What Causes Pain On Top Of The Foot?

Some of us have to stay on our feet at all times. It could be due to work or a general routine. As our feet are responsible for carrying our entire body weight, they are more susceptible to getting injured or suffering from long-term pain.

At times, we wake up with sudden pain on the top of our feet. This could either be due to some external injury, or it may have an underlying cause. It is crucial to understand the reason behind the pain to get the best possible treatment. So, if you have a history of suffering from foot pain, especially on the top part, read ahead and learn its probable cause and treatment methods.



Why do you Feel Pain on Top of Your Foot?

Human bodies are complicated and there could be multiple reasons for the same. Foot pain can be a result of the following factors:



Injuries are the most common originator of pain. As our feet are in motion most of the time, they are more susceptible to accidents or casualties. The pain could be due to such a mishap or something could have fallen on top of the foot.

Sprains or bone breaks could also be a concrete reason.




If the said accident was severe, it could also be due to some fracture. More commonly, fractures occur in the fifth metatarsal, like the following:

a) Jones Fracture

Generally, this type of fracture occurs near the middle area or the outer area of the foot. Its main cause is stress and strain on the foot. Moreover, an injury can also be the reason behind it.


b) Avulsion Fracture

When a ligament or tendon accidentally pulls a small piece of the fifth metatarsal out of its designated place, it results in such a fracture. Ankle sprains or ankle rolls could also be the reason behind it.


c) Midshaft Fracture

The midshaft fracture results from the twisting of the foot.


d) Stress Fractures

If you see swelling on top of your foot, it is most likely due to a stress fracture.




Arthritis is a common foot issue. In the United State of America, approximately 23% of adults suffer from it. It causes severe pain on top of the foot irrespective of any leg movements.

It can take place in thirty joints in the foot, but especially in the metatarsophalangeal joint (MCP). It is located at the base of each toe, resulting in pain on top of the foot.




People diagnosed with diabetes often complain about foot and leg pain, often dealing with numbness and swelling. Such a disease can also cause pain on top of the foot.


Extensor Tendonitis

Extensor Tendonitis

If you tend to wear tight shoes, you might want to think twice as it can be a root cause behind the pain on top of your foot. The tendons that are responsible for pulling the foot upwards get swollen up, possibly resulting in pain.

As such an issue gets triggered with more activity, it is best to get medical help for the same.



This is a problem that results in a complete breakdown in the peripheral nervous system. As this is responsible for sending signals to the brain and vice versa, it can cause other issues to the body parts, including the top of the foot.

It could either be due to an injury, underlying disease, or genetics.


Sinus Tarsi Syndrome

This is a syndrome that is caused due to the instability of the subtalar joint. It can cause severe pain on the top area of the foot along with ankle discomfort.


 Bone Spurs

Bone spurs form in the joints and can be seen in all parts of the body. However, they are more commonly felt in the foot area. They are also known as osteophytes.

Even though they might not necessarily cause any severe pain, you might experience stiffness once it rubs against other bones or presses on the nerves.


Midfoot Injury

The middle part of the foot is known as midfoot or Lisfrank. Wear and tear in the muscles of this part of the foot can cause severe pain and swelling. Moreover, you might also see some redness or bruises.


Ganglion Cyst

When a ganglion cyst is formed under the skin, you will see a bump or fluid sac on top of the foot. This could be triggered by an external injury. You might feel a tingling or burning sensation as well.



Lastly, gout could be responsible for the severe pain on top of your foot. Basically, gout is a disorder that leads to a uric acid build-up in the joints. It can result in redness, swelling, bruising, or severe pain on the top area of the foot, or in any other affected area.


Treatments for Pain on Top of the Feet

Treatments for Pain on Top of the Feet

Now that we have covered the possible causes of the pain on top of your foot, it is time to shine some light on the treatment methods.

The following are some of the ways through which you can alleviate the pain:

Home Treatment

If the pain is not severe, you can give a try to some of the most effective home remedies like,

a) Warm Foot Bath

A warm foot bath can relieve the swelling or sore muscles. It can be an effective as well as a relaxing way to get rid of the pain.


b) Stretching Exercises

Stretching your toes and feet can potentially reduce the swelling and sore muscles. Curling your toes and flexing your feet can relieve some additional stress from the top of your foot.


c) Pain Reliever Medicines

You can get yourself some over-the-counter medicines for swelling or pain. Medicines like acetaminophen or ibuprofen can help you with inflammation and pain. However, we advise you to consult a doctor before taking any medicines to steer clear of any side effects.


d) Foot Massage

Massaging your foot can improve circulation and reduce any stress or inflammation. Try rubbing and kneading the bottom of your foot. Additionally, you can use oil or lotion for a better massaging session.


e) Get Better Shoes

Tight-fitting shoes could be a cause behind the pain on top of your foot. So, it is better to get shoes that provide a snug fit without any additional stress on the foot.


f) Use Ice Packs

If inflammation is a regular sight on your foot, try using ice packs to reduce the swelling.


Professional Help

Professional Help

If the pain persists despite regular home treatments, it is best to get it checked with a medical professional.

There might be some underlying issue that could be a cause of such pain. You should see a doctor immediately if you have diabetes or any such diseases.

If you feel numbness at the bottom of your foot, or have flu-like symptoms along with foot pain, it is best to consult a professional.


Prevention Methods

You can save yourself from such pain in the future by undertaking the following prevention methods:

Stretch your Muscles

You must exercise regularly to keep your body going, especially your feet. Stretching your foot and calves muscles can reduce the chances of pain.


Wear the Right Shoes

Wearing the right kind of shoes can go a long way in giving you comfort and avoiding any sort of foot pain. Get the ones that are not too tight and not too loose. Snug-fitted shoes are an ideal choice.


Rest the Feet

Continuous and rigorous foot movements can put a lot of pressure on your feet. It is advisable to take a day off once in a while to allow your feet to rest up.


Consult a Medical Professional

The next time you feel any pain or burning sensation on top of your foot, and you are suffering from any disease like diabetes, it is best to rush to the doctor. The quicker it gets diagnosed, it stands the better chance at a faster recovery.


The bottom line

Feet issues and problems are a common sight and they can be treated with ease. The next time you find yourself in pain, we advise you to get professional help along with adhering to the home treatments as mentioned above.

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