Side of Foot Pain Causes

Side of foot pain is a common physical complaint. For most people, the discomfort is quite mild, lasting for only a few hours to a couple of days. For some however, the pain lingers for months and even years before treatment is finally sought.

The foot is a vital part of the body and performs considerable work, yet it is also one of the most neglected. Ultimately, such negligence to foot health leads to variety of disorders, with side of foot pain common across all age groups. Like any other orthopedic problem, side of foot pain is most intense when weight bearing activity is undertaken. Side of foot pain is caused by a specific range of diseases and conditions, with many factors triggering its onset.

Pain in the toes is common and is caused by a wide range of conditions, pain along the side of the foot is often attributed to stress fractures, with pain from ankle injuries radiating along the side of the foot. This website offers advice to help you find out what is causing pain in the side of the foot so you can get rapid relief from the pain and discomfort.


Bunions are a common cause of foot pain, and also one of the best known and easily diagnosed complaints. Bunions are bony outgrowth on the outside of the foot, at the first metatarsophalengeal joint, or the joint at the base of the big toe as it is more commonly known. These outgrowths are most commonly protrusions of the metatarsal head outwards, although in some instances they can form at the top of the joint. The bunions are not restricted to the feet, and may occur on the wrist, or other joints in response to prolonged pressure. Bunions can become inflamed and highly painful, hot to the touch and swollen, with broken skin prone to infection to make matters worse. They can make wearing shoes difficult, and are often caused by poor footwear and poor posture.


As the name suggests, bunionettes are small bunions, yet the size does not necessarily mean they will be any less painful. The bunionette is a small toe bunion, forming on the fifth metatarsophalangeal joint; that of the small toe. The bunionette is commonly called a tailor’s bunion, due to its prevalence with tailor’s after sitting cross –legged on hard floors for hours on end. The pressure triggered the formation of a bunion, usually on both sides of the feet. AS with big toe bunions, they can be inflamed and can get infected. As with the tailor’s, they are caused by prolonged, and constant pressure on the delicate joint at the base of the big toe, most commonly caused by ill fitting footwear.


The joint is the pivot where bones can articulate, with each bone head covered in softer cartilage, and cushioned by a fluid filled membrane. Arthritis primarily strikes the joints and caused inflammation of the cartilage. The disease is a very common condition that commonly affects the lower extremities, as well as the hands. It can be a cause of a sharp pain in the side of the foot at the point of the affected joint. There are many different forms of arthritis, although the most common are osteoarthritis, which sees the cartilage and bone eroded at the joints, and rheumatoid arthritis, which is actually an autoimmune disorder, where the body attacks itself, with damage caused to the joints.

Inversion Sprain

An inversion sprain is also known more commonly as a sprained or twisted ankle, and can cause pain which radiates down the side of the foot. It accounts for 90% of ankle sprains, where the ankle moves outwards and the foot rolls inward. They happen when an individual loses balance and puts all the weight of the body to the ankle. The ligaments, which are strong and fibrous structures that connect the bones, are primarily affected in this disorder. The ligaments surrounding the ankle tear can see immediate swelling, and tremendous side of foot pain. Sprain typically happens during accidents or sports-related injuries, and will make putting weight on the foot impossible.

Foot Fracture

In some cases, a sprain may accompany a fracture of a bone, especially following a fall. However foot fractures need not be caused by a single traumatic event, with stress fractures often forming following prolonged over training and over use. The damage can be very severe, with a full fracture, requiring a cast to be worn to keep the bones straight and ankle proper healing. In severe cases, a fragment can be torn away from the main bone. This type of fracture is called an avulsion, which is also a common cause of side of foot pain among athletes. Severe swelling, redness and tenderness on the side of the foot are also evident.

Cuboid Syndrome

Unlike arthritis or sprains, Cuboid syndrome affects both the joints and ligaments of the cuboid, one of the main bones that forms the lateral side of the foot. The classic symptom of cuboid syndrome is side of foot pain, especially during weight bearing activity or sudden impact. Foot weakness is also a common complaint. Dancers and runners are the common patients who are diagnosed with cuboid syndrome, as running and jumping can place a considerable strain on the foot.

Tarsal Coalition

Tarsal coalition is a congenital disorder, with the clinical manifestations typically becoming noticeable during adolescence. Tarsal coalition is the result of the fusion of at least two bones that lie in the back of the foot. Recurrent sprains and frequent side of foot pain, along with infectious diseases and other underlying structural abnormalities, may also suggest tarsal coalition. The pain can be unbearable when walking, severely limiting movement.

Consult a Doctor or Podiatrist or visit the Emergency Room

Foot problems nearly always warrant seeking medical attention, as the symptoms can be very debilitating. Principally, it is important to know basic first aid interventions when foot pain is felt, especially right after traumatic injuries. Any person should know the acronym RICE by heart: R for rest, I for immobilization, C for compression, and E for elevation. Most especially in the cases of sprains and fractures, immediate splinting with a compression bandage is crucial to maintain the normal alignment of the bones and avoid further deformities. It is important to keep the affected foot rested, immobilized and elevated to avoid further trauma and to reduce swelling. A visit to a doctor will determine the extent of the problem, and the best treatment can be prescribed to match the cause of your side of foot pain.