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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:

Do

  • 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

  • take paracetamol

Don’t

  • do not take ibuprofen for the first 48 hours after an injury

  • 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 2019
Media review due: 17 April 2022
See exercise video safety information

The exercises in this video are suitable for most people. They are general exercises only and are not aimed at treating any specific cause of pain or condition.

Get advice from a GP or health professional before trying it, especially if:

  • you have any concerns about your health
  • you are not sure if the exercises are suitable
  • you have any pre-existing health problems or injuries, or any current symptoms

Stop the exercise immediately and get medical help if you feel any pain or feel unwell.

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
Information:

Coronavirus (COVID-19) update: how to contact a GP

It's still important to get help from a GP if you need it. To contact your GP surgery:

  • visit their website
  • use the NHS App
  • call them

Find out about using the NHS during COVID-19

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)
Information:

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.

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