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What Are the Most Common Causes of Midfoot Pain?

By Nya Bruce
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Pain in the middle section of the foot, or the midfoot, has a number of potential causes. Common causes of midfoot pain include arthritis, injury and a condition known as Kohler's disease. To best resolve any issues of pain, a doctor will need to first determine its exact cause.

A midfoot sprain is one type of injury that can occur when there is a sharp, unexpected twist. This is a common injury for active people such as dancers and athletes, although anyone can experience this type of injury. Sprains are characterized by immediate midfoot pain, which develops into swelling and even some bruising. When this occurs it is often the result of minor stretching of the ligaments in the midfoot, however the severity can vary from over-stretched to torn ligaments. This type of pain can be treated with Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) and can also be relieved by icing the affected area.

Another source of midfoot pain is an injury that is known as a Linsfranc fracture. This can be a serious injury that involves fractured or dislocated midfoot bones and torn ligaments. Often this type of injury presents the same type of pain and other symptoms that a person experiences with a midfoot sprain. It is also frequently a result of twisting the foot and it may occur if the foot is directly hit or crushed by an object.

For some people arthritis is a source of chronic midfoot pain. When this is the case, pain may be lessened by taking NSAIDs. Special shoes or shoe insoles may also be helpful in stabilizing the foot and in reducing pressure that may be causing some of the arthritic pain. In severe cases, a person may require surgery to help relieve midfoot pain and other symptoms related with this type of arthritis. Typically surgery is an option only after all other attempts to provide relief have failed.

Children who are suffering from midfoot pain and potentially some swelling may have a condition that is known as Kohler's Disease. This is a bone disorder that occurs as a result of a loss of blood supply to certain bones in the foot. It typically affects children that are no older than nine years old, and it is a condition that they will generally grow out of. Pain may be treated with the help of NSAIDs and by resting the foot as much as possible. In some cases a walking cast might be necessary to alleviate the pain.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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