Paspa Physical Therapy

Why Do I Have Outer Foot Pain?

Outer foot pain, also known as lateral foot pain, is a common symptom that brings patients into our office. Lateral foot pain depends on a variety of factors, and some symptoms include: 

  • Localized pain on the outside of the foot
  • Swelling
  • Tenderness 
  • Difficulty walking or standing

If you have any of these symptoms, contact us at Paspa Physical Therapy in Manhattan, NY at 212-967-5337 or book an appointment online. 

Our team of expert physical therapists will work to bring you relief from your lateral foot pain through proper treatment.

A physical therapist massaging a woman's foot.

Possible Reasons for Lateral Foot Pain

Lateral foot pain is typically a symptom of either an injury or an illness. Overuse is one of the most common reasons for chronic foot and ankle injuries. 

Athletes, runners, and frequent walkers can experience lateral foot pain from overuse or improper exercise gear, like tight-fitting shoes.

Repetitive tension could also cause you to experience pain in this area. Rest and stretching can help in the prevention of lateral foot pain.

If you have physical foot deformities, like flat feet, you may be more susceptible to lateral foot pain.

Ankle Sprains

More serious injuries can cause pain in the outside of the foot. Sprains and fractures are common occurrences for both athletes and those with pre-existing conditions. 

Ankle sprains happen when you pull a lateral ankle ligament. You may experience foot and ankle pain, and their outer edges may bruise and swell. 

You can sprain any ligaments or tendons in the lateral side of your foot and ankle, which will cause persistent pain on the outer ankle and outer side of the foot.

 You can often help reduce swelling from an ankle sprain with rest, ice, an elastic bandage compression, and elevation. 

However, more serious injuries may require professional help.

Fifth Metatarsal Fractures

Many delicate foot bones can fracture easily. Stress fractures, caused by repetitive force and motion, are tiny cracks in a bone that cause pain. These are typically diagnosed in an X-ray.

The most common stress fracture that causes lateral foot pain is called a Jones fracture. Jones fractures happen at the base of the fifth metatarsal in the foot. 

The problem typically begins with mild discomfort and develops into sharp pain and possible swelling. 

Cuboid Syndrome

Cuboid syndrome is a medical condition in which the cuboid bone, located near your smallest toe, shifts out of place. 

You might lose mobility in your foot and experience swelling and pain. This condition often comes with peroneal tendonitis.

Treatment usually involves shifting the tarsal bones back into place.

Inflammation, Tendonitis & Bursitis

You may have inflammation in your foot and ankle center from an infection or injury. Several different types of inflammation can cause discomfort, some more serious than others. 

Tendonitis refers to the inflammation of a tendon, typically from repetitive stress, though it can also occur through infection or disease. The peroneal tendons are a common source of tendonitis in the foot.

Bursitis is a particular kind of inflammation in the tissue surrounding the fifth metatarsal in the foot. Our expert physical therapists can easily treat these conditions.

Peripheral Arterial Disease

Patients with peripheral arterial disease experience reduced blood flow to the legs and feet. A lack of adequate blood supply can cause lateral foot pain and ankle instability.

Narrowed arteries are caused by the accumulation of plaque in the arteries. Treatment may include medication and surgery. 

Arthritis & Diabetes

Arthritis is the inflammation of joints. It will likely cause stiffness and pain in the ankle joint. 

Diabetes is a chronic health condition that impacts your ability to break down glucose. 

This can cause neuropathy—or nerve damage—in the outside of the foot and the foot and ankle center, resulting in pain and numbness from the pinched nerves.

How Is Outer Foot Pain Diagnosed?

Outer foot pain can be diagnosed by seeking the attention of a professional. 

A diagnosis appointment will typically consist of a physical examination and imaging or tests, if necessary. An X-ray, for example, will let you know if you’ve broken a bone in your foot.

Paspa Physical Therapy offers state-of-the-art diagnoses and treatment plans. Read up on what you can expect during your first visit.

Assessing Lateral Foot Pain

To receive the best diagnosis, begin by assessing your pain using the following eight characteristics:

  • Location
  • Radiation
  • Mode of onset
  • Character
  • Temporal pattern
  • Exacerbating and relieving factors 
  • Intensity 

Identifying the characteristics of your pain will aid in communicating your discomfort with a doctor. 

Treatment for Outer Foot Pain

Your course of treatment will depend upon your condition, which is why obtaining a diagnosis from a professional is necessary. 

Doctors will often recommend rest. You might also wear a cast or boot to help your foot heal from an injury. Your doctor may prescribe medication, such as pain relievers and steroids, to assist with healing. 

Physical therapy is the most successful treatment option for lateral foot pain. Our therapists at Paspa Physical Therapy in Manhattan, NY can help you to avoid surgery and improve your quality of life. 

Call us today or book your appointment online to get relief from your ongoing outer foot pain.

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