Understanding the nature and mechanism of foot pain

J Foot Ankle Res. 2009 Jan 14:2:1. doi: 10.1186/1757-1146-2-1.


Approximately one-quarter of the population are affected by foot pain at any given time. It is often disabling and can impair mood, behaviour, self-care ability and overall quality of life. Currently, the nature and mechanism underlying many types of foot pain is not clearly understood. Here we comprehensively review the literature on foot pain, with specific reference to its definition, prevalence, aetiology and predictors, classification, measurement and impact. We also discuss the complexities of foot pain as a sensory, emotional and psychosocial experience in the context of clinical practice, therapeutic trials and the placebo effect. A deeper understanding of foot pain is needed to identify causal pathways, classify diagnoses, quantify severity, evaluate long term implications and better target clinical intervention.