Foot Pain

Pain in the bottom of your foot (ball, arch or sole) will often get better in a few weeks. See a GP if it does not improve.

How you can ease pain under the foot

If you see a GP, they'll usually suggest trying these things:

Do

  • rest and raise your foot when you can

  • put an ice pack (or bag of frozen peas) in a towel on the painful area for up to 20 minutes every 2 to 3 hours

  • wear wide comfortable shoes with a low heel and soft sole

  • use soft insoles or pads you put in your shoes

  • try to lose weight if you're overweight

  • try regular gentle stretching exercises

  • take paracetamol

Don't

  • do not take ibuprofen for the first 48 hours after an injury

  • do not walk or stand for long periods

  • do not wear high heels or tight pointy shoes

You can ask a pharmacist about:

  • the best painkiller to take
  • insoles and pads for your shoes
  • treatments for common skin problems
  • if you need to see a GP

Find a pharmacy

See a GP if:

  • the pain is severe or stopping you doing normal activities
  • the pain is getting worse or keeps coming back
  • the pain has not improved after treating it at home for 2 weeks
  • you have any tingling or loss of sensation in your foot
  • you have diabetes – foot problems can be more serious if you have diabetes
What we mean by severe pain
Severe pain:
  • always there and so bad it's hard to think or talk
  • you cannot sleep
  • it's very hard to move, get out of bed, go to the bathroom, wash or dress
Moderate pain:
  • always there
  • makes it hard to concentrate or sleep
  • you can manage to get up, wash or dress
Mild pain:
  • comes and goes
  • is annoying but does not stop you doing things like going to work

Go to an urgent treatment centre or A&E if you:

  • are in severe pain
  • feel faint, dizzy or sick from the pain
  • have a foot that has changed shape or is at an odd angle
  • heard a snap, grinding or popping noise at the time of injury
  • are not able to walk

These might be signs of a broken bone after an injury.

Find an urgent treatment centre

What we mean by severe pain
Severe pain:
  • always there and so bad it's hard to think or talk
  • you cannot sleep
  • it's very hard to move, get out of bed, go to the bathroom, wash or dress
Moderate pain:
  • always there
  • makes it hard to concentrate or sleep
  • you can manage to get up, wash or dress
Mild pain:
  • comes and goes
  • is annoying but does not stop you doing things like going to work

Common causes of pain under the foot

Pain in the bottom of your foot is often caused by exercising too much or wearing shoes that are too tight.

Your symptoms might also give you an idea of what's causing your pain.

Symptoms Possible cause
Pain, swelling, bruising, started after intense or repetitive exercise sprained foot
Sharp, burning or shooting pain near your toes (ball of your foot), feels like a lump or small stone under your foot Morton's neuroma
Sharp pain between your arch and heel, feels worse when you start walking and better when resting, difficulty raising toes off floor plantar fasciitis
No gap (arch) under your foot when you stand up, your foot presses flat on the floor flat feet (fallen arches)

Do not worry if you're not sure what the problem is.

Follow the advice on this page and see a GP if the pain does not get better in 2 weeks.

You can also read about pain in other areas of your foot.

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Page last reviewed: 01-04-2019
Next review due:01-04-2022

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