Whether you’re an athlete or you’re more sedentary you might find you’ve developed pain on the inside of your foot. Like any foot pain it’s important to get a proper diagnosis from a podiatrist. Here at the Foot and Ankle Center in Seattle we’ve been treating pain on the inside of the foot for over 40 years.
Learn about these 7 conditions that might be causing your inside of the foot pain.
Bunions most often develop on the inside of the big toe and are mostly caused by faulty foot mechanics. However, foot injuries and neuromuscular problems can also be culprits. Wearing high heels and shoes that are too tight or with a narrow toe box can also make bunions worse.
The major symptom of bunions is pain caused by rubbing and friction against the inside of shoes.
Treatment for Bunions
For bunions that have not advanced, conservative treatment is most common. People with bunions can use padding to avoid pressure and pain against the inside of shoes, change footwear to accommodate them including shoes with a wider and deeper toe box, wear custom orthotics to better align the feet, and exercise to maintain joint mobility.
People with more advanced bunions, often choose to have bunion surgery which can greatly improve their lifestyle including pain elimination and being able to wear regular shoes.
Prevention of Bunions
To prevent your bunions from getting worse:
- Wear shoes less than one inch in height
- Wear shoes with a wider toe box
- Wear your orthotics all the time
2. Plantar fasciitis
Plantar fasciitis is a condition that causes pain (mild to sever) most often felt in the heel but also in the arch which can radiate to the inside of the foot. It occurs when the ligament that runs from the heel to the base of the toes called the plantar fascia become inflamed.
Risk Factors for Plantar Fasciitis
- Longstanding pronation of the feet
- High impact sports activities
- Flat feet or high arches
- Tight calf muscles
- Unsupportive footwear
- Excess weight
Treatment of Plantar Fasciitis
- Reducing inflammation. Treatments include cortisone injections, taping, use of an air heel, and MLS laser therapy.
- Relieving tight calf muscles.
- Getting cast for custom orthotics
- Buying supportive footwear.
- Physical therapy.
Prevention of Plantar Fasciitis
To prevent plantar fasciitis from developing or recurring:
- Always wear custom orthotics
- Don’t go barefoot.
- Always stretch before and after sports activities
- Purchase supportive shoes every 500 miles that are designed for your sport.
- Avoid high heels. Purchase shoes that have a one inch heel or lower.
3. Posterior Tibial Tendonitis
The posterior tibial tendon supports your arch when you’re in motion. When this tendon becomes inflamed due to overuse it develop tendonitis. Later stages of this condition, called Posterior Tibial Tendon Dysfunction (PTTD), can result in a complete flattening of the foot.
Risk Factors for Posterior Tibial Tendonitis
- Dancers, runners, and other athletes who place a lot of stress on this area of their foot.
- Diabetes (can cause breakdown of the bones and the later stage of this condition)
- High blood pressure
- Foot and ankle injuries
- Steroid use
Symptoms of Posterior Tibial Tendonitis
- Pain and swelling along the tendon - bottom of the arch to the inside of the ankle or foot even when standing
- From behind observing too many toes-normally you can only see the 4th and 5th toes but with this condition you can also see the rest of the toes.
- Pain and inability to raise the heel
Treatment of Posterior Tibial Tendonitis
Early and acute stages of this condition should be treated with:
- foot immobilization
- anti-inflammatory medications.
Chronic inflammation should be treated with:
- custom orthotics to prevent further collapse of the arch
- physical therapy
- Arizona brace.
- surgery may also be needed to repair the damaged tendon.
Prevention of Posterior Tibial Tendonitis
- Wearing supportive athletic wear designed for your sport
- Strengthening exercises with a physical therapist
- Resting when you feel first signs of pain.
4. Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome
Tarsal tunnel syndrome occurs when the posterior tibial nerve that runs from the inside of your ankle is squeezed or compressed.
Risk Factors for Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome
Compression of the tibial nerve will increase your risk for tarsal tunnel syndrome. People most at risk are those with:
- Chronic overuse through athletics
- Injury to the foot or ankle
- Flat feet or high arches
- Growths that impinge the nerve egs. Ganglion cyst, varicose veins with chronic swelling
- Diabetes and arthritis
Symptoms of Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome
- Pain in the inner heel or arch which can radiate to other areas in your lower limbs.
