Foot Pain Causes

Common Causes of Foot Pain Explained by Milwaukee Foot Specialists

Our Milwaukee foot doctors and foot surgeons treat many different ailments which cause bottom of foot paintop of foot pain and side of foot pain, including arch pain and heel pain. There is a tremendous variety of conditions, each of which can be effectively treated by the foot specialists at Great Midwest Foot and Ankle Centers.

Our Milwaukee foot specialists treat many different causes of foot pain, including arch pain, heel pain, toe pain and ankle pain. See below for a partial list of foot pain problems we diagnose and treat:

Achilles TendonitisFlat FeetIngrown Toenails
ArthritisFoot NeuropathyNeuroma
BunionsFoot UlcersPlantar Fasciitis
Corns and CallusesHammer ToeTarsal Tunnel Nerve Entrapment
Diabetic Foot ConditionsHigh ArchesToenail Fungus

Read below as we explain the most common causes of foot pain and their treatments:

Arthritis in Big Toe

Big toe arthritis can either be osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis. Its cause is usually simple wear and tear. The joint cartilage degenerates, causing real and deep pain in the big toe. The toe can get stiff. Range of motion is usually limited. For arthritis management in the big toe, our Milwaukee foot doctors recommend conservative treatments such as padding, strapping, custom orthotics or physical therapy. Anti-inflammatory medications are also an effective way to manage arthritis pain.


A Bunionette is a small bump causing side of foot pain. It occurs when the soft tissue over the joint swells. Bunionettes can also be congenital. Our Milwaukee podiatrist may recommend wider shoes, bunion pads, physical therapy or anti-inflammatory medicine.


Bunions are very common. It’s an enlargement of the bone and tissue around the big toe joint, resulting in a large lump. As it worsens, the big toe turns in toward the second toe, causing a misalignment deformity. Bunions are usually caused by improper footwear or arthritis. For bunion treatment, our Milwaukee foot specialists may recommend padding, bunion guards, custom orthotics and anti-inflammatory medication to treat, prevent and ease bunion pain.


A corn occurs when dead skin cells build up. Foot corns are caused by too much pressure on the skin. Often, a bone spur or bone enlargement causes the skin to press against the shoe, resulting in a painful corn. The most common treatment for corns include dispersion pads, custom orthotics or debridement. Depending on the severity or frequency of your corns, our Milwaukee foot doctors may perform a gait and pressure analysis to determine if a specific deformity is causing the corns.

Diabetic Foot Infections

Diabetic foot infections are the leading cause of amputations in the United States. If you suspect you or a loved one has a diabetic foot condition, make an appointment immediately to see a Milwaukee foot surgeon at Great Midwest Foot and Ankle Centers. If foot infection treatment is delayed, there may serious complications, including amputation and bone infection (osteomyelitis), which require daily antibiotics and wound care.


Neuropathy is a nervous system disorder, causing terrible shooting pain in the feet. Without proper neuropathy treatment, the area could become permanently numb.  Neuropathy can be caused by many conditions such as nerve entrapment, peripheral neuropathy, excessive alcohol consumption, infection and others. If you suspect you’re suffering from neuropathy make an appointment right away to see our Milwaukee foot doctor. We will determine the cause of your condition and provide highly effective treatment options.

Foot Ulcers

Foot ulcers are basically a breakdown in tissue. Foot ulcers can involve different layers of skin and are usually caused by too much pressure (perhaps on the bottom of your foot).  Inadequate circulation, poor fitting shoes and a bone spur can also cause foot ulcers. Diabetics may experience numbness or the inability to feel pain because of ulceration.

If you think you or a loved one may have a foot ulcer make an appointment as soon as possible to see the Milwaukee foot specialists at Great Midwest Foot and Ankle Centers. Foot ulcer treatment closes the area from the inside out. Cultures may be needed, along with daily changing of dressings and bandages. Surgery may be required to remove bone spurs. Skin grafts may be needed. Our Milwaukee foot surgeon will determine the severity of your foot ulcer and what treatment options are necessary. We will also advise you on preventive measures including padding, molded shoes and custom orthotics.

Ganglion Cyst

Ganglion Cysts are masses of soft tissue. They happen in tendons and are filled with gelatinous fluid. Ganglion Cysts tend to fill up and pop. Then they deflate and almost disappear but often return. Ganglion Cysts are usually benign. Our Milwaukee podiatrists have many effective treatments for ganglion cysts including injection therapy, draining the cyst with a needle and syringe, use of padding and/or surgery. The most common treatment is just to drain the cyst. Any mass or growth on your foot should be carefully monitored by a physician.

Hammer Toe

hammer toe is an abnormal position of the toe. One or more toes buckle under. This is not their normal position. Over time, the tendons to the toes tighten and get shorter. This makes the bending of the toes worse. There are many causes of Hammer Toes including arthritis, ill-fitting shoes, nerve injury, or a badly stubbed or broken toe. Hammer toes can also be hereditary.

Our Milwaukee foot specialists offer a variety of conservative, non-surgical treatments for hammer toe. If hammer toe surgery is necessary, it can be performed as an outpatient procedure and is considered relatively minor.

