Pain in Top of Foot

I've been suffering from pain on the top part of my right foot for several months, getting progressively worse. I've not had an accident, so don't know why it's started, but it can be excruciating. It's slightly swollen compared to my other foot.

My doctor has sent me for an X-ray, which I had yesterday but won't know the results until next week, and has also given me some ibuprofen gel to rub in. However, I don't think it's going to show anything up, and I'm not sure if the gel is helping or not. If nothing comes to light I think she's going to refer me for an MRI scan to see what the soft tissues are doing. I guess this could be arthritis? It's not in one particular place, but covers a large part of the top of my foot.

Has anyone else out there experienced this and/or have any ideas of what it might be?


19 Replies

  • Hi Sam's mum😊 sorry that your foot hurts so badly that you have had to see your GP. Like her though until your xray results are back. Ever foot has 26 bones and 33 joints. That is a lot of possible problems that could be shown up.

    There are 100 tendons muscles and ligaments that don't show clearly but it will show any wear of the soft tissue between the bones. Which is arthritis.

    Hope this helps. Regards Rib

  • Thanks Rib. I'm hoping it's not arthritis, but I've done that much damage to that foot in the past that it wouldn't surprise me. Most damage hasn't been to the top of the foot though.

  • OK MofS. Would you like to say what type of damage has been caused and how?


  • Rib, I broke my ankle about 20 years ago, and broke my little toe and badly injured the ankle as well nearly 40 years ago, and in between, as well as since, have had several injured to the foot/ankle. When it was last x-rated I was told i had arthritis in the foot.

  • That should have been x-ray'd - stupid phone auto corrected!

  • Yep. Phones are like that. I do everything on mine but drop them a lot. This was new last week and the dictionary hasn't learnt English yet let alone medical terms.

    I am afraid from what I know about my foot and ankle from it being in plaster for 10 months it does sound as though it could be arthritis.

    If you Google foot bones you will see that if you damage the ankle it like to cause extra wear on the metatarsal bones which are the longest bones that make up one end of the bridge of the foot. These join the navicular and cupoid bones. It is these joints that if pushed just a little out of alignment will cause a lot of wear on the cartilage. That cause the bone on Bo e pain and swelling.

    Hope this helps explain. Wait for the xray and the GP's advise.

    Good luck. Rib

  • Thanks Rib

  • Hi, yes I started this some years ago in my left foot most of the pain is on top of the foot now it has progressed to the right foot too. my doctor told me it was arthritis and nerve pain I start off badly in the morning trying to stand mange a little better as time goes by and then down hill and very swollen by the evening. I take Gabapentin & co-codamol although I find the latter difficult to take they made me feel quite bad. I hope your pain isn't arthritis and can be sorted out for you

  • Thanks Vondel, me too but I've a horrible feeling it might be. I'm already taking Tramadol, Pregabalin and Naproxen, so if this carries on I'll start to rattle! The pain can be quite excruciating though, can't it, and I can't stand wearing a show on my right foot either.

  • Hi, what helped me for a little while was foot inserts but they stopped helping after a time I then started wearing rocker bottom trainers they unbalance you a little until you get used to them but I found I could walk a little longer as you do not have to move your actual foot so much

  • From what you've shared of your history it's more than likely arthritic in nature... something none of us everlike hearing. Other possibilities may be a chronic structural issue which may be greatly relieved by the purchase of orthopaedic trainers (which is how my terrible foot pain has all but disappeared) and a decent pair of arch support shoe inserts. Wear supportive shoes inside and outdoors and use microwavable wheat bags and Deep Heat cream as much as you can to help with pain. Another possible source of your pain could be a type of Neuroma but that's less likely. No matter what the diagnosis turns out to be, get your feet supported in good shoes because it will go a long way towards managing this problem for you. I also take about 1500 mgs of Glucosamine with Chondroitin which really helps. Good luck!

  • Thanks Tillee, that's all very interesting. As you say, it's most likely arthritic in nature. I already have arthritis in my left thumb joint and my spine, so it'll be in good company. I was given an ibuprofen gel to use on my foot by the doctor. I've only been using it since Friday so I'm not sure if it was working or not, but yesterday I started with abdominal pains so have stopped using it. Might well try glucosamine and chondroitin, if it is diagnosed as such.

  • Glucosamine with Chondroitin about 1500 mgs per day is best. You won't notice a differencefor a week or so. In Australia the leading Orthopaedic Surgeons recommended its benefits many years ago. It works for me, anyway and I do hope it works for you. It's not cheap though so see if you can get it from the sales at Holland and Barrett. It could benefit your spine as well.

  • Thanks Tillee

  • Do your toes look straight or has one deviated slightly? Foot pain is a nightmare - sending best wishes 👍🏼😜🍀🍀

  • Thanks Boozybird. No, my toes are all OK. The pain is further back on the foot.

  • I have had very bad pain on top of both feet which keeps me awake at night. I have been to the doctor and had an x-ray which said I had artheritis in my feet. No treatment for that just tablets. I also have severe right hip pain. Had ex-rays - result No Problems. I am on painkillers daily and have now been put on Zormorph twice daily to give me a good nights sleep. It seems to help at times, but other times I can hardly put my foot down. It has been less though since I went onto 3 Zormorphs per day. One in the morning and two at bedrime.

    norma lilburn

  • Hi Norma, thanks for your reply. What you're going through sounds awful! I've got ibuprofen gel at the moment, and will see what they say when the x-ray results come in, but I was already on naproxen for my back when the pain started.

  • Well, I the X-ray showed nothing so I had an MRI scan a couple of months ago. I got the results last Friday, and apparently I've broken a metatarsal but it's healing. The doctor said to give it a couple of weeks (!) and hopefully the pain will start to go away. Bearing in mind that I've been in pain for months now, I can't see that happening. We left it that if the pain hadn't gone away in a month's time then I'd go back. She also told me I had arthritis in my foot - I knew I had it in my ankle - but as I've broken a bone it's most likely that the pain has been caused by that.

    Unfortunately while I was visiting my mother's a few weeks ago, I managed to fall badly on my left knee. The knee is still very painful, but worse of all it's triggered my sciatica pain again. So I've upped my Tramadol intake from 200mg a day to 300mg. Helps a bit but I'm still struggling. And the foot still really hurts!

    I suppose I should have told the doctor I've got collapsed arches so pain in my feet is inevitable due to that causing all sorts of musculoskeletal issues, but I'll save that one for another day!

    Still, I don't know how/when I broke the metatarsal. Must have done something, but I don't remember it.

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