Lateral Foot Pain: Causes, Treatment, & Prevention


If you’ve been experiencing discomfort on the outer side of your foot, you’re not alone. Lateral foot pain can be a nagging issue that hinders your daily activities and diminishes your overall well-being. But fret not, as we embark on this journey together, we’ll shed light on the common causes of lateral foot pain and empower you with knowledge to make informed decisions about your foot health.

At Vionic, we understand the importance of finding long-lasting relief for foot pain without compromising on style and comfort. With our commitment to innovative footwear technology and unwavering focus on foot health, we’re here to guide you through the labyrinth of lateral foot pain causes and provide insights that will help you regain your stride.

The Root Problem: Understanding Lateral Foot Pain

Lateral foot pain typically manifests as aching or sharp sensations along the outer edge of the foot, extending from the heel to the base of the fifth toe. It often stems from injuries to the tendons, ligaments, or bones that make up the outer foot structure. Overuse, especially among athletes engaged in repetitive motions like running or jumping, can also contribute to this condition.

Recent studies have revealed that lateral foot pain accounts for approximately 4-5% of all foot injuries in athletes, highlighting its prevalence and impact on athletic performance.1 However, lateral foot pain can also be triggered by various medical conditions, including arthritis, nerve disorders, and structural abnormalities of the foot.

Understanding the underlying causes is crucial for devising an effective treatment plan tailored to your specific needs.


Top Causes of Lateral Foot Pain You Need to Know

Lateral foot pain can have various causes, ranging from overuse injuries to underlying medical conditions. Here are some of the most common causes of lateral foot pain:

  • Overuse injuries: Activities that involve repetitive motions like running or jumping can place excessive stress on the foot, leading to lateral foot pain. Athletes and fitness enthusiasts who push their limits are particularly susceptible to these overuse injuries.
  • Trauma or injury: Sometimes, a sudden blow or injury to the foot can result in lateral foot pain. Whether it’s a fall or an accident, these incidents can leave you with lingering discomfort that requires attention.
  • Footwear woes: Your choice of footwear plays a significant role in foot health. Ill-fitting or unsupportive shoes, such as high heels, can exert excessive pressure on the lateral side of the foot, triggering pain and discomfort.
  • Ankle sprain: Ankle sprains can lead to lateral foot pain, especially when the ligaments on the lateral side of the ankle are stretched or torn. This common injury can have lingering effects on foot function and comfort.
  • Arthritis woes: Arthritis can affect any joint in the body, including those in the foot. Both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis can contribute to lateral foot pain, affecting your mobility and overall well-being.
  • Nerve impingement: Nerves running through the foot can become compressed or pinched, resulting in lateral foot pain. Conditions like Morton’s neuroma or a pinched nerve in the ankle can cause discomfort and require attention.
  • Tarsal tunnel syndrome: The tarsal tunnel, a narrow passageway in the ankle, houses important nerves and blood vessels. If the tunnel becomes compressed, it can lead to lateral foot pain that requires proper diagnosis and treatment.
  • Cuboid syndrome: The cuboid bone, located on the lateral side of the foot, can become dislocated or misaligned, causing lateral foot pain and hindering your daily activities.
  • Stress fractures: Repetitive stress on the foot can lead to tiny cracks in the bones, known as stress fractures. These microfractures, particularly when they occur in the fifth metatarsal bone, can contribute to lateral foot pain and discomfort.

Understanding the potential causes of lateral foot pain is the first step towards finding effective solutions. By addressing the root issues and seeking appropriate treatment, you can regain comfort, mobility, and confidence in every step you take. If you are experiencing lateral foot pain, it is best to consult with a healthcare provider or a podiatrist to determine the underlying cause and develop a treatment plan.

Symptoms that Signal Lateral Foot Pain

Understanding the signs of lateral foot pain is crucial for effectively addressing the issue and finding relief. By paying close attention to your body’s signals, you can take the necessary steps to alleviate discomfort and regain your well-being.

Let’s explore the common symptoms that may indicate the presence of lateral foot pain:

  • Discomfort on the outer foot: Lateral foot pain typically manifests as discomfort along the outer edge of the foot, extending from the heel to the base of the fifth toe. This area may feel sore, tender, or achy, indicating an issue with the tendons, ligaments, or bones in the outer foot.
  • Varied intensity of pain: The intensity of lateral foot pain can range from mild to severe, depending on the underlying cause. It’s essential to pay attention to how the pain fluctuates and any patterns you notice, as this information can guide your treatment approach.
  • Swelling and redness: Inflammation is often associated with lateral foot pain. You may observe swelling and redness in the affected area, indicating an inflammatory response triggered by the injury or condition causing the pain.
  • Difficulty with weight-bearing activities: Lateral foot pain can make it challenging to engage in activities that require weight-bearing on the affected foot, such as walking or standing for extended periods. This limitation can impact your daily routine and overall mobility.
  • Possible gait changes: The discomfort from lateral foot pain may alter your gait or walking pattern. You might find yourself favoring the unaffected foot or altering your stride to minimize pain, which can lead to additional imbalances and discomfort in other areas.

If you experience any of these symptoms, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional or a podiatrist for a proper diagnosis and guidance on the appropriate treatment plan. Understanding your body’s signals and seeking timely intervention can help you address lateral foot pain effectively and get back to a pain-free, active lifestyle.

