Foot pain is not an uncommon complaint. As the foot carries the weight of the body, it becomes prone to pain and other injuries. The foot is a complicated network of 24 bones, tendons, ligaments and muscles that form two crossing arches of the foot. The pain can be felt anywhere in the foot from the heels, toes, arch, or even the sole. When there is pain in the foot, it usually indicates that there is a problemwith the interaction within the internal foot structures or there is a problem with hoe the foot interacts with its external influences. Mild foot pain can often be managed with sufficient home treatment, it may, however, take time to heal.
Causes of Foot Pain
There is a wide variety of what can cause foot pain. There are many factors that may lead to pain thus making it difficult,at times, to diagnose the source of pain. The common causes of foot pain include the following:
- Standing on the feet for extended periods of time
- Fractures and toe dislocations
- Sprains and muscle strains
- Foot deformity
- Achilles tendonitis
- Poor-fitted shoes that are too tight or narrow for the feet or high heels
- Walking or engaging in sports too much
- Trauma such as from running in surfaces that are either too hard or too soft
- Hammer toes and mallet toes
- Bunions, calluses and corns
- Ingrown nails
When to See a Doctor Regarding Foot Pain
Foot pain can either be dull or sharp, or appear suddenly or gradually. The following are hints as to give the reader an idea when to contact the proper person for the foot pain.
- When to visit the doctor immediately
- Open wound or if there is oozing pus
- Signs of infection: red streaks from the wound, warmth and tenderness in the area, and fever
- Intense pain and swelling
- Unable to bear weight on the affected weight
- A diabetic with a wound that is not healing
- When to schedule a visit to the doctor
- Pain that lasts for several weeks without improvement
- Burning, tingling or numb sensation in the foot
- Swelling that lasts 2-5 days despite home treatment
First Aid Management of Foot Pain
Treatment will vary on the underlying cause of foot pain, but home
treatment can usually manage mild foot pain, even in cases of fractures, until proper medical attention is given. To manage foot pain at home:
- For cases of sprains and broken bones, follow the RICE method.
- Rest the affected foot and avoid doing any more activities.
- Ice the affected area for 15-20 minutes thrice daily. Wrap the ice in a towel or any cloth.
- Compress the affected foot using a compression bandage to limit swelling.
- Elevate the affected area as much as possible also to limit swelling.
- If the bone is broken, apply a sling.
- For other possible causes of foot pain, the RICE method may also be done but the following steps are also recommended:
- Wear foot pads to reduce friction that may increase irritation.
- Massage the foot to increase blood follow. Avoid this if it causes pain.
- Take over-the-counter pain medications such as paracetamol or ibuprofen but make sure this is approved by the doctor especially if there is history of gastrointestinal, ulcer or liver problems.
Disclaimer: This article does not provide medical advice or treatment. This information given should not be used for self-diagnosis of the possible conditions. Seek medical attention when needed. To learn more about how to manage foot pain and other body pains, enrol in First Aid Courses with workplace approved training.