Foot Pain and Problems The foot is one of the most complex parts of the body. It is made up of 26 bones connected by many joints, muscles, tendons, and ligaments. The foot is susceptible to many stresses. Foot problems can cause pain, inflammation, or injury. These problems can result in limited movement and mobility. Foot pain is often caused by improper foot function. Poorly fitting shoes can worsen and cause foot problems. There are many types of foot problems that affect the heels, toes, nerves, tendons, ligaments, and joints of the foot. Some of the most common foot problems are – Heel Pain: Heel pain is a common foot problem and has several possible causes. The most common cause is plantar fasciitis, which is inflammation where the plantar fascia attaches to the heel bone. The plantar fascia is a thick band of connective tissue that spans the sole of the foot and provides shock absorption while walking. Nerve Problems: Occasionally, foot pain is caused by a pinched or irritated nerve. One type of pinched nerve, or nerve entrapment, that is often seen in the foot is called tarsal tunnel syndrome and is characterized by shooting or burning pain that radiates from the inside (big toe side) of the ankle into the arch and sole. Metatarsalgia (Ball of the foot problem): Metatarsalgia is pain in the ball of the foot, which is given its shape by the rounded ends of the metatarsal bones. Many different conditions can cause metatarsalgia — most often faulty foot functioning, overuse, or a decreased fat pad on the sole of the foot. Bunions: A bunion is a large bump on the side of the foot, just below the big toe joint. It’s the result of the big toe shifting out of position over time and pressing against the second toe, which results in abnormal stress on the big toe joint and surrounding ligaments. Tendonitis: Tendons are the cord-like structures that anchor muscles to bone. When they are over-stretched, or over-used, tendonitis can occur. Tendonitis causes pain with activity or stretching, and the affected tendon is usually painful to the touch.