Foot Pain Diagnosis

A foot pain diagnosis involves different kinds of tests including physical examination and the use of laboratory equipment.


The foot is made up of 52 bones. The foot needs to undertake major functions in order to function normally in its gait. It should be able to absorb the shock, become a firm lever for thrust, adapt to uneven surfaces, and adapt to rotating forces made by the hips (See: Hip pain). Together with the 52 bones, tendons, muscles, joints, and ligaments it works together to accomplish these goals. If one aspect is not functioning well, all the others may be affected. Foot pain usually occurs from time to time and is hard to avoid due to the pressure being placed on it.

What May Foot Pain Mean?

Foot pain is actually not a disease or disorder. It is a sign that something is wrong with your foot making a foot pain diagnosis important. Simple foot pain may just be because of calluses or worseissues, such as arthritis. The pain location may help give an idea of the problem.

Heel pain is common because of weight-bearing activities. The discomfort is mainly due to too much impact being brought to the area. This causes soreness in the area and is usually referred to as “heel pain syndrome.” This can be caused by high-heeled shoes, thin padding in the heel area, intense activity, or heels that are too low.

The foot’s largest bone which absorbs an intense amount of shock is the heel bone. In some cases, an abnormal growth occurs on the heel bone. This is called a heel spur. It is caused by calcium deposits that form when the fascia in the plantar area pulls away from the heel. This causes a bony protrusion. The bony protrusion causes extreme pain while walking or standing in the rear of the foot.

A deformed toe in which the end is bent downward is called a hammer toe. In a hammer toe condition, the middle joint in the toe becomes contracted. Hammer toe usually occurs in the second toe, but in rare cases all toes may be affected. It likely occurs in women who love to wear high heels and people who wear shoes that do not fit them. At first, the affected toe may still be able to straighten and move. But overtime, the affected toe may no longer be able to move. Pain may also occur when wearing shoes or walking.

There are a lot of reasons for foot pain. Others include, sesamoiditis which commonly affects people engaging in activities such as dancing or running. Sesamoiditis causes pain in the ball of the foot. Arthritis may also be a cause of foot pain. Gout (See: Gout Symptoms) is a form of arthritis wherein uric acid crystalizes in the joints of the big toe. Foot pain is an indication of many different disorders and diseases, and the only accurate way of identifying the reason for foot pain is through proper foot pain diagnosis.

How to Prepare for the Tests?

Preparation for a foot pain diagnosis is very important. This is to ensure that everything is in order before starting the examination. It also helps in lowering the patient’s anxiety level. Preparation includes a consultation with a physician. During consultation, an initial assessment will be done. Initial assessment includes the patient’s data about the foot pain. At this time, the physician will also inform the patient of what to expect during the examination. This time is also the best time to ask questions regarding concerns. The doctor may also advise you to rest a few days prior to the examination. When blood tests will be done, diet modifications or fasting may also be advised by the doctor.

How is a Foot Pain Diagnosis Done?

The doctor will ask you to undergo a series of examinations. This will include a full history, physical examination, and laboratory examinations. A full history includes when and how the pain began, activities done before the onset of pain, and what activities made the pain worse or better.

Physical examination for foot pain diagnosis would include the feet being examined visually and physically. The feet would be examined at rest and while doing a series of weight-bearing and non-weight-bearing exercises. The foot arch will be manipulated, touched, and inspected to identify bone deformities and tender spots. Then both feet will also be compared with each other. The examiner may also include tests to examine foot muscle function. These tests involve standing, walking, running, and resistance exercises.

A foot pain diagnosis also involves testing the nerves in the foot. Nerves are tested making sure that no nerve injury exists. This is also done because disorders in the nervous system may also cause pain in the foot.

A foot pain diagnosis involves different laboratory exams. Laboratory exams include: MRI, X-rays, and bone scans of the foot. These can be used to determine abnormalities that involve the foot’s soft tissues and bones.

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