Effective Solutions for Lateral Foot Pain: Restoring Comfort and Mobility

When it comes to finding relief from lateral foot pain, understanding the available treatment options is essential. By exploring effective solutions tailored to your needs, you can address the root cause of your discomfort and restore comfort and mobility to your everyday life. Here are some recommended treatments for lateral foot pain:

  • Rest and elevation: Giving your feet ample rest and elevating them can help reduce inflammation and alleviate pain. Taking a break from high-impact activities and providing your feet with proper support and cushioning during rest periods can promote healing.
  • Ice therapy: Applying ice packs to the affected area for short intervals can help reduce swelling and provide temporary relief from pain. Be sure to wrap the ice pack in a thin cloth or towel to protect your skin and limit application to 15-20 minutes at a time.
  • Supportive footwear: Choosing footwear that provides adequate arch support and proper shoe cushioning is crucial for managing lateral foot pain. Look for shoes that offer stability, shock absorption, and a supportive fit to reduce pressure on the outer foot. Vionic’s carefully crafted footwear range is designed with innovative Vio-Motion Support Technology to promote proper alignment and alleviate foot discomfort.
  • Orthotic inserts: Custom or over-the-counter orthotic inserts can help correct any biomechanical imbalances contributing to lateral foot pain. These inserts provide additional support, cushioning, and stability to your feet, promoting proper foot alignment and reducing stress on the affected area.
  • Physical therapy: Working with a physical therapist can be beneficial in managing and rehabilitating lateral foot pain. They can provide targeted foot exercises to strengthen the muscles, improve flexibility, and enhance overall foot function.
  • Medications and topical treatments: In some cases, over-the-counter pain relievers or anti-inflammatory medications may be recommended to manage pain and reduce inflammation. Additionally, topical treatments like creams or gels can provide localized relief when applied to the affected area.
  • Restorative exercises and stretches: Specific stretching and strengthening exercises tailored to the foot and ankle can help improve flexibility, promote healing, and prevent future injuries. Your healthcare provider or a qualified physical therapist can guide you through a personalized exercise regimen.

Remember, everyone’s situation is unique, and it’s important to consult with a healthcare professional or a podiatrist for an accurate diagnosis and personalized treatment plan. By combining these effective treatments with Vionic’s supportive footwear, designed to promote optimal foot health, you can find comfort, relief, and renewed mobility in your journey towards overcoming lateral foot pain.

Stay One Step Ahead: Tips for Prevention of Lateral Foot Pain

Prevention is key when it comes to lateral foot pain. By adopting proactive measures and making mindful choices, you can reduce the risk of developing discomfort in the outer foot area. Here are some valuable tips to help you stay one step ahead and prevent lateral foot pain:

  • Choose the right footwear: Opt for shoes that provide proper arch support, cushioning, and stability. Look for brands like Vionic that offer biomechanically designed footwear, specifically crafted to promote optimal foot alignment and reduce the likelihood of foot pain and injuries. Embrace comfort and support with Vionic’s Walker Shoe, a versatile option that combines exceptional arch support and cushioning. For a touch of sophistication, explore the Kensley Loafer, designed with a supportive footbed and timeless style. And for those sunny days by the beach, indulge in the comfort of the Tide Aloe Toe Post Sandal, featuring a contoured footbed for enhanced support.
  • Gradual increase in activity: When engaging in sports or exercise, gradually increase the intensity and duration of your activities to allow your feet to adapt to the demands placed on them. Avoid sudden bursts of high-impact activities to minimize the risk of overuse injuries.
  • Warm-up and cool-down: Prioritize warm-up exercises and stretches before any physical activity to prepare your muscles, tendons, and ligaments for movement. Similarly, cool down afterward with gentle stretches to help your muscles recover and prevent stiffness.
  • Listen to your body: Pay attention to any signs of discomfort or pain in your feet and address them promptly. If you experience persistent or worsening lateral foot pain, consult with a healthcare professional for a proper diagnosis and guidance.
  • Maintain a healthy weight: Excess body weight can place unnecessary stress on your feet, increasing the risk of foot pain and injuries. Maintain a healthy weight through regular exercise and a balanced diet to reduce the burden on your feet.
  • Avoid overuse: Be mindful of repetitive activities that can strain your feet, such as excessive running, jumping, or prolonged standing. Incorporate rest days into your routine and vary your activities to prevent overuse injuries.
  • Supportive inserts or orthotics: Consider using supportive inserts or orthotics to provide additional cushioning, stability, and arch support. These can help distribute pressure evenly across your feet and reduce the risk of developing lateral foot pain.

By implementing these preventive measures into your daily life, you can take proactive steps to safeguard your feet and minimize the likelihood of experiencing lateral foot pain. Remember, prevention is always better than cure, and by prioritizing your foot health, you can stay active, comfortable, and pain-free.

Be sure to choose footwear that offers the right support and alignment, such as Vionic’s biomechanically designed shoes. With our focus on foot health and innovative features, Vionic shoes can provide the necessary comfort and stability to help prevent lateral foot pain. Prioritize self-care, listen to your body, and seek professional guidance when needed.

By investing in the health of your feet, you can continue to move with confidence and enjoy life to the fullest!



  1. Joana Cavaco Silva. “Why Does the outside of My Foot Hurt, and What Can I Do about It?”, Medical News Today, 18 Jan. 2020, . Accessed 20 Apr. 2023.
  2. “Orthotics Compared to Conventional Therapy and Other Non-Surgical Treatments for Plantar Fasciitis.” PubMedCentral, December, 2015.
  3. “Foot Health Facts for Women – Foot Health Facts.”, 2023, Accessed 19 Apr. 2023.


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