Foot pain is a very common and can result from many different conditions. The feet and ankles contain bones, joints, muscles, tendons, ligaments, and a network of blood vessels, nerves, skin, and soft tissue. The parts of the foot work together to support the body and provide balance and mobility.

Foot pain can affect any part of the foot, including the toes, the balls of the feet, the insteps, the arches, the heels, and the ankles. Common causes for foot pain include flatfeet, plantar fasciitis, gout, bunions, corns, blisters, ingrown toenails, Morton's neuroma, and medical conditions, such as diabetes, arthritis, tendonitis, and foot injuries (e.g., fractures, sprains, strains).

Foot care is an important part of comprehensive medical care. Here are some questions to ask your doctor (e.g., podiatrist) about foot pain. Print this page, mark the questions you would like answered, and bring it with you to your next doctor's appointment. Asking the right questions can help you work with your doctor to prevent foot pain.

Questions to Ask Your Doctor about Foot Pain

  • What do you suspect is the underlying cause for my foot pain?
  • How will the underlying cause for the pain in my foot be determined?
  • What does diagnosing foot pain involve?
  • What types of diagnostic tests will be performed?
  • What can I do to reduce my foot pain symptoms while waiting for the test results?
  • Should I call for the test results, or will someone contact me?
    Date to call: Telephone number to call:
  • If the pain in my foot is related to a medical condition or injury, is the condition treatable?
  • Is this condition acute or chronic?
  • Do you recommend that I see a specialist for the pain in my foot? Why or why not?
    Specialist: Telephone number to call:
  • What treatments for this condition are available?
  • What type(s) of foot pain treatment do you recommend?
  • What are the benefits and disadvantages of this treatment for foot pain?
  • What is RICE therapy?
  • Might this treatment be helpful? Why or why not?
  • If over-the-counter or prescription medications, such as pain relievers, will be used to treat my foot pain, are there any side effects related to these medicines?
  • What should I do if my foot pain worsens or if I develop additional symptoms or severe medication side effects?
    Telephone number to call:
  • If the pain in my foot does not respond to conservative treatments, what other types of treatment are available?
  • What do corticosteroid injections, orthotics, and physical therapy involve?
  • Might these treatments be helpful? Why or why not?
  • Might the underlying cause for my foot pain be treated surgically?
  • If so, what does surgery to treat this type of foot pain involve?
  • What steps can I take to help prevent foot pain in the future?
  • Can you recommend resources for additional information about foot pain?

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

Published: 22 Jun 2009

Last Modified: 08 Dec 2011