Foot pain is the worst. Whether it's a nagging ache in your heel or a sharp jolt in your arch, it can throw off your whole day. You can’t do your morning run or work comfortably. Even a quick trip to the store can feel like a marathon. But you don't have to just live with it. The first step to getting back on your feet is figuring out what's causing the pain. 

Let's look at the different reasons your feet might be hurting and some remedies you can try at home. We’ll also tell you when it's time to call in a podiatrist.

Common Causes of Foot Pain

Footwear Trouble

Stilettos and Other Ill-fitting Shoes

Fashionable shoes might look great, but they can wreak havoc on your feet. Constricting styles, like high heels, force your toes into unnatural positions. This increases the risk of developing bunions, which are painful bumps at the base of the big toe, as well as calluses, which are areas of thickened skin caused by pressure. 

Additionally, shoes that constantly squeeze your feet can lead to problems like hammertoes.

Lack of Support

Your feet need proper arch support and cushioning to distribute weight evenly and absorb shock. Shoes lacking these features strain your feet, particularly if you're active. This strain often leads to pain in the arches, heels, or balls of your feet.

Medical Conditions and Foot Pain


Several types of arthritis can cause inflammation and pain in the feet. Osteoarthritis commonly affects the big toe joint, while rheumatoid arthritis can impact multiple foot joints. Gout, a form of inflammatory arthritis, often causes sudden, severe pain in the big toe.

Plantar Fasciitis

This common condition causes heel pain due to inflammation of the plantar fascia, a thick band of tissue running along the bottom of your foot. The pain is typically worse in the morning or after rest.

Tendonitis (Achilles etc.)

Overuse or injury can inflame tendons, leading to pain and stiffness. The Achilles tendon, which connects your calf muscle to the heel bone, is a common site for tendonitis, making walking difficult.

Fractures and Sprains

A sudden injury can result in a fractured bone or sprained ligament in your foot. These injuries typically cause severe pain, swelling, and difficulty walking. While minor injuries might heal on their own, severe fractures or sprains often require immediate medical attention.

Nerve Issues

Diabetes and other conditions can cause nerve damage in the feet (neuropathy). This can lead to pain, tingling, burning, and numbness, increasing the risk of unnoticed injuries.

Other Factors

Aging and Foot Problems

As we age, wear and tear on joints and supporting tissues can make foot pain more common. The natural "fat pads" on our feet get thinner, reducing cushioning.

Overuse and Strain

Whether you're a runner, spend long hours on your feet at work, or simply overdo it, pushing your feet beyond their limits can lead to pain and inflammation.


Carrying extra weight puts additional stress on your feet and joints, increasing your risk of pain and injury.

At-Home Foot Pain Remedies 

RICE Method

Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation (RICE) is a classic first-aid approach for many injuries and pain flare-ups. Rest your painful foot as much as possible. Apply ice packs (wrapped in a towel) for 15-20 minutes at a time to reduce inflammation and pain. Gently compress the area with a bandage to help manage swelling, and elevate your foot above heart level when possible.

Over-the-Counter Relief

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen or naproxen temporarily reduce pain and inflammation. Follow the dosage instructions carefully. If the pain persists after a few days, consult your doctor.

Warm Epsom Salt Soaks

A warm bath with Epsom salts relaxes muscles and soothes aching joints. Add a cup of Epsom salts to a basin of comfortably warm water and soak your feet for 15-20 minutes.

Wear Supportive Footwear 

Don’t wear uncomfortable shoes. Choose comfortable, well-fitting shoes with good arch support and cushioning. Go for athletic shoes or supportive flats whenever possible and consider inserts or orthotics if necessary.

Stretches and Exercises

Simple stretches improve flexibility and reduce foot pain. Ask your podiatrist or physical therapist for recommendations. 

Topical Pain Relief

Creams and gels containing menthol or other pain-relieving ingredients provide temporary cooling or warming sensations that can distract from the pain. While helpful for mild discomfort, they might not be sufficient for more severe pain.

Remember, at-home remedies offer relief for many cases of foot pain, but they don't replace professional medical advice. If your pain is severe, persistent, or accompanied by other symptoms like swelling or redness, consult your doctor or a podiatrist.

When Can You See a Podiatrist for Foot Pain Relief

If You Experience Severe or Sudden Pain

Don't ignore intense pain that disrupts your routine or sudden, sharp pain following an injury. These symptoms could signal a serious problem. A podiatrist evaluates the situation, potentially using X-rays, to determine the cause of your pain. Treatment may involve immobilization, physical therapy, or even surgery, depending on the diagnosis.

If You Notice Foot Deformities

If you see bunions, hammertoes, or other changes in your foot shape, seek a podiatrist's evaluation. They assess the severity and impact on your life. Recommendations might include specialized footwear for comfort and to slow progression.  In more advanced cases, they might suggest corrective surgery.

If You Have Persistent Pain

When pain doesn't improve with rest, ice, and over-the-counter medication within 1-2 weeks, it's time for a podiatrist's assessment. Persistent pain often indicates an underlying issue. They perform an examination and possibly imaging tests to pinpoint the cause and tailor a treatment plan.

If You Have Underlying Conditions

Seek specialized foot care from a podiatrist if you have diabetes, circulatory issues, or nerve disorders. These conditions increase the risk of foot complications. Podiatrists help prevent problems and manage existing issues to minimize the risk of infections or serious complications.

If You Suspect an Injury

A podiatrist diagnoses the injury accurately for suspected broken bones, severe sprains, or tendonitis. They examine you and may use imaging tests. Based on the diagnosis, they recommend the best treatment, potentially involving immobilization, physical therapy, or surgery.

Remember, ignoring foot pain won't make it go away. By seeking professional help from a podiatrist when necessary, you can get a proper diagnosis and receive the right treatment.

Get Advanced Foot Pain Treatments at Haro Podiatry Center

The doctors at Haro Podiatry Center work with you to develop a personalized treatment plan. We offer advanced treatments to tackle the root cause of your foot pain and get you back on your feet, pain-free. 

Custom orthotics correct biomechanical issues, reducing pain and improving foot function. Physical therapy strengthens weak areas, improves flexibility, and helps you recover from injuries.  

For severe inflammation, cortisone injections offer fast relief. Cutting-edge laser therapy (if offered) reduces inflammation and speeds tissue healing.  

Finally, when other treatments aren't enough, our skilled podiatrists perform surgical procedures to correct deformities, repair complex fractures, and address conditions that don't respond to other therapies.

How To Keep Your Feet Pain-Free

While some foot problems occur unexpectedly, you can take proactive steps to prevent many cases of foot pain. Choosing comfortable shoes with good arch support and cushioning to keep your feet comfortable. Maintaining a healthy weight also reduces strain on your feet and joints. 

Listen to your body, rest and apply ice if you experience severe pain, and seek professional care if the pain persists. Finally, for individuals with diabetes or other underlying conditions, regular foot checkups with a podiatrist help catch potential problems early, leading to better outcomes.

Take Steps Towards a Pain-Free Life

Foot pain can disrupt your daily life and your favorite activities. Being aware of the causes of foot pain helps you find the remedy and prevent future issues. There are many treatment options for foot pain, ranging from simple at-home care to specialized podiatric treatments.

If you experience foot pain, contact a podiatrist to relieve your pain and help you achieve an active, pain-free lifestyle.

Ibrahim Haro, DPM
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NJ podiatrist helping Clifton area patients with diabetic foot care, foot pain, flat feet, and neuropathy.
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