Lateral or Side of Foot Pain? Find Answers Here

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Lateral foot pain (outside foot pain) can literally stop you in your tracks. If you are into fitness or running you might be more prone to experience lateral foot pain, but it can strike anyone at anytime due to various foot conditions. Injury among the complex series of bones, muscles, tendons, and connective tissue in your foot can cause lateral foot pain to appear gradually or come on suddenly in the form of a stabbing pain.

Common causes of outside foot pain

There are a number of common causes for pain on the outside of the foot. The following list covers most of the causes:

  1. Tarsal coalition
    This is a congenital problem that comes with symptoms of pain, fatigue, flat feet, and improper walking. In short, it’s derived from an abnormal connection that develops between bones in the back of the foot (the tarsal bones).
  2. Inversion or ankle sprain
    An ankle sprain is one of the major causes of lateral foot pain. Signs are pain, bruising, redness, stiffness and swelling around the ankle and sides of the foot.
  3. Cuboid syndrome
    The cuboid is one of seven tarsal bones located on the outside of the foot. If there is too much traction over the cuboid, the tarsal bone can dislocate, leading to cuboid syndrome.
  4. Peroneal tendonitis
    This is a condition on the outside of the foot and around the heel that is caused by repetitive tension on the peroneal tendon. Excessive running, abnormal positioning of the foot, and ankle sprains can lead to peroneal tendonitis.
  5. Bunions
    When the big toe rotates inwards and points toward the other toes, it can cause the bone at the base to stick out at the side. Inflammation, swelling, and redness are signs of a bunion. Sometimes bunions can develop around the little toe. They are referred to as bunionettes.
  6. Corns or calluses
    Foot pain outside can be due to the growth of corns and calluses. They are the result of repetitive stress to the skin on the foot.
  7. Stress fractures
    Sometimes, physical activities or repetitive actions can cause small fractures on foot bones. Lateral foot pain from stress fractures happens if the fracture has occurred in the calcaneus or navicular bones.
  8. Arthritis
    This is a leading cause of outside foot pain. Both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis can cause lateral foot pain.

Diagnosing outside foot pain
Both a physical examination and a review of symptoms can help determine the cause of foot pain. It is important if you are experiencing lateral foot pain to let the doctor know if you have sharp pain on the outside of the foot, pain on the outside of foot when walking, lateral pain with weight-bearing activities, or with certain movements. Part of the diagnosis also depends on any previous pain or injuries, such as fractures of the foot.

Treating outside foot pain
Treatment for lateral foot pain will depend on whether the symptoms are mild, moderate, or severe. For mild pain, people can gain relief with R.I.C.E. This stands for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. The idea is to try to ease the pain and inflammation as well as reduce the chances of further injury.

Here’s a look at some other treatments for lateral foot pain:

Medications: Some over-the-counter medications such as Tylenol, aspirin, and ibuprofen can help lessen the pain and inflammation.

Proper shoes: Make sure you have proper shoes and good foot support may solve the problem. For better footwear solutions go to

Band-Aids: In cases where blisters, corns, or calluses form, a simple Band-Aid might help relieve pressure and pain.

Exercises: Sometimes, muscle-strengthening exercises will be recommended by a doctor.

Assistive devices: There are devices — such as crutches, walkers, and canes — that can take pressure off the foot and give it time to heal.

Foot products: There are some foot products on the market, like toe-stretchers that are designed to correct abnormal toe positions.

Foot bath: Using Epsom salts in a tub of warm water has been known to relieve some foot pain. Adding essential oils, such as peppermint oil or lavender oil, may also help ease some of the discomforts.

Lateral foot pain is common, especially in people who regularly exercise or play sports. If you start to feel pain on the outside of your foot, try to give your feet a few days of rest. If the pain doesn’t go away, see your doctor to figure out what’s causing it and to avoid more serious injuries.

For more complete info, see source references: – stress-fracture

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