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Pain in the bottom of the foot

Pain in the bottom of your foot (arch, ball or sole) will often get better in a few weeks. See a GP if it does not improve.

How you can ease pain in the bottom of the foot

If you see a GP about pain in the bottom of your foot, they may suggest trying these things:


  • rest and raise your foot when you can

  • put an ice pack (or bag of frozen peas in a towel) on the painful area for up to 20 minutes every 2 to 3 hours

  • wear shoes with plenty of room for your feet that have a low heel and soft sole

  • use soft insoles or pads you put in your shoes

  • try to lose weight if you're overweight

  • try regular gentle stretching exercises for your foot and ankle

  • use painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen gel (or ibuprofen tablets if needed)


  • do not do any sports or other activity that you think is causing the pain

  • do not walk or stand for long periods

  • do not wear high heels or tight pointy shoes

A pharmacist can help with foot pain

You can ask a pharmacist about:

  • the best painkiller to take
  • insoles and pads for your shoes
  • treatments for common skin problems, such as hard skin or a verruca
  • if you need to see a GP

Video: exercises to reduce pain in the bottom of the foot

This video shows exercises that can help with pain in the bottom of the foot.

Media last reviewed: 17 April 2022
Media review due: 17 April 2025
See exercise video safety information

The exercises in this series of videos are suitable for most people in good health with a reasonable level of fitness.

Unless stated otherwise, they are general exercises only and are not aimed at treating any specific cause of pain or condition. Video titles and descriptions can give more information on how difficult the exercises are and who they are for.

Get advice from a healthcare professional before trying them if:

  • you are not sure if the exercises are suitable for your current level of fitness
  • you have a health problem, an injury, any symptoms, are feeling unwell, or you have had a recent health event such as a heart attack or operation
  • you have any other concerns about your health
  • you are pregnant or have recently given birth

Stop the exercise immediately if you feel any pain or become unwell. If you are concerned about any symptoms, or they do not go away, get help from 111 online or call 111 for advice.

Non-urgent advice: See a GP if:

  • the pain in the bottom of your foot is stopping you doing normal activities
  • the pain is getting worse or keeps coming back
  • the pain has not improved after treating it at home for 2 weeks
  • you have any tingling or loss of sensation in your foot
  • you have diabetes and foot pain – foot problems can be more serious if you have diabetes

Immediate action required: Go to an urgent treatment centre or A&E if:

  • you have severe pain in the bottom of your foot
  • you're not able to walk
  • your foot has changed shape or is at an odd angle
  • you heard a snap, grinding or popping noise at the time of injury
  • you feel faint, dizzy or sick from the pain

These might be signs of a broken bone after an injury.

What we mean by severe pain
Severe pain:
  • always there and so bad it's hard to think or talk
  • you cannot sleep
  • it's very hard to move, get out of bed, go to the bathroom, wash or dress
Moderate pain:
  • always there
  • makes it hard to concentrate or sleep
  • you can manage to get up, wash or dress
Mild pain:
  • comes and goes
  • is annoying but does not stop you doing daily activities

Common causes of pain in the bottom of the foot

Pain in the bottom of your foot is often caused by exercise, such as running, wearing shoes that are too tight or a condition, such as Morton's neuroma.

Some people also have a foot shape that puts extra pressure on the bottom of the foot. Hard or cracked skin or a verruca can also cause this type of pain.

Your symptoms might give you an idea what's causing it, but do not self-diagnose. Get medical help if you're worried.

Some of the possible causes of pain in the bottom of the foot with their associated symptoms.
Symptoms Possible cause
Pain, swelling, bruising, started after intense or repetitive exercise Sprained foot
Sharp, burning or shooting pain near your toes (ball of your foot), feels like a lump or small stone under your foot Morton's neuroma
Sharp pain between your arch and heel, feels worse when you start walking and better when resting, difficulty raising toes off floor Plantar fasciitis
No gap (arch) under your foot when you stand up, your foot presses flat on the floor Flat feet (fallen arches)

If you're not sure what's causing pain in the bottom of the foot

Do not worry if you're not sure what the problem is.

Follow the advice on this page and see a GP if the pain does not get better in 2 weeks.


Self-refer for treatment

If you have pain in the bottom of your foot, you might be able to refer yourself directly to services for help with your condition without seeing a GP.

To find out if there are any services in your area:

  • ask the reception staff at your GP surgery
  • check your GP surgery's website
  • contact your integrated care board (ICB) – find your local ICB
  • search online for NHS treatment for foot pain near you

Page last reviewed: 2 February 2022
Next review due: 2 February 2025