Know your foot pain

Calcaneal Nerve Entrapment diagram

Know your foot pain

Heel and foot pain is arguably one of the most misdiagnosed conditions. Most heel pain is generally linked to plantar fasciitis, however there are numerous conditions that can cause heel pain. It is important to differentiate between plantar fasciitis and other conditions as treatment protocols can be quite different.

In this article we will breakdown the common conditions of the feet and discuss the typical signs and symptoms you will find with these conditions, to help you differentiate what kind of foot pain you are suffering from.

Here are 5 common conditions of the feet:


Morton’s Neuromas:

A condition that affects one of the nerves that run between the long bones (metatarsals) in the foot.

Location: Commonly between the 3rd and 4th or 2nd and 3rd metatarsals

Morton Neuroma Pain diagram

Signed & Symptoms:

  • Pain in the balls of the foot (may feel like walking on a stone or marble)
  • Shooting pain into the affect toes
  • Burning and tingling sensation of the toes
  • Ease with taking shoes off
  • Worse with narrow (toe box) shoes



Sesamoid bones are two small bones located under the big toe joint. Injuries or irritation to this bone from overuse and repetitive impact can cause pain under the ball of the big toe.

Location: Beneath the ball of the big toe joint

Sesamoid Pain diagram

Signs and Symptoms:

  • Starts as a mild ache, can quickly increase to an intense throbbing sensation under the ball of the big toe
  • Difficulty putting weight on the big toe or walk comfortably
  • Swelling or redness around the big toe joint
  • Pain with bending the big toe upwards


Calcaneal Nerve entrapment:

Entrapment and irritation of the Calcaneal nerve, which runs along the medial malleolus. Results in pain and numbness that radiates from the inside of the ankle, under the heel and into the arch of the foot.

Location: Distinct tenderness is felt at back of the medial malleolus and radiates under the foot.

Calcaneal Nerve Entrapment diagram

Signs and Symptoms:

  • Pain that gets worse with physical activity
  • Pressure sensitive along the calcaneal N.
  • Radiating pain from the ankle down into the foot.



Heel (Calcaneal) Spurs:

A bony growth forming on the heel bone. It is commonly associated with inflammation of the plantar fascia.

Location: It can be located under the sole (plantar fascia attachment).

Plantar fascia and heel spur diagram

Signs and Symptoms:

  • Pain during weight-bearing activities, in the morning or after a period of rest (due to an inflammatory response)
  • Heel pain around the attachment site of the plantar aponeurosis


Plantar fasciitis:

Involves pain and inflammation of a thick band of connective tissues, called the plantar fascia that runs across the bottom of your foot and connects your heel bone to your toes

Location: Pain in the bottom of the foot and slightly in front of where the plantar fascia connects to your heel bone

Plantar fascia and heel spur diagram

Signs and Symptoms:

  • Pain/tenderness towards the bottom of the heel
  • Sharp heel pain inside the heel (just behind the arch of the foot)
  • Pain noticeably when getting out of bed in the morning or getting out of a chair after sitting down for a long period of time.
  • Pain after prolonged activity
  • Painful or uncomfortable sensation when flexing the foot and toes upwards, towards the shin.
  • Foot tingling or burning sensation.


Still unsure of what foot problems you may be suffering from? Book in with our chiropractor to get a comprehensive assessment to identify what type of foot problem you have!


Post by: Chiropractor Steven Tran