Questions to Ask for Effective Foot Pain Treatment

Foot pain can be a real bummer. It can make even the most routine activities difficult, if not impossible.

The good news is that there are things you can do at home to help relieve your foot pain. These include resting the feet, using ice to reduce swelling, elevating the feet, and taking over-the-counter pain medication.

What is the Cause of My Foot Pain?

Foot pain can occur all over the bottom of the feet (plantar surfaces) or in the arch, ball and toes. There are many possible causes of foot pain, including injury, a medical condition, poor footwear or normal wear and tear.

Your healthcare provider will ask you questions about your symptoms and health history, then do a physical exam. They may order X-rays or an MRI to find out what is causing your foot pain and provide effective foot pain treatment in Canberra.

For example, a bone bruise (contusion) from stepping on a hard object can damage the fat padding under your heel. This results in pain when you walk or stand for long periods of time. Plantar fasciitis is a common cause of heel pain, which affects the tissue that runs along the bottom of your foot and supports your arch. This condition often gets worse when you start a new activity or get up after sitting or sleeping for long periods of time.

Other conditions that can cause foot pain include tarsal tunnel syndrome, which causes pain in the front of your arch, and arthritis such as reactive arthritis or psoriatic arthritis. These conditions cause inflammation of the joints in your feet and can also irritate the skin around them. These conditions usually improve with lifestyle changes and treatment, but some may require a prescription drug such as disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs.

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Do I Need to See a Doctor?

Foot injuries can cause significant pain and limit mobility. If at-home treatments like resting, icing the affected foot, using a support brace and over-the-counter pain relievers don’t reduce or eliminate your pain, it’s time to see a foot and ankle specialist.

It’s especially important to visit a foot doctor when you’re experiencing severe pain, unable to put weight on your foot or ankle, or have an open wound in your foot that won’t heal. It’s also wise to visit a foot specialist if you have tingling, burning or numbness in your feet because these may be symptoms of nerve damage (called neuropathy) that will not respond to at-home treatment.

If your foot pain is due to an overuse injury or a chronic medical condition, conservative treatment modalities like stretching and arch supports may help you manage your foot pain without surgery. However, if the pain persists and limits your daily activities, surgery may be an option.

In some cases, a surgery can restore more normal foot movement by removing or repairing the damaged tissue. This can be done in a minimally invasive outpatient procedure, depending on the type of surgery required. Ask your foot and ankle specialist about a follow-up schedule so they can monitor your recovery to make sure your pain is controlled. This can include a physical exam and an evaluation of your current treatment plan.

What Can I Do at Home to Help My Foot Pain?

Whether you are experiencing foot pain from overuse or an injury, there are many things you can do at home to help with your discomfort. The first step is resting the foot if possible. This is one of the most important things you can do to relieve your pain and allow the injured tissue to heal.

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You can use ice packs or cold compresses on the area that is inflamed or swollen. However, do not apply the ice directly to your skin. Instead, wrap ice in a towel and hold it on the foot for 20 minutes at a time. This helps to decrease swelling in the feet which will help with your pain.

Stretching the muscles of the foot and ankle can also be helpful in reducing pain from overuse or over-stressing. This can include calf and heel stretches, toe spreads, and towel scrunching. You can also do balance exercises to improve the strength of your feet and ankles.

Some people may need to take over-the-counter pain relievers like aspirin or ibuprofen to help with their foot or ankle pain. However, anyone who continues to experience pain after attempting these at-home treatments should consult with their doctor for further treatment options. This could include additional home care, prescription medications, or a minor surgical procedure. Pain that does not improve with self-care may be a sign of a serious problem in your foot or ankle.

How Long Will It Take to See a Doctor?

Many foot problems can be treated with rest, ice and at-home care. However, if you have pain or swelling that does not go away with these measures, it is important to see a healthcare provider such as Capital Podiatry ( They will help you find treatments to relieve your foot pain and improve your quality of life.

Your doctor may use a physical exam and X-rays to find the cause of your foot pain. They will also ask you about your symptoms and how the foot pain affects your daily activities. They may suggest a variety of treatments, including physical therapy, over-the-counter pain relievers and injections.

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For example, if you have pain in the ball of your foot (metatarsalgia), your doctor may recommend using shoe inserts to ease pressure on this area. You may also benefit from icing the area as often as possible and using an over-the-counter foot massager. Injections can relieve a variety of conditions, such as metatarsalgia or tarsal tunnel syndrome. They may also inject steroids to reduce inflammation or shock wave therapy.

Over-the-counter NSAIDs, like acetaminophen and ibuprofen, can help with pain and inflammation. If these do not work, your doctor may prescribe a COX-2 inhibitor, such as celecoxib (Celebrex), which can relieve pain and inflammation and may lower your risk of gastric ulcers or bleeding. These medications can be taken long-term, but you should consult your healthcare provider to determine the right dose for you.