Foot Pain Causes, Symptoms and Treatment through Physical Therapy

The most common foot problem is heel pain, millions of people around the world suffer from heel pain each year. Fortunately, in most cases there’s a simple and inexpensive solution to heel pain, as well as most other types of foot pain.

Causes of Foot pain

Foot pain may be caused by many different conditions or injuries. Acute or repeated trauma, disease, or a combination are the most common causes of foot pain. Trauma is a result of forces outside of the body either directly impacting the body or forcing the body into a position where a single or combination of forces result in damage to the structures of the body. Poor biomechanical alignment may lead to foot pain. Wearing shoes that are too tight or high heels can cause pain around the balls of the feet and the bones in that area. Shoes that are tied too tightly may cause pain and bruising on the top of the foot.

Injuries such as ligament sprains, muscle strains, bruises, and fractures typically occur suddenly. Sprains, strains, bruises, and fractures may be the result of a single or combination of stresses to the foot. A sprain of the foot or ankle occurs when ligaments that hold the bones together are overstretched and their fibers tear. The looseness of ligaments in the joints of the foot may lead to foot pain.

The muscle’s bursa and fascia of the foot can be strained by overstretching, overuse, overloading, bruising, or a cut (such as by stepping on a sharp object). Achilles tendonitis is a common injury of the tendon that attaches at the back of the heel.

Foot Pain Symptoms

Here we mention some symptoms of foot pain depending on the lower back diagnosis:

  • Restricted ability to bring the foot up (heel walk).This specific symptom is characterized by an inability to bring the foot upward and may be accompanied by numbness in the middle lower leg and foot. Heel walk may occur if one of the spinal nerve roots in the lower back that innervates the sciatic nerve is affected.
  • Foot heaviness or weakness (foot drop). Often originating from a spinal nerve root in the lower back, foot drop refers to a weak or heavy feeling that makes it difficult or impossible to flex the ankle and bring the front of the foot up. Foot drop due to a L5 nerve root problem will usually also produce pain that radiates down the outside of the calf and over the top of the foot to the big toe.
  • Difficulty walking on tiptoes. Bottom of foot pain may occur if the sciatic nerve’s S1 spinal nerve root is affected. Typical symptoms of pain in the bottom of the foot may include weakness in the gastonemius muscle, making it hard to walk on the tiptoes, raise the heel off the ground or even complete everyday activities like walking or driving.


Physical therapy and foot pain treatment often go hand in hand when it comes to ensuring a quick and almost painless recovery for the patient. Foot pain is mostly caused by ill-fitting shoes, overuse or injury. Medical conditions and structural defects like diabetes and arthritis can also cause foot problems.

Here are some common foot pains and their treatments through physical therapy provided in ABC Physical Therapy

Achilles tendinitis happens when the Achilles tendon of the lower leg is injured. This can be caused by intensive exercise and other activities that tend to overuse the calf muscles and the tendon. Physical therapy and foot pain treatment comes in by doing the following steps: resting, applying ice to, compressing and elevating the affected area.
Broken ankle or foot happens when a misstep or an accident causes your bone to fracture. Treating a broken foot or ankle will depend on the exact location and the degree of the fracture. ABC Physical therapy for foot pain treatment involves allowing the bone to fully heal and recover. Once it has fully recovered, the patient will need to perform stretching exercises to improve the strength and flexibility of the muscles around it. Exercises that focus on range of motion may also be performed.