Foot sole pain: Pain in the sole of the foot

Foot sole pain: Pain in the sole of the foot

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Pain under the foot

Pain in the soles of the feet under high stress, such as during long hikes, is known to almost everyone. But especially older people (according to the study about 10 percent of the population over 50 years) also suffer from painful soles during periods of rest. Since serious illnesses can be the cause here, therapeutic help should be sought urgently in the case of repeated, apparently unfounded pain in the sole of the foot.

Foot sole pain - a brief overview

The sole of the foot is exposed to high loads in everyday life and has to absorb the pressure of the entire body weight. Occasional pain in the soles of the feet, especially after strenuous days, are relatively harmless and quickly disappear through periods of rest and a relaxing foot bath. However, if the symptoms appear regularly and apparently for no apparent reason, there may be an illness behind them that requires therapy. Here is a brief overview:

  • definition: Sole pain is pain under the foot, in the area of ​​the heel, on the outer edge of the foot, on the longitudinal arch or on the ball of the foot.
  • Symptoms: Foot pain that manifests itself as pulling, tingling or pressing pain, which can occur either selectively or over a large area. Other symptoms such as burning feet, heel pain or swollen feet can also occur.
  • Possible causes: Inflammation, vascular diseases, sprains, breaks, ligament tears, rheumatism, gout, osteoporosis, arthrosis, excessive pressure, metabolic disorders, circulatory disorders, nerve disorders, malalignment of the feet, heel spurs.
  • Therapies: Depending on the cause, the doctor prescribes, for example, rest, anti-inflammatory medication, soles of the feet, physiotherapy, insoles or special orthopedic shoes.
  • Naturopathy: Osteopathy, acupuncture, nutritional therapy, homeopathy, Schüßler salts, hydrotherapy, curd wrap, medicinal plants and herbal medicine.


The sole of the foot means all painful symptoms under the foot that are not caused by acute injuries. This includes pain in the area of ​​the heel as well as the outer edge of the foot, the longitudinal arch and the ball of the foot.

The sole of the foot is exposed to high loads

As our daily means of transportation, the feet are exposed to high loads and the sole of the foot has to withstand the pressure of the entire body weight. For this purpose, the sole of the foot has a fat body as a base, which absorbs shocks and pressure with its cushioning effect. Most of the load is borne by the heel and ball of the foot, so that the fat body is particularly pronounced here. However, these are also the areas in which the sole of the foot is particularly often found.

Symptom: aching soles of the feet

Depending on its causes, the sole of the foot pain can affect almost the entire sole of the foot as a flat pulling pain or painful tingling, or it can also occur as punctiform pressure pain. Some patients only have pain on the soles of their feet when they are under stress, others also suffer during periods of rest. Based on the location, the intensity and the situations in which the sole of the foot appears, it is usually only possible to draw conclusions about the cause of the symptoms.


Foot pain in general can be caused by numerous different causes, ranging from vascular diseases to sprains, breaks or torn ligaments to rheumatic diseases, gout, osteoporosis and arthrosis. The pain, however, is often due to excessive pressure, poor circulation or impairments or diseases of the nerves.

Inflammatory reactions

For example, excessive stress on the sole of the foot can lead to inflammation of the plantar fascia (plantar fasciitis). This inflammation of the aponeurosis plantaris (tendon plate under the foot) usually manifests itself in pressure pain on the heel bone, which can radiate down to the basic joints of the toes and trigger there toe pain. As a rule, the symptoms are most pronounced in the morning after getting up and after long periods of stress. However, some patients experience painful pulling even when touched lightly. They find it increasingly difficult to walk and they involuntarily put more strain on the other foot, which can lead to similar complaints.

Malposition of the feet

Misalignment of the feet and a correspondingly less favorable distribution of body weight over the individual areas of the sole of the foot promote the occurrence of plantar fasciitis. A heel spur is also a possible trigger for plantar fasciitis.

