses rapidly. Such violations lead to malfunctions of the kidneys and heart. Capillaries piercing the pillars and retina of the eye suffer.
With a developing diabetic foot, a person begins to experience pain in the lower extremities, his swelling increases, and lameness joins. The skin becomes unhealthy, trophic ulcers form on it. Legs grow numb, lose their former strength.
In order to prevent the development of severe complications, it is necessary to control blood sugar levels all the time, to take drugs that are aimed at burning it.
If the complication of the pathology has already manifested, surgical intervention may be required.
Read more: The main treatment for diabetes
Plantar fasciitis, heel spur
The sole facies is represented by a connective tissue plate. It originates from the heel bone, stretches along the entire length of the sole and ends at the head of the metatarsal bone. It is necessary for the foot to be able to cope with the loads that are placed on it.
When these loads are too intense, the plate can stretch too much, be injured and become inflamed. This inflammation is called fasciitis. Its onset is indicated by pain in the foot.
The development of the disease can be provoked by factors such as:
- Excessive loads on the foot, which are associated with hard work. Fasciitis often affects people who, due to the nature of their profession, spend a long time in a standing position.
- Obesity. The fascia is injured while walking, as an impressive body weight presses on it from above.
- Flat feet.
If a person suffers from congenital connective tissue abnormalities, then this can also trigger the development of fasciitis. The pain is localized in the side of the foot. It occurs in the morning hours, or after long walks. The person starts to limp.
As the pathology progresses, the fascia will ossify in the place where it is fixed with the heel. The pain becomes intense, stabbing. Even stepping on the heel is not always possible.
Fasciitis therapy boils down to the following steps:
- Maximum unloading of the feet. It is necessary to give up heavy exercise, long walking and running.
- Massage with ice or a cool towel helps to reduce the intensity of the inflammatory response.
- If flat feet are the cause of fasciitis, then the patient is shown wearing orthopedic shoes.
- The doctor will prescribe local therapy to the patient.
A heel spur can be detected with an X-ray. If the disease has just begun to develop, then you can get rid of it with conservative methods. When the disease progresses significantly, the help of a surgeon will be required.
Read more: How is heel spur treated?
Metatarsal head bursitis
The joints are the intermediate link between the phalanges of the fingers and the heads of the metatarsal bones. Next to them are the joint bags, which are called bursae. If a person is healthy, then the bursa is surrounded by a fat layer. As the body ages, it becomes thinner. During walking, the bursa is under significant stress. This leads to painful sensations in the foot. The skin in the area of the phalanges of the fingers may turn red. The pain intensifies when pressing on the affected area.
Bursitis is diagnosed by taking an x-ray. Therapy is reduced to taking NSAIDs and performing exercise therapy. In severe cases, the patient is injected with hormonal drugs. If the pathology is chronic and often aggravated, the patient is referred for surgery.
Read More: About Bunion
Foot pain is always a companion for people with flat feet. In this case, the normal shape of the foot is deformed, its inner arch is smoothed. As a result, a person rests on the entire surface of the foot while walking. The shape of the joints changes, the location of the bones relative to each other, which leads to painful sensations. Compression of blood vessels and nerve endings by the flattened arch of the foot increases the pain.
The reasons that can provoke this violation:
- Congenital malformations of the ligaments of the foot. In such people, the ligaments stretch faster, which leads to their deformation.
- Rickets transferred at an early age.
- Different leg lengths due to congenital skeletal anomalies.
- Excessive stress on the foot in a standing position. For example, weightlifters often suffer from flat feet.
- Wearing shoes that do not meet orthopedic standards.
- Injuries to the foot, fractures of its bone structures.
If flat feet have just begun to develop, then a person's legs will begin to tire quickly, but there will be no pain. As the pathology progresses, pains join, which constantly increase in intensity and can make the patient limp.
To detect pathology, X-rays and plantography are prescribed.
Therapeutic measures aimed at eliminating flat feet:
- Implementation of exercise therapy complexes. They must be drawn up by a podiatrist. Exercise helps to strengthen the muscular arch of the foot, which helps to normalize its shape.
- Using the correct orthopedic shoes.
- Walking on pebbles, on a cool surface. You need to harden your feet smoothly, without extreme.
- Use of orthopedic insoles.
- Application of pain relieving ointments and creams that will eliminate unpleasant symptoms.
