Pain on the Top of the Foot

We get many patients who come to our office complaining of pain on top of the foot. There’s a broad list of things that can go wrong with the foot however with a proper exam, a diagnosis and the correct treatment plan can be put in place to get you back on your feet. Here are some of the most frequently seen complaints in our office.

One of the most common injuries we see are stress fractures of the metatarsal bones. Patients often come in complaining of sharp pain and swelling just on top of the foot and just before the toes. The pain usually slowly comes out of nowhere and without a history of a traumatic injury. Unless properly diagnosed and treated, the fracture can get worse and take longer to heal.

The big toe joint has proven to be troublesome for a lot of people as well. Patients come in complaining of a painful “bunion” when in actuality it is large bone spur caused by degenerative arthritis of the big toe joint. The big bone spur causes jamming of the big toe joint and prevents it from moving up and down smoothly. This can lead to a sharp, aching pain as well as swelling. The boney prominence from the bone spur can cause irritation in a tight shoe as well.

Another area that can be painful that’s on top of the foot is at the sinus tarsi. The sinus tarsi is the area right below ankle bone on the outside portion of your foot. When your arch collapses, it can impinge on ligaments and nerves that run within this small canal formed by your foot bones. Sometimes it is the bones themselves that are jamming against each other that causes the pain.

Degenerative joint disease, which is better known as Arthritis, is also often the culprit behind generalized aches and pains on top of the foot. This is usually coupled with generalized swelling and is seen in both feet especially those with fallen arches. When an x-ray rules out any bony deformities, we then look at the possibility of one of the many tendons on top of the foot being inflamed or irritated. This condition is known as tendonitis and is marked by aching pain on top of the foot that is made worse with activity and improved with rest. Symptoms can be replicated with curling or flexion of the toes.

If you are experiencing any of these conditions, we recommend coming in for a full examination by our doctors. Often times, they can be treated conservatively with something as simple as a custom orthotic and some medication. Let our podiatrists help you avoid having to get surgery if at all possible!

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