What Are the Most Common Causes of Foot Nerve Pain?

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  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 15 August 2019
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Foot nerve pain can result from any condition that damages or compresses the nerves that service the foot. Such pain, known as neuralgia, can occur on an acute level or on a chronic level, which means it can occur once or twice due to an injury, or it may occur very often or consistently over a long period of time. In general, all nerve pain in the body results from nerve damage or compression, though the underlying causes of that compression or damage can vary significantly. Foot nerve pain may result from an injury, arthritis in the joints, or a variety of other conditions.

The sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in the body, and it runs from the lower back all the way down the back of each leg and into the foot. If this nerve becomes compressed or damaged anywhere along its length, foot nerve pain may occur, or nerve pain may be present anywhere throughout the parts of the body serviced by this nerve. In many cases, the treatment for foot nerve pain caused by sciatica focuses very little on the foot itself; instead, the leg, hips, and lower back are examined and treated to alleviate the pressure on the nerve.


Arthritis is a common cause of foot nerve pain. Arthritis occurs when cartilage and ligaments in the joint begin to degrade, leading to pain, excess movement in the joint, and further degradation. As the cartilage, bones, and ligaments wear out,the nerves can become compressed or damaged, since they often run extremely close to joints. If this occurs in the knees or ankles, foot nerve pain is likely to occur. There is no cure for arthritis, but pain management techniques can be done to help alleviate some of the discomfort. This may involve the use of medications, physical therapy, or even bed rest to help keep pressure off the nerves.

An injury resulting from a direct trauma can also lead to foot nerve pain. Bone breaks, muscle tears, ligament sprains, and tendinitis can all lead to compression of a nerve, as well as nerve damage. The injury itself must be treated properly in order to help treat the nerve pain in the foot, as the nerve pain is usually a by-product of a much larger problem. Tendinitis, for example, occurs when tendons become inflamed, and compression may occur on the nerve. By treating the inflamed tendon, the nerve compression may be concurrently treated.



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