Loading icon
Press enter or spacebar to select a desired language.
Health Information Center

Symptoms of Foot Pain: Quick Reference

  • Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
Publication Type:

Condition InDepth

Symptoms of Foot Pain: Quick Reference

Each type of foot pain is different. This chart lists the symptoms, locations, and footwear that may help.

Problem Symptoms Location Helpful Footwear, Orthotics, or Padding
Corns and calluses These are rough, thickened skin that is yellow or reddish. There may also be pain. Around the side, top, or between toes; bottom of feet; or parts exposed to friction. Wide (toe box) shoes; lamb's wool between toes; doughnut-shaped pads for corns
Ingrown toenails A nail that curls into the skin causing pain, redness, swelling, and warmth. There may also be infection. Toenails Sandals, open-toed shoes
Bunions and bunionettes The toes point inward. There is a firm bump on the outside edge of the foot at base of the toe that is painful and stiff. Big toe (bunions) or little toe (bunionettes) Soft, wide-toed shoes or sandals; bunion shields or splints; padding the bunion; shoe inserts if needed
Morton neuroma There is cramping and burning pain between the third and fourth toe or the second and third toe. It is worse while walking and better when shoes are taken off. Third and fourth toes, as well as second and third toes, and bottom of foot near these toes Wide (toe box), low-heeled shoes with good arch support; shoe inserts; padding in the shoes and/or between the toes
Hammertoe Toes form a hammer or claw shape. There may be pain and cramping. The second, third, or fourth toes Wide (toe box) shoes; straps, cushions, or pads
Metatarsalgia There is pain, numbness, or tingling when moving. Ball of the foot Wide (toe box) shoes; Shoes with a stiff heel and good arch support; orthotic with pad that eases metatarsal pressure; inserts
Metatarsal stress fracture Ache, tenderness, and swelling. Weight-bearing activities are hard to do. Long foot bones (metatarsals) Low-heeled shoes with stiff soles; shoe inserts or braces
Sesamoiditis Pain may happen with swelling and bruising. Ball of foot beneath the big toe Low-heeled shoe with soft sole and soft padding inside
Plantar fasciitis Pain happens with the first steps after getting out of bed. It eases after stretching and comes back after activity. Back of the arch right in front of the heel Shoes with thick soles and extra padding; foot insole; heel pad; night splints; orthotics if needed
Haglund deformity (pump bump) This is a painful, red, swollen bump. Back of the heel Shoes with a soft heel; backless shoes; arch supports
Stress fracture This is a sharp, stabbing pain that happens with activity. There may also be swelling. Weight-bearing bones of the foot Protective footwear; stiff-soled shoe; wooden-soled sandal
Tarsal tunnel syndrome This is a pain, numbness, tingling, or burning sensation. Pain may be worse at night. Usually in the mid-portion of the foot and heel Orthotics to ease pressure
Flat feet or posterior tibial tendon dysfunction (PTTD) People with this problem do not have an arch in their feet. It may cause pain with activity. Arch Orthotics may be needed if there is pain
High arches (cavus feet) This may cause pain when standing or walking or an unstable foot. Arch Soft orthotic cushions
Achilles tendonitis This pain is worse during physical activities. Achilles tendon (the area behind the ankle near the heel bone) Shoes with a soft heel; heel lift; walking boot


  • Foot care 101. American Podiatric Medical Association website. Available at: http://www.apma.org/files/FileDownloads/myFEETFootCare101.pdf.
  • Foot complications. American Diabetes Association website. Available at: https://diabetes.org/diabetes/foot-complications.
  • Foot pain and problems. Johns Hopkins Medicine website. Available at: https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/foot-pain-and-problems.
  • Foot pain in adults—approach to the patient. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/approach-to/foot-pain-in-adults-approach-to-the-patient.


  • Warren A. Bodine, DO, CAQSM
Last Updated:

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.