Sever’s Disease

Heel pain in children is common in for a number of reasons, though it is usually due to Sever’s Disease, an irritated growth plate in the heel bone. Most of the time only rest is needed. If the child is participating in athletics, have him or her take a few weeks off. Occasionally, a walking cast or crutches are needed. Oral anti-inflammatory medication (available over the counter in special children’s doses) will be effective as well. The goal is to eliminate the inflammation in the growth plate.


neuroma is caused when the nerve between the metatarsal bones is pinched. This inflames the nerve. The irritated nerve gets larger, causing pain, cramping and burning. Neuromas can be caused by high heels, trauma, arthritis and repeated stress. Conservative treatment includes injection therapy, padding and strapping, and physical therapy. Custom orthotics are also effective. If conservative methods fail, our Milwaukee foot surgeons may recommend outpatient surgery.


Osteoporosis is a silent condition of reduced bone mass and abnormal arrangement of bones. It is the most common bone disease and causes less bone strength, poor bone quality and a greater possibility of a fracture. Risk factors for osteoporosis include age, race, bone structure, body weight, menstrual history, lifestyle (smoking, alcohol, lack of exercise), medications and family history. The most common osteoporosis fractures are very serious and usually include the hip, spine, wrist and foot.

Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar Fasciitis is inflamed fibrous connective tissue (fascia) located along the bottom of the foot and extending from the heel to the ball of the foot. This condition can be quite painful and is often made worse by ill-fitting footwear, excessive physical activity, flat feet and a compromised gait. Athletes are often most susceptible to plantar fasciitis. Depending on the severity and frequency of your condition, our Milwaukee foot doctors may recommend various treatment options including MLS laser therapyESWT therapy, physical therapy, shoe inserts and/or custom orthotics.

Plantar Fibroma

Plantar Fibroma is the most common cause of bottom of the foot pain. It’s a soft lump in the arch. A tissue mass forms in the plantar fascia, causing pain when you stand. Conservative treatment can include padding so there will be less body weight on the arch. If the pain continues or gets worse, surgery may be required to remove the mass. If you suspect the source of your foot pain is due to plantar fibroma, make an appointment to see a Milwaukee foot doctor at Great Midwest Foot and Ankle Centers as quickly as possible. If the mass needs to be removed, a biopsy will be performed to make sure it is benign.

Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome

Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome is a nerve entrapment in the foot. It’s very similar to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome in your hand. There’s a main nerve which enters the bottom of the foot just behind the ankle bone. If the nerve gets “trapped” — in the tunnel where the nerve enters the foot – you’ll experience foot pain and perhaps numbness. Conservative treatment can include anti-inflammatory medicine, paddings and strappings, injection therapy, physical therapy, custom orthotics or immobilization.

If conservative treatments fail, tarsal tunnel surgery will release the entrapped nerve. Our Milwaukee foot surgeon will also remove any soft tissue or bone abnormality which could compress the nerve. After undergoing tarsal tunnel surgery, patients need a soft cast for a few weeks. Physical therapy is also recommended to completely restore range of motion. Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome is serious. The longer the pain persists, the more complicated and difficult the treatment will be.

Toenail Fungus

Toenail Fungus (Onychomycosis) is discoloration and thickening of the nails caused by fungus. It can occur because of untreated athlete’s foot, ill-fitting shoes, stubbing your toe, cuticle damage during nail care, as well as diabetes and aging (which might make it harder to fight off a fungus). Some nail infections are surface problems and can be treated with creams or liquids. Deeper infections require oral medications. For persistent, severe or recurring toenail fungus our Milwaukee foot doctors may utilize the Cool Breeze toenail fungus laser treatment. If you have need toenail fungus treatment, contact Great Midwest Foot and Ankle Centers right away before the problem gest worse.

Plantar Warts

Plantar Warts (Verruca Plantaris) are painful lumps on the bottom of your foot. They are hard, benign lumps on the skin’s surface. These foot warts are caused by the human papilloma virus and are highly contagious. They can be spread walking barefoot in damp places like showers, locker rooms and swimming pools. Certain industry workers can develop warts through continuous exposure to moisture, including food handlers, masons, plumbers and hairdressers. Plantar warts can also be spread by sharing items like washcloths and towels. If not completely removed, warts typically return. Wart removal treatments may include freezing the wart with liquid nitrogen, burning the wart with an electric current, removing it surgically, burning it with acid or using a laser. Plantar warts are painful, contagious and unattractive. For fast, effective plantar wart removal and treatment make an appointment with Great Midwest Foot and Ankle Centers.

Contact our Milwaukee foot doctors today to request an appointment for foot pain diagnosis and treatment.

Brookfield Office

Phone: (262) 781-0200

17495 W. Capitol Dr., Brookfield, WI 53045

Bayside Office

Phone: (414) 761-0981

320 W. Brown Deer Rd., Bayside, WI 53217

Franklin Office

Phone: (414) 761-0981

8153 S. 27th St., 400, Franklin, WI 53132

New Berlin Office

Phone: (262) 781-0200

15324 W. Beloit Rd., New Berlin, WI 53151

Germantown Office

Phone: (262) 781-0200

N112W15237 Mequon Rd., Germantown, WI 53022

Great Midwest Foot and Ankle Centers

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