Nerve impairments

Impairments to the nerves can also cause the symptoms. In this context, pinching off or compressing the nerve tracts on the entire section between the sole of the foot and the brain are to be mentioned as possible triggers of the complaints. The nerves are pinched off at a narrow point and then send a kind of emergency signal to the brain, which is usually perceived as a painful tingling or pulling. This compression can take place locally in the area of ​​the foot or, for example, also in the spine. Accompanying symptoms such as low back or back pain or numbness in the legs provide important information as to whether and where a nerve may be trapped.

Metabolic disorders

Since metabolic disorders often have a significant influence on the supply of the nerves, chronic metabolic diseases such as diabetes are often associated with impairments of the nervous system. These diseases of the peripheral nervous system, which are summarized under the term neuropathy or polyneuropathy, can cause sensory disturbances, which are expressed as pain in the sole of the foot.

Circulatory disorders

Too little blood circulation is a possible trigger for the painful soles of the feet. In peripheral arterial occlusive disease (PAD), blood flow to the extremities is usually permanently impaired by hardening of the arteries. These circulatory disorders can lead to painful tingling and pulling or even numbness on the sole of the foot. If PAVK is the cause of the sole of the foot, patients often suffer from other diseases of the cardiovascular system (e.g. coronary heart disease).


Experienced therapists can often already guess the cause of the pain from a description of the symptoms as well as inspection and scanning of the foot. The suspicion of impairment of the nerves can be checked by measuring the nerve conductivity and the blood flow can be checked by means of pulse and blood pressure measurement. Blood tests in the laboratory can also be used to determine possible inflammation. In orthopedics, a podoscope is often used today for soles of the feet to determine possible misalignments of the feet. Since a lack of minerals and vitamins can impair the conductivity of the nerves, this possibility should also be checked in the context of the diagnosis. If necessary, imaging methods such as classic X-rays, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computer tomography (CT) are used to secure the diagnosis.


If the pain in the sole of the foot is triggered by excessive stress, it is recommended to rest first. If inflammatory processes, such as plantar fasciitis, are suspected, anti-inflammatory drugs are often used. Massage of the soles of the feet can also help alleviate the symptoms. Physiotherapy can counteract possible incorrect loads. Insoles and special orthopedic shoes can also make a significant contribution to alleviating the symptoms.


According to the holistic treatment approach of naturopathy, accompanying complaints of the patients should also be treated when treating the sole of the foot. For example, osteopathy is also used to treat parallel back pain or other tensions or blockages. Furthermore, acupuncture is used quite successfully to treat nerve compression. If there is a lack of vitamins or nutrients as the cause of nerve impairments, targeted nutritional therapy is also recommended. Homeopathy also offers a number of starting points for the treatment of nerve disorders and corresponding foot pain, but the use should be left to experienced therapists. The same applies to the use of the Schüßler salts. Self-directed therapy is not recommended since the development of the symptoms should be monitored continuously and further therapeutic measures may have to be initiated promptly.


Since incorrect stress and overload are common causes of foot sole pain, good footwear can help to alleviate the symptoms or prevent them from occurring in the first place. It should be ensured that shoes and stockings are not too tight and breathable. Frequent crossing of the legs should also be avoided, as this can promote circulatory disorders. Herbal remedies from naturopathy, such as horse chestnut extracts, can instead support blood circulation. Gripping exercises with the toes and rolling the soles of the feet over a hedgehog ball are also beneficial. In addition, regular exercises that train the leg muscles are recommended. Reducing obesity also reduces the stress on the sole of the foot. (fp, vb)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.

Dipl. Geogr. Fabian Peters


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  • M. Schneider et al .: Management of early rheumatoid arthritis, interdisciplinary S3 guideline, German Society for Rheumatology e.V., (accessed August 20, 2019), AWMF
  • Kendrick Alan Whitney: Overview of diseases of the feet and ankles, MSD Manual, (accessed August 20, 2019), MSD
  • Michael Vitek: Help with foot pain - frequent complaints, injuries, path to diagnosis, treatment methods, Kneipp Verlag, 1st edition, 2006
  • Kendrick Alan Whitney: Plantar Fasciose, MSD Manual, (accessed August 20, 2019), MSD

Video: Whats Causing your Foot Pain? (August 2022).