The disease is accompanied by painful sensations in the foot. They can be localized in different parts of it, which largely depends on the location of the inflammatory process. The pain increases with physical activity.
Ligamentitis can be triggered by the following factors:
- Repetitive micro-trauma of the sole, which leads to the development of inflammation. To eliminate it, you will need to use NSAIDs, or the introduction of hormonal drugs.
- Past infections such as brucellosis. In this case, the patient is shown antibiotic therapy.
To clarify the diagnosis, you need to undergo an X-ray and ultrasound of the foot.
With ligamentosis, the ligaments of the foot become inflamed. One leg can be affected, or both at once.
Excessive physical exertion, impaired blood circulation in the ligamentous apparatus, microtraumas of the foot, which a person regularly receives, can provoke the development of pathology. The normal tissue of the ligaments is replaced by cartilaginous tissue, which later ossifies. For example, a heel spur is also a ligamentosis.
The pain in this pathology is intense, occurs while walking.
To clarify the diagnosis, the patient is referred for ultrasound and X-ray examination.
To get rid of ligamentosis, the following measures are shown:
- The affected limb must be provided with rest. At the time of treatment, they refuse to do physical exercises, do not stand for a long time.
- To reduce pain, ointments and creams with anesthetic effect are topically applied.
- A pressure bandage is applied to the affected surface of the feet.
- It is imperative to perform exercise therapy complexes, visit the massage therapist's office, undergo physiotherapy.
Foot pain is often the result of an injury.
These can be such types of damage as:
- The most common trauma that every person has encountered is contusion. When you receive a blow, a dull pain in the foot occurs, a bruise forms under the skin. X-rays should be taken to rule out the possibility of dislocation or more serious injury. To reduce pain, you need to apply cold to the damaged area. After three days, the cold is replaced with thermal procedures. An iodine mesh is applied to the site of the injury, and alcohol compresses are applied.
- During active movements, a person can get a sprain. The pain at the time of injury is intense, a hematoma forms under the skin, tissue swelling increases. The person suffers from limited mobility of the foot. A bandage is applied to the affected area, the leg is immobilized. To reduce the intensity of pain, drugs from the NSAID group are prescribed.
- Dislocation of the ankle joint, talus, subluxation of the tarsal bones will lead to intense pain in the foot. A person develops edema, a hematoma forms under the skin, it is almost impossible to move a leg. To clarify the diagnosis, you will need to take an X-ray. Treatment is reduced to bone reduction, the procedure is performed under anesthesia. In severe cases, general anesthesia is indicated.
- Ligaments can rupture if the foot is severely impacted. At the moment of rupture, a person experiences acute pain, edema and hematoma form almost immediately at the site of injury. The therapy is similar to that for sprains, but the recovery process will take longer.
- When a bone is fractured, the pain is very strong, edema is instantly formed in the area of damage, bleeding develops or internal hemorrhage occurs. If the fracture is minor, then its symptoms may resemble a bruise or sprain clinic. To clarify the diagnosis, an X-ray image will be required. When the bone fragments move relative to each other, they must be combined. The procedure is performed under anesthesia. If the fracture is not accompanied by displacement, then the foot is fixed with a plaster cast.
More: foot fracture - what to do?
Transverse flat feet
Transverse flat feet occurs in a person as he grows up. The pain in this case is localized in the center of the foot and in the area of its arch, and also spreads to the pads of the fingers, which are located at their base.
If a person's foot is healthy, then the main load falls on the first metatarsal bone. The 2nd and 3rd metatarsal bone experiences a moderate load, while the 4th and 5th metatarsals are practically not subjected to it. If a person develops transverse flat feet, then the 2nd and 3rd metatarsal bones will experience maximum loads.
Symptoms of a developing disorder:
- Pain that, in the early stages of the development of pathology, is concentrated in the big toe, and then spreads to the entire foot.
- Pain while walking that gets worse if the person wears the wrong shoes.
- The thumb swings out to the side so that the foot looks flat.
- The skin that covers the pads under the fingers thickens and thickens.
To clarify the diagnosis, the patient is referred for an X-ray examination. Minor violations can be corrected by wearing orthopedic shoes, performing exercise therapy and massage courses. Physiotherapy and the use of creams and ointments can relieve pain. If flat feet are strongly pronounced, then the patient is prescribed an operation.
