Foot Pain Self Diagnosis Guide

An explanation of Foot Pain by Dr. Gennady Kolodenker. “Dr.K” treats Foot Pain in Orange County, offices located in Irvine – Southern California.

Reason for Foot Pain Pain in the ball of the foot – Foot pain on top and bottom of foot

Achilles Tendonitis

Achilles tendonitis will mostly hurt at the insertion of the achilles tendon. The achilles tendon pain can radiate up the leg. Symptoms usually come on after overuse.
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Arthritis is inflammation around joints. Arthritis pain is usually relieved after a few minutes of walking. Pain is worst at the end of the day after activities. Arthritis can be seen after an injury or with age.
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Bunion pain is aggravated with tight shoes. There is usually increased redness on the medial aspect of the 1st metatarsal. There is a nerve that runs along the side of the foot that becomes compressed in wrong shoes. Treatment will be wider shoes or surgical correction.
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Callus or Corn

The name corn or callus can be used interchangeably. They form in an area of friction. The body forms these lesions to try and protect itself from pressure. Non-Medicated Pads work great to relieve the pressure.
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A fracture will result in pain after an injury. It is important to obtain an x-ray of the foot or ankle to evaluate the degree of fracture. If a fracture is suspected hold off on taking NSAID’s till your doctor clears you.
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Most people know when a gout attack comes on. Gout is rare in women. Most common complaint is severe pain in the foot. The pain is so great that the bed sheets hurt the foot.

Haglund’s Deformity

Haglund’s deformity is also known as a pump bump. Pain with irritation of the back of the heel in shoes. If changing shoes does not help then surgical excision of the extra bone works well.

Hallux Limitus

Hallux Limitus or Hallux Rigidus is arthritis of the big toe joint in the foot. The joint does not bend much. Initial treatment is orthotics and stiff shoes (hiking boots).

Ingrown Toe Nail

An ingrown toe nail will result in redness and swelling at the toe. Sometimes there is pus. Initial treatment should be to remove the nail corner. Soaking in warm water and epsom salt can also help for a short period of time. Antibiotics alone should not be used.


The term metatarsalgia and capsulitis of the foot can be interchangeable. Pain is usually present on the bottom aspect of the forefoot around the balls of the foot. The foot pain will be aggravated with walking bare foot, walking in sandals. Metatarsalgia can be thought of as a bruise in the foot. There is an injury to the capsular ligaments. If an MRI is obtained, it would show inflammation around the joint and tendon areas. Best initial treatment is rest. Finding a way to offload the forefoot is the number one goal to a recover. Metatarsal pads can be used to relieve the pressure and pain. If pain persists, consider a walking boot. This diagnosis can sometimes be confused with a neuroma or a stress fracture.
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With a neuroma there is sometimes a clicking feeling in the foot, toes can go numb. Treatment can be orthotics, different shoes, steroid injections, or surgical excision of the neuroma.
Osteochondral Defect

An ocd in the foot or ankle is damage to the articular surface that results in pain and arthritis. A period of immobilization should be tried prior to surgery.

Peroneal Tendonitis

Peroneal tendonitis usually presents as pain on the outside of the foot or leg. Sometimes an ankle sprain is involved. First line of treatment is rest and then strengthening

Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis is the most common reason for heel pain and bottom of foot pain. It is very rare to need surgery for this diagnosis.
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Posterior Tibial Tendonitis

Posterior tibial tendonitis (PTTD) is very common in a flatfoot. Orthotics or ankle braces work well to help relieve the pain. Strengthening the tendon is also important. This diagnosis is also common in runners that develop shin splints.

Sesamoid Pain

Sesamoid bones are on the bottom of the 1st metatarsal. The sesamoids act like the knee cap. Typical pain is direct palpation on the bottom of the foot. Pain aggravated with walking without shoes.

Stress Fracture

A stress fracture can be seen on an X-ray after about 3 weeks. For a quicker visualization of a stress fracture an MRI is needed. Initial treatment will be rest, possibly a walking boot can be purchased online .

Is the foot pain acute or chronic?

Acute foot pain: Possible injury, foot fracture, tendonitis, neuritis, ligament tear or rupture, tendon rupture. The list can go on. It is advised that acute onset of pain should be evaluated.

Chronic foot pain: plantar fasciitis, capsulitis, metatarsalgia, osteochondral defects, chronic tears.

This list of foot pain can also be very long.

If symptoms like foot pain , ankle pain, or heel pain are not subsiding after rest, elevation and ice then the injury should be evaluated.







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Last Updated 12-18-2016