Foot pain


Foot pain

You can ease most foot pain with simple things yourself. If it doesn't go away, see a health care professional.

How to ease foot pain and swelling

Try these things for a week:

  • put as little weight as possible on the foot – if you can, avoid standing on it
  • put an ice pack (or a bag of frozen peas in a towel) on the foot for up to 20 minutes every 2 to 3 hours
  • wear comfortable shoes – for example, avoid shoes with heels
  • take paracetamol

If the skin on your foot looks flaky or blistered, see your pharmacist. They can recommend a cream.


Foot pain not getting better?

See a GP if:

  • the pain doesn't go away
  • the pain is very bad
  • your symptoms suddenly get much worse
  • you keep getting the same pain
  • you have a very high temperature or you feel hot and shivery
  • your groin feels tender and painful (swollen glands) – this can be a sign of infection

A foot specialist can help with foot pain

Your GP might refer you to a foot specialist (podiatrist or chiropodist) to get help with your pain.They should be able to tell you what's wrong with your foot and recommend things like creams or insoles.


Emergency Treatment Needed

Go to A&E if you have signs of a broken ankle or leg after an injury:

Symptoms may include:

  • severe pain
  • feeling faint, dizzy or sick from the pain
  • hearing a crack or grinding noise during the injury
  • swelling and bruising
  • not being able to walk
  • your leg or ankle changing shape.
  • Source NHS UK



Common causes

Common causes of foot pain

You might have other symptoms apart from pain and swelling. How you treat them depends on the cause.

Main symptoms and Possible cause

  • Can't use foot properly, numbness, tingling, feels hot heel pain


More causes

  • Swelling, bruising, feels tender, difficult to move sprains and strains
  • Swollen, red, bruised, difficult to move broken toe
  • Swelling, stiffness, foot is weak, grating or crackling feeling, a lump  tendon injury
  • Burning feeling, tingling, feels numb metatarsalgia
  • Source NHS UK


Emergency Treatment For Achilles Tendon

Go to a minor injuries unit or A&E if you have:

  • severe pain after an injury
  • your foot is a funny shape
  • a snap, grinding or popping noise at the time of injury
  • difficulty moving your ankle or foot

These could be signs of a broken bone or ruptured Achilles tendon.

Find a minor injuries unit

Foot pain videos

 A quick guide to the 3 most common causes of foot pain.

Outer foot pain

Lateral foot pain causes and relief.

Fact Sheets

Plantar Fasciitis (pdf)


Icing Instructions (pdf)