There are different types of foot pain, each with different symptoms. Below is a chart listing the symptoms and recommended footwear or orthotics for each type of foot pain.
Corns and calluses
These are rough, thickened skin that is yellow or reddish. The area may also be painful.
Around the side, top, or between toes; bottom of feet; or areas exposed to friction.
Wide (toe box) shoes; lamb's wool between toes; doughnut-shaped pads for corns
A nail curling into skin causes pain, redness, swelling, warmth, and, in severe cases, infection.
Sandals, open-toed shoes
Bunions and bunionettes (tailor's bunion)
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 necessary
Cramping and burning pain located between the third and fourth toe or the second and third toe. The condition is worse while walking and relieved by the removal of the shoes.
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
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
This condition is characterized by pain, numbness, or tingling with movement.
Ball of the foot
Wide (toe box) shoes; Shoes with a stiff heel and good arch support; orthotic with pad that reduces metatarsal pressure; inserts
Metatarsal stress fracture
Ache, tenderness, and swelling. Weight-bearing activities are difficult.
Long foot bones (metatarsals)
Low-heeled shoes with stiff soles; shoe inserts or braces
Pain occurs possibly with swelling and bruising.
Ball of foot beneath the big toe
Low-heeled shoe with soft sole and soft padding inside
Pain occurs with first steps after getting out of bed, decreases after stretching, and returns after activity.
Back of the arch right in front of the heel
Shoes with thick soles and extra padding; foot insole; heel pad; possible night splints; orthotics if necessary
Haglund's deformity (pump bump)
This condition is characterized by a painful, red, swollen bump.
Back of the heel
Shoes with a soft heel; backless shoes; arch supports
Sharp stabbing pain occurs with activity. May also include swelling.
Weight-bearing bones of the foot
Protective footwear; stiff-soled shoe; wooden-soled sandal
Tarsal tunnel syndrome
This is characterized by pain, numbness, tingling, or burning sensations. Pain may be worse at night.
Usually in the mid- portion of the foot and heel
Orthotics to relieve pressure
Flat feet or posterior tibial tendon dysfunction (PTTD)
People with this condition have no arch. They may have pain with activity.
Orthotics may be needed if there is pain
High arches (cavus feet)
Those with high arches may have pain when standing or walking or an unstable foot.
Soft orthotic cushions
Pain that worsens during physical activities.
Achilles tendon (the area behind the ankle near the heel bone)
Shoes with a soft heel; heel lift; walking boot