Hands and feet

September 2009

FocusHands and feet

Persistent foot pain

Volume 38, No.9, September 2009 Pages 670-676

Peter Baquie

Nicola Quigley

Laura Baquie

Mark Blackney


Persistent foot pain can present difficulties in both diagnosis and management.


This article aims to describe an approach to diagnosis and management based on the location of the pain, the patient’s age, and the type of activity being undertaken.


Accurate diagnosis is important for persistent foot pain, as the investigation and management varies significantly between conditions. As a background to understanding common conditions encountered, this article reviews the age related changes in foot structure, foot loading and pathologies. A more detailed discussion of commonly encountered conditions follows.

Persistent foot pain can present significant diagnostic challenges. Even if a diagnosis has been made, relevant pathology can be difficult to settle. As an approach to likely diagnoses, the discussion in this article will be in terms of location (rear foot, midfoot, forefoot) with allowances for medial and lateral pain in each region. Likely diagnoses will also vary depending on the patient’s age and activity level.

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Correspondence afp@racgp.org.au

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