Osteomyelitis and panaritium
Panaritiums are always accompanied by painful sensations in the foot. In this case, the toes of the pathogenic flora are damaged. They penetrate deep into the tissues through small wounds.
The pain is twitching, there is swelling in the area of inflammation, the skin is red. Purulent masses are released from the existing wound. If the disease has just begun to develop, then it is enough to treat the affected area with Vishnevsky ointment, ichthyol ointment or other local antibacterial drugs. If it is not possible to cope with suppuration, then the help of a surgeon is required.
Osteomyelitis is accompanied by suppuration of the bones that form the foot. An infection gets into them with the blood flow, or from the external environment through the lesions on the skin. The pain in the bones of the foot gradually increases, the body temperature rises, the person experiences a general deterioration in well-being. If the patient is diagnosed with osteomyelitis, then he is hospitalized. In the hospital, the patient is prescribed antibacterial drugs, if they do not have the desired effect, then an operation is performed.
Sometimes toe pain can be caused by an ingrown toenail. The plate begins to grow incorrectly if it was previously injured. The patient complains of intense pain. The appearance of the nail plate has been changed. The situation can be corrected only with the help of a surgeon. The nail is completely removed. The operation can be performed both under local and general anesthesia.
Read more: about osteomyelitis treatment
Gout develops due to the fact that the body's metabolism is disturbed, leading to the accumulation of excess uric acid.
The following factors can provoke pathology:
- Errors in the menu with eating a large amount of red meat and offal.
- Abuse of alcoholic beverages, caffeinated beverages.
- Disorders of the kidneys.
An attack of gouty arthritis is accompanied by the following symptoms:
- Joint pain that is concentrated in the big toe.
- The pain is very intense, aggravated by even a slight touch to the affected area.
- An attack can make its debut at any time of the day, but most often it develops at night.
- The foot swells, becomes hot to the touch.
- The attack lasts for a week.
- If gout becomes chronic, then uric acid salts begin to be deposited next to the sore joint. They look like growths and are called tofus.
Therapy comes down to taking anti-inflammatory drugs and dieting.
Read More: About Gout Treatment
This pathology is of an autoimmune nature. Small joints suffer with the disease.
Although the exact reasons for the development of rheumatoid arthritis have not yet been established, scientists call the factors that contribute to its occurrence:
- Excessive stress on the body.
- Emotional shock.
- Viral and bacterial infections.
The symptoms of the disease are as follows:
- The person gets tired quickly.
- In the morning hours, immediately after waking up, he will experience stiffness in the joints of the fingers and toes.
- The pain intensifies during static loads.
- During periods of exacerbation of the disease, the patient's well-being is disturbed. He experiences general weakness and malaise, becomes unable to perform the previous amount of work, refuses to eat.
In this case, the defeat of the small joints of the legs and arms is not the most formidable phenomenon of rheumatoid arthritis. A person can die from the fact that his body will be depleted, or from kidney failure.
To detect the disease, you will have to undergo a series of examinations, including donating blood and X-rays.
Therapy is carried out with anti-inflammatory drugs and antibiotics, diet and physical therapy.
Read More: 12 Ways To Treat Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatism has an autoimmune nature of origin. Infections caused by streptococci can provoke the disease. The body begins to actively fight pathogens, producing antibodies against them. However, they turn out to be harmful not only for bacteria, but also for the body's own tissues. Rheumatism affects the joints and heart valves.
The foot hurts with rheumatism not often. The ankle suffers only in severe infections.
Characteristics of pain in rheumatism:
- Pains in the area of the instep of the foot are localized.
- In addition to pain, signs of inflammation are observed: tissue edema, local increase in body temperature.
- The pain is intense, but does not last long.
Rheumatism is dangerous not only with joint damage, but also with damage to the heart valves.
To identify the disease, you must contact a rheumatologist. Therapy is reduced to taking anti-inflammatory drugs and antibacterial drugs.
Read more: about methods of treating rheumatism
Useful video from a doctor
Professor, neurologist, chiropractor and medical kinesiologist, Ph. D. Vasilievna Lyudmila Fedorovna about pain in the foot:
Author of the article: Kaplan Alexander Sergeevich | Orthopedist
Education: diploma in the specialty "General Medicine" received in 2009 at the Medical Academy. I. M. Sechenov. In 2012 completed postgraduate studies in Traumatology and Orthopedics at the City Clinical Hospital named after Botkin at the Department of Traumatology, Orthopedics and Disaster Surgery.