When to see a doctor

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Even relatively mild foot pain can be quite debilitating, at least at first. It is usually safe to try simple home remedies for a while.

Seek immediate medical attention if you:

  • Have severe pain or swelling
  • Have an open wound or a wound that is oozing pus
  • Have signs of infection, such as redness, warmth and tenderness in the affected area or you have a fever over 100 F (37.8 C)
  • Are unable to walk or put weight on your foot
  • Have diabetes and have any wound that isn't healing or is deep, red, swollen or warm to the touch.

Schedule an office visit if you:

  • Have persistent swelling that doesn't improve at all after two to five days of home treatment
  • Have persistent pain that doesn't improve after several weeks
  • Have burning pain, numbness or tingling, particularly involving most or all of the bottom of your foot

Self-care
If your foot pain is due to an injury or overuse, it will often respond well to rest and cold therapy. Avoid activities that may aggravate your foot pain, and put ice on your foot for 15 to 20 minutes several times a day. Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications will also help with pain and may help with healing.

Even with the best of care, you may have some foot stiffness or pain, particularly first thing in the morning or after you've been active, for several weeks. If you are unsure of the cause of your foot pain, or if it is widespread or involving both feet, and particularly if you have diabetes, see your doctor before trying home remedies.

Mar. 13, 2013