Foot and lower leg pain
Are you experiencing pain in your feet or lower limbs? This can provide clues to many related ailments throughout your body. Here is a round-up of what your various pain signals may indicate.
What are the main causes of foot and lower limb pain?
There are many causes of foot pain and lower limb pain, including:
- Injury – such as sprains, breaks and fractures
- Arthritis – inflammation of the joints
- Tendinitis – inflammation of tendon structures that attach to the bones of your feet (e.g. the Achilles which connects your calf muscle to your foot)
- Shin splints – inflammation of the shin bone
- Peripheral vascular disease – where blood flow is constricted
- Osgood Shattler Disease – inflammation in the knee and common in children
- Deep vein thrombosis – caused by blood clots, clots which can be serious
- Sciatica and radiculopathy – caused by pinched nerves
- Buerger’s disease – swelling of the arteries causing pain in the legs if this is the area affected • Flat feet, corns, callouses, bunions or a range of other ailments.
Are there preventative measures I can take?
A good step is to see your podiatrist, who can assess and treat you as part of a personalised treatment plan. It can also help to look after your overall general health – by drinking plenty of water, wearing correct footwear and exercising regularly where possible.
What is the best treatment?
No single treatment works for everyone, which is why it is so important to see a podiatrist who can tailor a treatment plan to specifically reflect your needs.
Treatment for pain can be varied – to include anti-inflammatory medications such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen. Whereas if swelling and inflammation is the cause of pain – ice packs, strapping and stretching can form part of your treatment plan. For biomechanical issues – such as flat feet or bunions – orthotics may be prescribed as part of a wider treatment plan.
Given the complexity of ailments affecting the feet and lower limbs, only your podiatrist can prescribe the treatment most suited to your needs.
Last Reviewed: 10/10/2018
Reproduced with kind permission of the Australian Podiatry Association.
Foot pain - top 10 causes
Foot pain may be in the arch of the foot, along the outer side of the foot, on the sole or in the ball of your foot, or in the toes, heels or ankles.
Leg ache - causes and symptoms
Leg ache or leg pain is a symptom with many possible causes, that may involve muscles, nerves or blood vessels.
Posterior tibial tendon injury
Posterior tibial tendonitis occurs when the posterior tibial tendon becomes inflamed or torn, causing pain on the inside of the shin, ankle or foot.
Heel pain - plantar fasciitis
Heel pain is most commonly caused by plantar fasciitis, a chronic overuse injury of the thick band of tissue on the sole of the foot, known as the plantar fascia.
Shin pain (shin splints)
Shin pain or shin splints encompasses a few specific conditions causing pain down the shin or along the inside of the lower leg.