Most of us will experience foot pain during our lives. Sometimes it results from a serious disease, such as diabetes or arthritis.
Quick foot pain facts
Foot pain is actually a serious problem in the United States, with three in four people experiencing it at least once, according to the Illinois Podiatric Medical Association. The foot is extraordinarily complex, each one containing 26 bones and 33 joints. Together, they undergo a huge amount of force. When walking, they sometimes have to bear more than your body weight. When running, pressure goes up to as much as four times your weight.
Both class and sex impact a person’s susceptibility to foot pain. It is more commonly experienced by people with lower income. There is also about a 300% greater chance that you will experience it if you are a woman, in large part due to high heels.
3 conditions causing foot pain
Various serious illnesses will often reveal themselves through pain in your feet. They include peripheral arterial disease, arthritis, and diabetes.
Peripheral arterial disease
Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) is diagnosed in approximately 8 million people in the US. If you have this illness, plaque is accruing in your leg arteries, making it difficult for the blood to carry oxygen and other nutrients to your feet.
The whole-body consequences can be devastating, explains Eric Metcalf, MPH, in Everyday Health. “While the foot and leg-related symptoms of PAD are usually quite obvious, the disease is also associated with hidden damage to the heart and brain,” he says, “which places those with PAD at much higher risk of heart attack and stroke.”
Of the 1.3 million men and women in the US with rheumatoid arthritis, approximately nine in ten experience foot and ankle pain as a symptom, per statistics from the Arthritis Foundation. Rheumatoid arthritis occurs when the immune system errantly starts breaking down your body’s own joints.
Gout is another form of arthritis typically associated with foot pain. Gout is marked by a buildup of uric acid in the joints, especially the big toes.
If you have diabetes, the glucose that your body relies on for energy starts to accrue in your blood. "[S]ymptoms of high blood sugar include numbness or tingling in your feet as well as severe foot infections,” notes Metcalf. “Diabetes… can lead to the surgical removal of a toe or even more of your foot or lower leg.”
Do you have excruciating pain in your feet? It could result from a major illness. At Envista Medical, we consider all aspects of you and your health—not just your symptoms.