Pain in One Foot Symptoms, Causes & Common Questions

Understand pain in one foot symptoms, including 10 causes & common questions.

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Contents

  1. 10 Possible Pain In One Foot Causes
  2. Questions Your Doctor May Ask
  3. Statistics
  4. Related Articles

10 Possible Pain In One Foot Causes

The list below shows results from the use of our quiz by Buoy users who experienced pain in one foot. This list does not constitute medical advice and may not accurately represent what you have.

Foot sprain

A foot sprain is damage to ligaments within the foot. The term "sprain" refers to overstretching or tearing of ligaments — the strong, fibrous bands of tissue that hold the bones together within the joints. Foot sprains are usually sports or dance injuries. Any sort of running movement that involves sud...

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Plantar fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis is a common cause of heel pain that occurs due to collagen degeneration and inflammation in the tendons of the foot. Plantar fasciitis can interfere with daily activities such as walking and exercise, and, symptoms can become chronic and result in pain in other body ...

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Morton neuroma

Morton neuroma, also called by the older name Morton's neuroma, is a thickening of fibrous tissue in the ball of the foot. This tissue encapsulates the nerve leading to the third and fourth toes. It is not actually a tumor of the nerve, as the name suggests.

The thickening is caused by years of trauma, irritation, and/or compression to the feet. High-heeled shoes, especially if narrow or tight, are a common cause. The condition is most often seen in women over age 45.

Symptoms include burning pain in the ball of the foot, especially with walking or running. The condition will not heal on its own and can lead to chronic foot pain.

Diagnosis is made through physical examination of the foot with simple range of motion exercises, and sometimes x-ray.

Treatment includes changing to better-fitting shoes that do not compress the nerve; using orthotics in the shoes to take more pressure off of the nerve; and in some cases the use of corticosteroid injections.

Rarity: Rare

Top Symptoms: foot numbness, pain in the sole of the foot, pain when touching the foot, pain in both feet, foot injury

Urgency: Self-treatment

Ankle arthritis

Arthritis simply means inflammation of the joints. Because the feet and ankles have many small joints and carry the weight of the body, they are often the first place that arthritis appears.

Arthritis is caused by a breakdown in the protective cartilage at the end of each joint, so that the bones begin to wear against each other and the joint becomes stiff and painful. This breakdown may be due to simple wear and tear; an injury; or from rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune condition which causes the body to break down its own cartilage.

Symptoms include swelling, warmth, and redness in the joint, and pain with movement or with pressure on the joint.

Diagnosis is made through patient history, physical examination, and imaging such as x-rays, CT scan, or MRI.

There is no cure for arthritis, but treatment is important because the symptoms can be managed to prevent further damage, ease pain, and improve quality of life. Treatment involves physical therapy, pain-relieving medications, and sometimes surgery to help repair damaged joints.

Rarity: Uncommon

Top Symptoms: swollen ankle, swollen foot, joint stiffness, pain in one ankle, ankle stiffness

Urgency: Self-treatment

Posterior tibialis tendinopathy

The posterior tibialis tendon attaches the calf muscle to the bones on the underside of the foot. It provides stability and arch support. If this tendon is damaged, the result may be a flat, unstable foot.

Posterior tibialis tendinopathy is most often a sports injury, where the tendon becomes inflamed or torn through overuse or high impact.

Symptoms include pain down the ankle and into the foot, sometimes with swelling. The pain becomes worse with any activity, even standing or walking. When standing, the patient's arch will be collapsed and flat and the front of the foot will point outward. The patient will be unable to stand on the injured foot and raise the heel.

Diagnosis is made through patient history, physical examination, and imaging such as x-ray, CT scan, or MRI.

Treatment involves rest, over-the-counter pain relievers, orthotics (shoe pads,) braces, and sometimes steroid injections into the damaged tendon. Surgery can be tried, but tends to be complex and cannot always restore the tendon completely.

Rarity: Ultra rare

Top Symptoms: swollen foot, pain in one foot, limping, pain in one ankle, spontaneous ankle pain

Symptoms that never occur with posterior tibialis tendinopathy: recent cutting accident

Urgency: Primary care doctor

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Broken ankle

An ankle fracture is a break in 1 or more ankle bones.

Rarity: Common

Top Symptoms: difficulty walking, constant ankle pain, swollen ankle, pain in one ankle, ankle pain from an injury

Symptoms that always occur with broken ankle: pain in one ankle, swollen ankle, ankle pain from an injury, constant ankle pain

Urgency: Hospital emergency room

Jones fracture (broken foot)

A Jones Fracture is a fracture of a bone on the outside of the foot (called the fifth metatarsal). A Jones fracture can be either a stress fracture (a tiny hairline break that develops with time), or a sudden break due to trauma. This can result in pain, swelling, and tenderness on the outside of the foot.

Rarity: Rare

Top Symptoms: difficulty walking, constant foot pain, pain in one foot, foot bruise, foot injury

Symptoms that always occur with jones fracture (broken foot): foot pain from an injury, pain when touching the foot, constant foot pain, pain in the front half of the foot, pain in the outside of the foot

Urgency: In-person visit

Broken foot (navicular bone fracture)

The navicular is one of the bones of the foot.

Rarity: Rare

Top Symptoms: difficulty walking, constant foot pain, pain in one foot, recent ankle injury, foot pain from overuse

Symptoms that always occur with broken foot (navicular bone fracture): pain in one foot, constant foot pain, recent ankle injury

Urgency: In-person visit

Stress fracture of the foot (marching fracture)

A "March" stress fracture of the foot is named because it's sometimes linked to soldiers marching for a long time. This foot fracture happens because of prolonged stress or weight-bearing.

Rarity: Rare

Top Symptoms: constant foot pain, foot pain from overuse, pain in one foot, pain when touching the foot, pain in the top of the foot

Symptoms that always occur with stress fracture of the foot (marching fracture): foot pain from overuse, constant foot pain

Urgency: Primary care doctor

Tarsal tunnel syndrome

Tarsal tunnel syndrome refers to the symptoms that result from compression of the posterior tibial nerve. The posterior tibial nerve provides sensation to the bottom of the foot and controls some of the muscles involved in foot structure and movement.

Symptoms of tarsa...

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Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Pain In One Foot

To diagnose this condition, your doctor would likely ask the following questions:

  • Have you ever been told you have flat feet?
  • Did you recently injure your foot?
  • How would you explain the cause of your foot pain?
  • Has a bunion formed on your foot?

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions

Please take a quiz to find out what might be causing your pain in one foot. These questions are also covered.

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Pain In One Foot Symptom Checker Statistics

People who have experienced pain in one foot have also experienced:

  • 6% Swollen Foot
  • 4% Swelling Of One Foot
  • 4% Lower Back Pain

People who have experienced pain in one foot were most often matched with:

  • 50% Foot Sprain
  • 25% Plantar Fasciitis
  • 25% Morton Neuroma

People who have experienced pain in one foot had symptoms persist for:

  • 32% Over a month
  • 26% Less than a week
  • 22% Less than a day

Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from Buoy Assistant (a.k.a. the quiz).

Pain In One Foot Symptom Checker

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