Foot pain may occur in one or both feet, but is mostly found in only one side. It is often accompanied by swelling, difficulty in walking, restlessness and insomnia. The foot is an intricate structure with two arches: the longitudinal and the transverse. The former arch runs the length of the foot, and the latter arch runs the width. Fibrous tissues, known as ligaments, primarily hold the bones of the foot together, providing secondary support to the foot. There are also fat pads in the foot to support body weight and absorb impact during weight bearing.
The foot is the foundation of most athletic movements. When foot pain occurs, it indicates that there is a disorder of the foot, either in the internal structures of the foot or with how the foot is interacting with external influences.
Many different things may cause foot pain. Physical trauma, such as sprain, muscle strain or bruises, or rupture and fracture, etc., is common causes of injury. Some diseases, such as arthritis, degeneration of foot bones, diabetes, gout, etc., may cause foot pain. Fungi and bacteria may also be the sources of foot pain. Ingrown toenails, causing irritation and local infection, may also sometime lead to foot pain.
According to TCM theory, foot pain may be caused by the invasion of External pathogenic factors, or of Toxic Heat, downward flow of Damp-Heat, stagnation of Qi and Blood or deficiency of the Essence of Liver and Kidney.
Foot pain may be attributed to any of the following disorders in Western medicine: injury to the soft tissue of the foot, rheumatic arthritis, arthrosis of the foot, gout, metatarsalgia, plantar fibrositis, plantar aponeurositis, fracture of metatarsal bone, bunion and hallux valgus.