- Tingling and numbness
Treatment of Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome
- Anti-inflammatory medications
- Wearing a boot or bracing to allow it to heal
- Cortisone to treat the inflammation
- Custom orthotics to prevent motion that compresses the nerve
- Supportive shoes with wider toe box
- Sometimes surgery is necessary
- Wearing custom orthotics to prevent recurrence
- Increase exercise gradually
- Keep fit and ankles flexible
5. Abductor Hallucis Strain
The abductor hallucis muscle is found on the inside of the foot and connects the heel bone to the big toe. It stabilizes your foot and arch preventing you from overpronating (rolling your feet inward too much) when you walk or run. It also allows you to flex your big toe and move it away from your body. When this muscle is overworked, microtears can occur in the tendon or muscle fibers. Most often this condition develops over time.
Athletes and people with flat feet or low arches are most at risk for this type of foot condition. Sudden increases in sports activity can also bring on this condition.
Symptoms of Abductor Hallucis Strain
- Pain along the bottom and inside arch of the foot
- Pain when the inside sole of the foot is pressed
- Pain that’s worse first thing in the morning that can remain later in the day
- Weakness when trying to splay toes apart
Treatment of Abductor Hallucis Strain
- Athletes and others need to rest
- Icing to reduce inflammation
- Taping the arch of the foot to prevent overpronation and confirm diagnosis
- Patients with flat feet or low arches will need custom orthotics to prevent overpronation
- Patient with tight calf muscles should begin stretching (see “How to Reduce Tight Calf Muscles”)
Prevention of Abductor Hallucis Strain
- Wear custom orthotics particularly when engaged in sports activity
- Maintaining a stretching program to keep calf muscles loose
- Wear supportive athletic shoes made for the sport you practice.
- Gradually increase your training for sports activity by no more than 10% a week.
6. Navicular Stress Fracture
Another bone on the inside of the foot that supports the arch is the tarsal navicular bone. It can develop a stress fracture when it’s overstressed through running or sports that involve jumping. The tarsal navicular bone is at risk for injury and poor healing due to reduced blood flow to the area.
Risk Factors for Navicular Stress Fracture
- Increasing sports training or activity too rapidly
- Change in shoes or training surface
- Participation in sports such as soccer, gymnastics, track and field, and basketball
- Wearing unsupportive or inappropriate footgear
- Underweight women athletes
- Low bone density (post-menopausal women)
- Trauma – sudden intense force at the talonavicular joint as with jumping
Symptoms of Navicular Stress Fracture
- Pain that gets worse over time
- Pain that develops slowly
- Tenderness on top of the foot
Your podiatrist may diagnose this condition with an X-ray but these can look normal in early stages of the condition and an MRI may be necessary.
Treatment of Navicular Stress Fracture
- Stop all sports activity
- Casting with a boot without bearing weight for 6-8- weeks
- If healing is problematic, treatment with MLS laser therapy.
- Slow gradual return to sports activities
Prevention of Navicular Stress Fracture
- Increase sports training and activities by no more than 10% a week.
- Purchase supportive athletic shoes and replace every 500 miles
- Adequate nutrition and calories including eating foods with Vitamin D.
7. Accessory Navicular
About 2.5 of the population is born with an accessory navicular. Most people don’t develop a problem with this extra bone unless they have an injury that disrupts the tissue between the navicular and accessory navicular bones. In addition, if the bone is large it can cause pain if it rubs against the inside of a shoe.
The only symptom a person with the condition feels is pain and is easily diagnosed with an X-ray.
Your podiatrist will most likely recommend a walking boot to allow the tissue to heal. Sometimes an over-the-counter insert or custom orthotics can help relieve stress to the area.
Sometimes surgery is recommended to remove the extra bone.
Need Relief from Inside of the Foot Pain in Seattle, Washington? Request an Appointment Now
Don't let foot pain cause you to miss out on the activities you enjoy. Complete the contact form on this page or call our office, the Foot and Ankle Center of Lake City, at 206-368-7000 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Rion Berg.
Most new patients are seen within 1-2 week's time. During your initial visit, Dr. Berg will spend up to 30 minutes getting to know you, your podiatry complaints, and your goals so that he can recommend the treatment best meets your needs. Don’t wait—contact us today.
North Seattle Foot & Ankle Specialist Dr. Rion Berg offers compassionate podiatry care for all foot and ankle problems to those living in Seattle Washington and the surrounding areas. Call us today at 206-368-7000 for an immediate appointment or request an appointment online.