Foot pain diagnosis is all about working out what is causing your pain so we know how to treat it effectively. One of the simplest ways to approach foot pain diagnosis is to start by thinking about where exactly the pain is. From there, we can focus on specific symptoms to work out what is causing your foot pain. There might be a problem in the bones, inflammation in the tendons or damage to one of the ligaments.

There are over 100 muscles, tendons, bones and ligaments in the foot so there are countless things that can go wrong.


Pain on the top of the foot

Pain on the top of the foot is a common problem. Every step we take places a force 1.5x body weight through our feet. Most cases of pain on top of the foot are due to either an injury, overuse, wear and tear or even ill-fitting footwear.

The most common causes of pain in the top of the foot are due to damage to the:

  • Stress fractures
  • Sinus Tarsi Syndrome
  • Hammer Toe, Mallet Toe or Claw Toe
  • Tarsal Coalition
  • Extensor Tendonitis
  • Tibialis Anterior Tendonitis
  • Gout
  • Ganglions
  • Nerve Damage


Bottom of Foot and Arch Pain

Foot arch pain is a common problem, largely due to the amount of pressure going through our feet, especially if you are on your feet a lot. This is because the muscles and tendons that support the foot arches have to work hard to stabilise the foot and can quickly fatigue resulting in pain on the bottom of the foot. Weakness and tightness in the foot muscles change how the forces go through the feet and up the legs so foot arch pain is often associated with back and knee pain too.

The most common causes of pain under the feet include:

  • Plantarfasciitis
  • Foot cramps
  • Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Plantar fibromatosis
  • Posterior tibial tendonitis
  • Stress fractures
  • Flat feet


Side Foot Pain

Pain on the outside of the foot is a common problem. 

The pain may be on the inner side of the foot (medial foot pain) or on the outer side (lateral foot pain). Symptoms may have come on gradually over time, or developed suddenly with an injury. Thinking about the location and onset of side foot pain can give us a good indication of what the problem is.

The most common causes of pain on the side of the foot include:

  • Ankle Sprain
  • Cuboid Syndrome
  • Peroneal Tendonitis
  • Stress Fractures
  • Bunions / Bunionettes
  • Foot corns and calluses
  • Posterior Tibial Tendonitis


Toe Pain

Toe joint pain is a common problem.  It can affect any number of toes but most commonly causes big toe joint pain.

This is hardly surprising, as when we walk 90% of our body weight goes through the big toe, also known as the hallux.

Common causes of toe pain include:

  • Gout
  • Arthritis 
  • Hammer, Mallet and Claw Toes
  • Bunions and bunionettes
  • Nail Damage
  • Turf Toe
  • Ingrown Toenail
  • Blisters


Where is your pain?

Pain can often radiate to more than one part of the foot which can make foot pain diagnosis tricky but start by thinking where your biggest area of pain is, or where it started. 

The above list of possible diagnoses is not exhaustive. There are many conditions that affect the feet. That is why the ProMed team are very focused on accurately diagnosing your condition. Accurate diagnosis results in specific and tailored treatment with exceptional outcomes.

We look forward to helping you resolve your foot pain. 

(Sourced from


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