Foot Pain Diagnosis

A personal and family medical history, physical examination, and diagnostic tests (e.g., imaging tests, blood tests) may be used to help diagnose foot pain. A family history includes information about structural foot problems and other medical conditions, such as diabetes, gout, and arthritis in the patient's family.

A medical history includes information about the following:

  • Additional symptoms (e.g., swelling, redness, numbness, warmth)
  • Circumstances surrounding the pain's onset (e.g., sudden or gradual, whether an injury occurred)
  • Exact location of the pain
  • Severity of the pain
  • Whether pain worsens or improves with rest or with activity

During a physical examination, the physician assesses the feet, legs and back. The position of the body as a whole (posture), the position of the body while standing (stance), and the manner of walking (gait) are also evaluated.

X-rays can be used to rule out fractures and other conditions (e.g., arthritis) and to determine bone density. Blood tests may be performed to detect conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis).

Publication Review By: J. Michael Lunsford, D.P.M., Stanley J. Swierzewski, III, M.D.

Published: 31 Jan 2007

Last Modified: 08 Dec 2011