Lateral foot pain: What are the potential causes?

Various conditions are known to trigger lateral foot pain. The lateral aspect of the foot or side that faces away from the body is composed of muscles, bones, connective tissue and tendons.

The lateral foot is a usual spot where foot pain occurs that can range from mild to debilitating depending on the cause and location of the issue. There are various types of tissues that can be considered as generators of pain in the lateral foot.

Inversion sprain

An inversion sprain can lead to lateral foot pain. This sprain is characterized by damage to the anterior talofibular and calcaneofibular ligaments which are vital on the exterior aspect of the ankle.

Lateral foot pain

The lateral foot is a usual spot where foot pain occurs that can range from mild to debilitating depending on the cause and location of the issue.

The degree of damage varies from one individual to another based on the forces involved during the injury. In some instances, the damaged ligaments and connective tissue might sustain a mild stretch while other cases involves partial or full tear of the ligaments.

The indications linked with an inversion sprain include the following:

  • Ankle and foot pain in the lateral aspect
  • Perceivable popping or snapping at the time of injury
  • Inability to bear weight on the affected ankle

The initial treatment for the condition includes rest, application of ice, compression and elevation to minimize the pain and swelling which is suitable within the initial 24-48 hours after the injury.

Cuboid syndrome

Cuboid syndrome can trigger lateral foot pain. This condition occurs once the peroneus longus which is the long thin muscle in the lateral leg compartment places excess traction on the cuboid bone which results to partial dislocation.

The cuboid bone is one of the 7 tarsal bones in the foot. It is positioned on the lateral side of the foot and forms joints with several other foot bones. The typical signs and symptoms linked with cuboid syndrome include the following:

  • Lateral foot pain during weight bearing activities
  • Coexisting ankle inversion sprain
  • Evident over pronation or rolling inward of the feet and ankles

Effective treatment measures for cuboid syndrome include manipulation of the cuboid back into position as well as managing peroneal tendinitis which occurs along with a partly dislocated cuboid.

Tarsal coalition

Tarsal coalition can also cause lateral foot pain which is an atypical bony, fibrous or cartilaginous connection or bridge amidst 2 tarsal bones. The tarsal bones are found at the rear of the foot. In most instances, the condition develops during fetal development which causes the tarsal bones to form incorrectly.

Other possible causes of the condition include inflammatory joint diseases such as arthritis, infection and previous trauma in the affected area. The typical indications linked with tarsal coalition include lateral foot pain while walking, leg muscle spasms, leg fatigue, flat feet, foot and ankle stiffness as well as an evident limp. The diminished active range of motion in the involved segments is another indication linked with this condition.