Pain on Top of Foot | Causes and treatment

Pain on Top of Foot | Causes and treatment

Our feet consist of bones, muscles, ligaments, and tendons. Certain parts support and carry our whole body weight all day. So, considerably foot pain is very common.

Relatively, we feel pain at the top of our foot that can be very difficult when walking and also while standing. This pain can be moderate or critical, depending on the condition and the extent of any potential injury.

Various health conditions and injuries can cause discomfort in the foot’s movement and stability. Pain on the top of the foot can look like an unusual area, especially if no injury can cause the pain. But, this area can be affected by many conditions and injuries more than bone fracture or bruise.

Causes pain on top of the foot

Foot pain can be caused by an underlying disease. such as poorly fitting shoes, prolonged periods on feet, the most common reason is overdoing activities like running, jumping, or kicking.


Tendonitis is caused by the overuse of tight-fitting shoes when a tendon swells it becomes inflamed and painful. It can cause joint pain, stiffness, and affect how a tendon moves. You can treat mild tendon distress yourself and should feel better within 2 to 3 weeks.

Sinus tarsi syndrome

Sinus tarsi syndrome is a rare condition of the ankle and foot that causes the instability of the subtalar joint. A person suffering from this condition has instability with functional activities and persistent anterolateral ankle discomfort.


An injury, like a sprain or bone break, can happen in any portion of the foot, including the top. Injuries on top of the foot can be common like dropping something on the area. 

Lisfranc (midfoot) injury

A usual cause of damage to the top of the foot is dropping something on it. Other causes include wear and tear of the muscles and injuries connected to the ankle.

The middle of the foot is known as the Lisfrank area or midfoot. It is built up of small bones that support and develop the foot’s arch. If any of these small bones are broken, it causes discomfort, swelling, bruising, and redness on the top of the foot.

A hairline or stress fracture can also occur in this region due to overuse, such as from long periods of running, walking, or other exercise activities.

Fifth Metatarsal Fracture – Broken 5th Metatarsal

Fifth metatarsal fractures (breaks) are normal foot injuries. The fifth metatarsal is the large bone on the outside of the foot that joins the little toe. Pain on the outside of the top of the foot is usually linked to the fifth metatarsal. Types of fractures that regularly happen in the fifth metatarsal are:

  • Avulsion fracture. In an avulsion fracture, a small piece of bone is torn off the principal part of the bone by a tendon or ligament. This sort of fracture is the outcome of an injury in which the “ankle roll” injury occurs along with an ankle sprain.
  • Jones fracture. Jones fractures happen in a small area of the fifth metatarsal that gets less blood. It is difficult to heal due to little blood supply. A Jones fracture is either a stress fracture like a hairline break or an acute break. There are more challenging to treat and are caused by overuse, repeated stress. Other types of fractures can occur in the fifth metatarsal. Examples include midshaft fractures, which usually result from trauma or twisting, and fractures of the metatarsal head and neck.
  • Midshaft fracture: This type of break is regularly due to trauma, accident or twisting of the foot. It happens near the middle of the fifth metatarsal.

Ganglion cyst

A ganglion cyst appears under the surface of the skin, resembling a bump or sac filled with fluid.

It usually grows on top of the foot and may occur following an injury to the area. The cause of these cysts is unknown. It can cause discomfort when it is pressed against a muscle or bone and a burning sensation if it is placed near a nerve. 

Health conditions and Foot Pain

Some health conditions can cause foot pain, particularly ones that influence the nerves and joints. Some examples include:


Arthritis is a general condition that causes discomfort and pain in a joint. The foot has 30 joints, which gives it a general area for arthritis to happen.

The metatarsophalangeal joint (MCP) is positioned at the bottom of each toe and can cause injury on top of the foot if it is affected by arthritis.


Diabetes can create nerve damage, especially in the feet. Uncontrolled diabetes can drive to numbness, and pain in parts of the foot.


Gout affects the big toe most frequently which causes a painful accumulation of uric acid in the joints. However, it can affect other regions of the foot, causing sudden periods of severe pain.

How is the pain diagnosed?

If you have persistent foot pain that persists for more than a week with home treatment, you should visit or contact us. We provide expert emergency care services

We can help you with treatment with our imaging services if we suspect a broken bone, fracture, etc. We can get an X-ray of the foot, blood tests to identify conditions such as gout, MRI to inspect for injury of the nerve.

How is the pain treated?

A small injury could grow a more extensive one if it is untreated. Seeking immediate treatment if you assume an injury is serious.

Treatment depends on the underlying problem include: 

  • Physical therapy helps in the treatment of conditions such as peripheral neuropathy, extensor tendonitis etc.
  • A cast or walking boot for broken bones or fractures
  • Anti-inflammatory drugs can help in reducing inflammation
  • home treatment