Pain On Outside of Foot – Things You Should Know

There are multiple things that can be a reason for pain on the outside of foot.

This pain can be felt around lateral side or medial site of foot.

Usually onset of these foot pain can help to point out the reason of pain.

In some causes pain starts gradually and increase its intensity over the certain period while in some pain develop suddenly.

We will discuss the most common causes that leads to pain on the outside of the foot and will see their sign-symptoms and causes.

Ankle sprain

Ankle sprain account for almost 85% of foot injuries and one of the most common cause that leads to pain on the outside of foot.

Ankle sprain with inversion injury often gives pain on lateral part of foot.

Anterior Talofibular Ligament is the most commonly affected ligament during ankle sprain.

This ligament gets injures as we suffer from inversion injury during ankle sprain which cause foot to roll inside while ankle rolls in outward direction.

Inversion injury leads to bruising, swelling and pain on lateral side of foot. Also the ligaments get torn partially or completely depending on the intensity of sprain.

Among the all ankle sprain sufferers, almost 35% will face the recurrent pain & instability in foot which will cause more sprain in future. These recurrent pain and sprain can be avoided with immediate treatment and rehabilitation of ankle.

Stress Fracture

Stress fractures can cause pain on outside of the foot. It is one of the most common cause. Repetitive sport activities can lead to minute break in foot bones which is termed as stress fractures.

The pain caused by stress fractures can be located at lateral, medial or on either site of foot. It all depend on which underlying bone is fractured.

Pain on lateral side of foot may be caused by fracture of navicular or calcaneus bones while depending on which metatarsal is fractured, pain can be located on both side of foot.

Pain on the side of foot caused by stress fractures comes slowly and increases gradually.

Cuboid syndrome

Most of the time cuboid syndrome goes undiagnosed and is one of the minor cause of pain on lateral side of foot.

Though it is less common cause that leads to pain on outer side of foot, it is a classical symptom of cuboid syndrome.

Partial dislocation of cuboid bone due to repetitive stress or injury to foot is termed as cuboid syndrome.

In this condition pain start at the lateral side of foot and spread towards the toes. They become worse while walking on uneven surface and also during morning.

Pain reduce with the rest and increases with movement of foot. It can also produce swelling and tender spot on foot.

If you have pain on the outer side of foot for more than 3 months then you must see a doctor to rule out the cause of cuboid syndrome.

Almost 7% of people who suffers from ankle sprain are likely to develop cuboid syndrome if not treated properly.

Read more about this condition at our cuboid syndrome page.

Peroneal Tendonitis

This is one more common cause that produces pain around heel & outside of foot area. Repetitive use of this tendon increases stress & tension across the peroneal tendon which leads to it’s enlargement, thickening & swelling.

Peroneal tendon runs across the lateral side of foot behind the fibula and connect muscle to the bones.

That is the reason swelling of this tendon produce pain around lateral side of foot.

This tendonitis is mainly caused by overuse of tendon especially during running, ankle sprain and in athletes.

As like many other causes of foot pain, the pain caused by peroneal tendonitis is also increase in morning and slowly gets better with movement.


Bunions is a deformity that occurs at the base of big toe causing swelling of joint and pain.

It is also known as hallux valgus.

It is another common cause that gives pain on outside of the foot.

Real cause behind these deformity is unknown but it is found that it runs through the families and linked to the genes. But people who have more flexible joints tends to suffer from bunions. Wearing an ill fitting shoe makes the condition worse and increases pain. In this condition big toe points towards the other toes causing swelling and inflammation at base joint of big tow. Rarely this condition seen to be occurred around the joint of little toe and medically it is called as bunionettes.

In sever cases surgery is the best option to get rid of them while in mild cases bunions found to respond well to ‘Toe Stretchers’.

Toe stretchers realign all toes and help to reduce the bunions.

Tarasal Coalition

It is a rare cause for outside pain on foot.

Abnormal connection of two or more bone in foot is known as tarsal coalition.

Tarsal bones of foot covers the middle and back part of foot. Usually talus, calcaneus and navicular are most common bones that involves in coalition resulting into rigidity and flatfoot.

Tarsal coalition is a congenital problem of foot bones while symptoms starts to appear in the second decade of life of sufferer.

Abnormal walking, sudden pain, cramps and fatigue are the most common symptoms of this condition. This may cause abnormality in foot biomechanics causing ankle sprains and abnormal walking. Surgery is best part of treatment while custom made shoe insert may help for certain extend.

Corn and Calluses

These are small areas of hard & thick skin usually caused by constant friction on foot.

Corn and calluses may give rise to on the outer part of the foot.

Ill fitting shoes, dry skin and constant friction on skin are the prominent causes of development of corn & calluses on foot. They can grow anywhere on the foot skin but common area for corns are top to toe while calluses grow over ball of foot.

They can also grow at lateral edge of foot causing foot pain on lateral side.

Usually calluses are painless and corns may cause pain by affecting deeper part of skin. Calluses can be removed by using a foot callus remover that either run on batteries or work as simple file.

Posterior Tibial Tendonitis

Tendonitis of the posterior tibial tendon is termed as ‘Posterior tibial tendonitis’

The most common symptom of this condition is localized pain along the inner side of foot and ankle.

This tendonitis is caused by irritation, injuries due to repetitive overuse of tendon, inflammation and degeneration.

The main function of posterior tibial tendon is to provide support to inner foot arch.

Pain increase with activity of foot and make it difficult to walk, run or jump.


Arthritis is a systemic disorder that can affect any joint of body.

Arthritis can cause pain along the outside of foot. Rheumatoid arthritis & Osteoarthritis are the two different types of arthritis. First is inflammatory in nature while second is degenerative.

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