You only have two feet and they must carry all of your weight every day of your life. This constant workload provides ample explanation for foot maladies. The fact that feet are complex structures made up of tendons, ligaments, muscles and some fairly small and delicate bones makes it even more likely that you may experience foot pain at some point (or many points) in your life. Top of the foot pain is especially troubling and baffling. In this article, we explore the causes and treatments for pain on the top of the foot. Read on to learn more…..
When And Why Does Top Of The Foot Pain Occur?
Pain on the top of the foot can range from minor to severe and may happen while running, walking or even simply standing still. There are many different reasons why you may be experiencing this type of pain. Among them are:
- Excessive time on your feet
- Chronic illness
- Tight shoes
Any combination of these activities and conditions or seemingly unrelated injuries can cause problems such as:
1. Peroneal Nerve Dysfunction is caused by problems with a branch of your sciatic nerve. This condition can cause pain and tingling on the top of your foot. It may also cause weakness in your feet and lower legs.
2. Sinus Tarsi Syndrome is fairly rare. This is the inflammation of the channel that runs from the heel bone to the ankle bone (the sinus tarsi). If you have this condition the top of your foot and the outside of your ankle will hurt.
3. Stress fractures of the delicate bones on the tops of your feet (the metatarsals) naturally cause pain. If you have swelling and focused pain, suspect a stress fracture.
4. Peripheral Neuropathy is a condition that often accompanies diabetes. This condition can cause numbness, prickling and pain in your feet and your legs.
5. Extensor Tendonitis is a condition that may be the result of wearing shoes that are too tight. In this conditions, the pain comes from inflammation of the tendons on the top of your foot.
6. Gout is a chronic condition that may come on suddenly and cause the base of your big toe to hurt.
7. Bone Spurs may develop on the tops of your toe joints, causing pain.
Your Doctor Or Podiatrist Can Diagnose Your Problem
If your pain is very severe and prevents you from sleeping or from walking or performing other activities of daily living, you should simply skip the home treatment and seek medical attention right away.
For less severe pain, the classic combination of rest, ice, compression and elevation (RICE) can work wonders; however, if you try this treatment for a few days without result you should see your doctor or podiatrist.
What Will The Doctor Look For?
When you visit your doctor, he or she will ask you about any activities you may have been engaged in that might have injured your foot. Your doctor will also ask about other symptoms which you may not realize are related.
Your doctor will also perform an examination and may press on various areas on your foot to judge the location and severity of your pain. You may be asked to roll your foot, walk and/or perform some range of motion exercises.
For example, your doctor may ask you to flex your foot downward and then pull it up against resistance. If this causes you pain, you may have Extensor Tendonitis.
Your doctor may have your foot x-rayed to determine if you have bone spurs or a broken or fractured bone.
Even though it may seem unrelated, your doctor may call for blood tests to see if you have a chronic condition such as gout.
You may need a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan to determine whether you have damaged your peroneal nerve.
How Can Top Of The Foot Pain Be Treated?
There are many different ways to treat top of foot pain, depending upon the cause. It is important to take this treatment seriously because neglecting any of the conditions that can cause this type of pain could lead to significant disability in the long run.
Once your doctor has made a complete diagnosis, he or she may prescribe:
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) or other types of anti-inflammatory products, supplements or diet to help reduce inflammation caused by gout or other conditions or injuries.
- Physical therapy to help with problems such as peroneal nerve damage, extensor tendonitis or peripheral neuropathy.
- Support, such as a walking boot or a cast to treat a fracture or a broken bone.
Home remedies can also be helpful. RICE is always a good idea, and you can talk with your doctor about other treatments such as foot soaks, massage and foot and ankle exercises that are appropriate to your specific situation.
What Is The Prognosis For Top Of Foot Pain?
If you get a proper diagnosis right away, begin treatment and pursue it consistently you can expect to resolve your top of foot pain successfully. When you first experience pain in the top of your foot, get off your feet. Follow RICE therapy for a minimum of five days, resting your feet as much as possible and applying ice for twenty minutes at a time to help reduce any swelling and inflammation you may be experiencing. If your pain has not resolved or reduced significantly within five days, see your doctor.
No matter what sort of foot, ankle or leg problem you may be experiencing, the importance of well-fitted shoes and good foot support cannot be overstated. When purchasing footwear, be sure to focus on quality and fit for long-lasting comfort and good foot health.
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