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Burning pain on sole of foot

I have been having intense burning pain in the sole of my right foot for over a month now. It has been getting worse and is aggravated by standing. What could it be? Should I be concerned?

28 August 2019

This content was last reviewed in August 2019 by Pedro Santos, a registered nurse in our Health at Hand team.

Foot pain on the sole of the foot can have different causes depending upon where on the sole the pain is:

Front of sole: Metatarsalgia

Pain that stems from the front, or the “ball” of the foot, is known as Morton’s Neuroma or Metatarsalgia. A shooting pain usually occurs when you walk, but can still be felt as a burning sensation when standing. It can be caused by wearing ill fitting or tight shoes, which can cause the feet bones to be squeezed together, pressing and squashing the nerve. To relieve the pain, you should rest your feet regularly and take anti-inflammatory medication to relieve the pain (discuss with a pharmacist). Ensure that your shoes are comfortable and have plenty of toe room.

Middle of sole: Post tibial tendonitis

This term is used to describe the inflammation that can occur on the posterior Tibial Tendon. The posterior tibial tendon runs along the inside of the ankle and the foot. If the tendon becomes inflammed, it cannot support the arch of the foot, which can then cause “flat feet”. People with flat feet are known to suffer from arch pain, Plantar Fascitis, Heel Spurs and heel pain.

Back of sole: Plantar fasciitis

This condition is characterised by pain in the back of your foot around your heel and arch. This is due to an inflammation of the plantar fascia, a ligament that runs from your heel to the front of your foot. Usually this is treated at home although some help might be needed from your GP/pharmacist should you need equipment like insoles.

The pain of these conditions will be exacerbated by weight bearing sports and being overweight, when the muscle is overused and the tendon/ligament that connects the muscle to your bone becomes strained. To reduce the pain of the inflammation, it is important to rest the foot arch for several days and gradually increase activity, allowing time forhealing to occur. If necessary, you could consider wearing a specialised shoe insole or foot orthotic. If symptoms persist however, seek medical assessment.

Answered by the Health at Hand team.

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