Common complaints and ailments that can cause foot pain

If you have pain in your foot (or feet), you want to know what causes the pain. Sometimes the cause is very obvious; If you have hurt yourself or if you have taken a very long walk while you are not a trained walker. In other cases, you’re probably going to examine your feet first. Nevertheless, the cause of foot pain is often found elsewhere in the body, in a place that does not directly associate you with pain in your feet but that may have to do with other physical complaints.

Hernia and foot disorders

Your spine is made up of stacked vertebrae. These vertebrae are connected by intervertebral discs that capture the shocks and make the spine move smoothly.
In the middle of an intervertebral disc is a soft gel. If this gel starts to roll out, it can put pressure on the nerve circuit and it gives pain symptoms. Most hernias occur in the lower back. Previously, I already wrote a blog about foot problems due to hernia.

A hernia can be recognized by persistent pain in your (lower) back. It is a typical irritating nerve pain that often persists 24/7. The pressure on the nerves in the lower part of the spine can cause foot problems. For example, you may experience numbness and tingling because the hernia puts pressure on the nerves that walk to the foot.
To relieve the pain of the hernia, change your walking pattern and load your feet and ankles in a different way. This can lead to overload.


 Rheumatism is a collective name for various disorders of the joints, muscles and tendons. In these conditions, the body’s defence system is disrupted, causing chronic inflammation. Most forms of rheumatism cause pain and stiffness in joints or muscles. As a result, you can move less well and that gives you constraints in everyday life. You can also get very tired or apathetic from rheumatism.

Many people with rheumatism have pain or stiffness in their feet. Problems with your feet also arise from swollen joints, enlargements or changes in the position of your foot. You may also suffer from a changed pressure distribution under your feet or a fragile skin and nails. You are more likely to experience friction, compression and overload of the feet.

Knee arthrosis

Knee arthrosis is a deterioration of the knee joint, in which the cartilage disappears, causing pain. The cause of the development of knee arthrosis can be age or an accident with the knee (sport injuries), but can also arise from rheumatism, infections, overweight and overload.
The complaints consist of pain in the knee and stiffness that is increasing. Also, the knee may be red and swollen. Especially walking stairs provokes the pain complaints.
Also with knee arthrosis, your walking pattern changes to avoid pain. In this way, other body parts, including ankles and feet, are extra loaded. Inserts support your feet so that they are corrected and can not penetrate. In this way you can prevent foot problems associated with knee arthrosis.

Peroneal neuropathy

Peroneal neuralgia is a painful condition of the fistula nerve, due to a damage and/or an improperly functioning nerve.  Peroneal neuropathy is seen mostly after a broken hip, thigh bone or ankle bone and after knee prosthesis operations. The physical complaints in peroneal neuropathy usually consist of severe burning and sticking pain on the outside of the lower leg and sometimes at the foot. There may even be a punch. The nerve can sometimes be treated with a pain block, causing the pain to disappear.

Phantom Pain

Phantom pain occurs after you have lost a limb by amputation or by an accident. A changed function in the brain plays a role in the pain experience. After all, you experience pain in a place that is no longer there. Usually phantom pain begins about 14 days after the amputation, but some patients do not experience phantum pain until a few years after the amputation. The pain often lasts for a few minutes or hours and alternates with pain-free periods. Phantom pain is defined as shooting, stinging, ticking, cramping, squeezing or burning. Usually the pain is felt outside the missing limb. Approximately 50% of patients also have stomach pain. Painful spots (trigger points) in the stomach are often present and can provoke phantom sensations and the phantoom pain. Sometimes neuropathic pain medication is prescribed.

Complex regional pain syndrome (CPRS)

Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) was formerly called posttraumatic dystrophy and is a chronic pain disorder. CRPS mainly occurs in the arms, legs, hands and feet.
The cause of CRPS is not known. It is believed to be a nervous system hypersensitivity or a nerve damage. It usually starts after a slight injury to the arm or leg, which turns into phenomena that resemble a severe inflammation in that place. The environment of the injury becomes swollen, red, warm (or rather cold) and very painful. The growth of nails and hair can change and cramp the foot. Over time, the pain often increases. The affected part of the body slowly becomes stiff and a reduced sensation may develop. Some patients recover completely, others are permanently ill. Even if CPRS occurs at the foot, it will have consequences for the walking pattern and thus cause foot problems. You can then best wear supporting inserts to correct your entire posture.

Unicellular arthropathy

Unicellular arthrosis is a degradation of the ankle joint in which the cartilage disappears, causing pain. The cause can be old age or an accident with the ankle or a sports injury. Unicellular arthrosis can also occur as a result of rheumatism and infections. Physical Complaints Related to Angioarthritis: restriction of movement and pain that increases with each load. Especially walking is painful. The ankle can be red and swollen. Often people with arthrosis of the ankle also have other painful joints. The ankle forms an important link in a proper settlement of the foot. Since a painful ankle makes it less able to provide support and start walking differently, it is advisable to support your feet with firm shoes and comfortable soles that provide sufficient support to the foot bow to avoid over-pronation.

Saphenous neuropathy

The saphenous nerve runs on the inside of the fist, along the inner side of the scapula. The nervus saphenus is a sensory nerve that passes through the knee and divides into several branches. One of these branches is responsible for the sensory nerve of the skin on the inner side of the lower leg. Saphenous neuropathy is a painful condition of the saphenous nerve, which is not functioning properly due to damage. Saphenus neuralgia often develops after varicose vein surgeries of the legs. 

The nerve can also be stretched or damaged by a crushed ankle or broken ankle. Also due to defects of the lower leg or ankle, varicose veins and bone or joint defects can damage the nerve. The complaints in a saphenous neuralgia consist of painful sensations on the inner side of the lower leg and burning and sticking pain.
Although this nerve does not pass through to the foot, the pain you experience will make you tend to move differently. The customized walking pattern increases the chance of injuries to ankles and feet. This also applies: a good support of the heels and under the foot arch helps to maintain a healthy walking pattern.

Sacro-iliacal joint (SI-joint)

The sacro-iliacal joint (SI-joint) is the joint between the intestinal bones and the sternum and is located in the pelvis. Pain in the SI joint can have various causes. For example, infections, arthritis, tumors, bone fractures and inflammation of the muscle ligaments are caused by overload. But unfortunately, there is often no proven cause.
The pain of the SI joint is just above the buttocks and radiates to the lower back, the upper leg on the back to the foot. Sometimes the pain radiates to the spleen. Long sitting, long standing and walking, the pain often provokes. Walking and cycling are usually best.

Risk factors for getting pain in the SI joint include, for example, a difference in leg length, an abnormal pattern of walking, scoliosis, heavy physical effort or pregnancy. In many risk factors, an unhealthy walking pattern or over-pronation plays a role. By supporting the feet properly, this risk is reduced.

As you can see, there are many physical complaints that affect the entire musculoskeletal system and the feet. A proper diagnosis is therefore important. Conversely, it often happens that, for example, pierced feet or weak ankles cause a wrong pattern of walking. And that can cause complaints elsewhere in the body. That is why we always say: Your feet are at the base of your body and take you everywhere. Give them the attention and care they need; that leaves a lot of inconvenience and complaints afterwards!

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