What Causes Pain On Top Of Foot?

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Our feet are made of several crucial and very intricate muscles, tendons, ligaments, and bones. These muscles and tissue groups are responsible for making feet movement plausible. Any injury, swelling, discomfort, ailment, or surgical procedure can lead to excessive pain in the foot.  

Pain on top of foot is quite a common phenomenon that can perturb your daily routine and lead to extreme discomfort and swelling, so much so that it can make walking a dreadful experience. There may be several reasons for such sharp pain on top of foot when walking, however, identifying the cause of foot pain and its treatment is quintessential to an independent and quality life.  

Why does the top of my foot hurt?  

The pain in top of foot can be a result of an ailment, injury, or even a surgery. Many things can cause foot pain. It may be a result of diabetes, gout, or other serious conditions. Normally, sharp pain on top of foot when walking may be due to a fracture, strain, injury, unfitted shoes, or even any regular activity. Some of the most common causes of pain on top of foot are- 

1. Nerve pain on top of foot 

Nerve pain on top of foot is also known as dorsal neuritis or neuralgia which causes burning pain on top of foot, extreme numbness, and discomfort. It is often caused due to occur with regular constant use of shoes for prolonged durations and ill-fitted footwear. Nerve pain in foot can be relieved using compression therapy

2. Arthritis Pain in top of foot 

Arthritis can most likely cause midfoot pain, which may indicate the development of a major Lisfranc injury, commonly known as midfoot sprain. Arthritis is caused when joints between the bones start rubbing together. If the top of foot is swollen or there is pain in the foot joints, it can be arthritis pain. Arthritis foot or ankle braces are often prescribed for people dealing with pain on top of foot.  

3. Foot Pain Caused due to Stress fractures 

Stress fracture, as the name suggests, is caused due to excessive pressure put on top of foot. The second and third metatarsals of the foot are the most prone to stress fractures. Additionally, the area is most impacted when the foot moves. Ballet dancers and runners are often at a very high risk of developing stress fractures. These fractures generally cause debilitating pain in the dorsum of foot

4. Gout Foot Pain 

Gout foot is a medical condition where unusual uric acid buildup is recorded in the joints of the foot. The body breaks down purines present in the food and within the body. During this process, uric acid is created, which can cause intense pain, redness, and swelling on top of foot. 

5. Diabetic Foot Pain 

Diabetic foot pain is also known as peripheral neuropathy. It is a condition that surfaces due to high blood sugar levels which further cause damage to the nerves of the feet. Foot pain because of diabetes is slightly different from other causes of pain on top of foot. It is rather sharp and makes the feet numb. Diabetic foot pain is a chronic situation which is incurable, however the pain may be relieved using certain pain relief aids and foot braces.  

Treating Pain on top of foot  

Pain in top of foot can perturb your daily routine. Therefore, it is crucial to treat pain inside the foot before it becomes unbearable.  

1. Aircast AirLift PTTD Ankle Brace 

Aircast AirLift PTTD Ankle Brace

Aircast AirLift PTTD Ankle Brace is generally prescribed to treat pain on top of foot, posterior tibial tendon dysfunction or PTTD, or early signs and symptoms of the adult-acquired flat foot.  Depending on the gravity of the condition, it can be prescribed for use as part of a conservative treatment to stabilize the situation and help prevent its degeneration or post-surgically and during rehabilitation. The AirLift provides foot support and ankle stabilization integrated Aircell and semi-rigid shells.  


2. OCSI SoftPro Ambulating AFO 

OCSI SoftPro Ambulating AFO

OCSI SoftPro Ambulating AFO is made using a flexible material that provides a gentle dorsiflexion stretch to the paining areas of the foot and ankle. This ankle brace for pain on top of foot is permanently attached to an ambulating pad to allow the patient to bear their weight and walk in the AFO. Subsequently, plantarflexion reversal is achieved by the gentle dorsi - flex of the plastic insert combined by weight bearing and transitional walking in the AFO


3. Aircast SP (Short Pneumatic) Walker 

Aircast SP (Short Pneumatic) Walker

Aircast Short Pneumatic Walker is ergonomically designed for foot and ankle injuries and comes with a low rocker sole that promotes natural ambulation for improved mobility, while the effective foot base has ample room for dressings without sacrificing comfort. Aircast Walking Boot has two adjustable air cells at the malleoli that can be individually inflated for total contact fit and secure support. The lightweight, trimmable, semi-rigid shell of the walking boot has a pre-inflated anterior air cell. 


Our feet play an integral part in our active lifestyle and it is important to keep the health of the feet in check. If you are experiencing chronic pain on top of foot, which is not relieved, it is advised to consult an orthopedist. Ignoring the pain may lead to graver consequences. 


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