Foot injuries

Foot problems are common and are normally caused by injury or normal wear and tear.

As you get older, normal wear and tear can cause your foot problem to flare-up now and again, often for no reason.

Foot problems usually settle within 6 weeks

Keeping active

Keeping active is an essential part of your treatment and recovery and is the single best thing you can do for your health.

Being physically active throughout your recovery can:

  • prevent a recurrence of the problem
  • maintain your current levels of fitness – even if you have to modify what you normally do, any activity is better than none
  • keep your other muscles and joints strong and flexible
  • prevent weight gain

More about keeping active

Resting or moving?

Within the first 24 to 48 hours after a foot injury you should try to:

  • rest your foot but avoid long spells of not moving at all
  • move your foot and toes gently for 10 to 20 seconds every hour when you are awake

After 48 hours:

  • Try to use your leg more - exercise really helps your foot and can relieve pain
  • Do whatever you normally would and stay at, or return to work - this is important and is the best way to get better
  • When going upstairs, reduce the strain on your foot by leading with your good leg - if there's a handrail, use it
  • When going downstairs, reduce the strain on your foot by leading with your problem leg - if there's a handrail, use it

Avoid sports or heavy lifting until you have less discomfort and good movement.

What about sports?

You should take your time before taking part in any sports after a foot problem. If you take part in sports too soon you could be injured again.

Before doing sports, you should:

  • have no swelling
  • be able to move your foot and toes properly through full range of movement
  • have full or close to full strength
  • be able to take your weight through your leg without limping

Remember to stretch and warm up fully before sports.

Can my foot problem cause trouble anywhere else?

You may feel some pains in your toes, ankle, calf, knee and even in your back. This should improve as your foot problem gets better.

Foot problems can also cause limping. If the limp is severe, using a walking stick on the opposite side to your foot problem may help.

Do I need to see my doctor?

You don't normally need to see your GP if you follow the right advice and take the right medication.

Your foot problem should improve over the next 6 weeks.

If you experience any of the following, you should speak to your GP as soon as possible:

  • Broken skin or an open wound
  • Unable to put any weight though your foot
  • Pain that worsens
  • Your foot problem hasn't improved within 6 weeks

Find your nearest GP practice

Musculoskeletal (MSK) Helpline

If you have a foot problem, the Musculoskeletal Advice and Triage Service (MATS) can provide information and advice to help with your problem, and refer you to a healthcare professional if you need it.
How to contact