Lateral Foot Pain: Manage Pain on the Outside of Your Foot

Posted by Orthotics Direct on 2020 Sep 7th

Have you been experiencing pain on the outside of your foot? There are a lot of factors that can contribute to this irritating pain, which often runs along the outside of the foot and even up to the ankle.

Many people who stand for long periods, or run frequently can suddenly develop this pain. If the pain is severe enough, it can even make walking or standing very difficult. To reclaim your mobility and get back to running, walking, and exercise, it’s important to figure out the underlying cause of your pain and manage it carefully.

Many of the causes of lateral foot pain are common to sports and exercise, so if you work out or do sports often, that’s a good place to start. If you continue to push through the pain, you could put yourself at risk for serious injuries that will forever alter your mobility.

Today, we’ll explore the underlying causes of lateral foot pain, and how you can avoid pain on the lateral side of your foot after running or exercise.

How You Can Identify Lateral Foot Pain

For many people, pain on the outside of their foot is just the beginning. It’s not uncommon for people with lateral foot pain to feel unstable while walking, or notice that their feet are swollen and tender.

Some people find it difficult to stand when they’re experiencing lateral foot pain because the pressure of their body weight can make the pain worse. As well, since their gait is so unstable, many people go on to experience ankle sprains or other injuries that can delay their recovery.

Underlying Causes of Pain on the Outside of Your Foot

Many different issues can cause chronic lateral foot pain. It’s important to consult a podiatrist or orthotics professional to get a proper diagnosis before it’s too late.

To manage the pain from the source, you’ll need to diagnose and treat the underlying issue.

Stress Fractures

Stress fractures occur when the small metatarsal bones in your foot crack because of overuse. Unlike a regular fracture which is caused by one individual injury, these cracks tend to get worse over time.

Doctors can diagnose a stress fracture through a CT scan or X-ray. You can help it heal by using crutches, or resting as much as possible, to avoid putting pressure on the metatarsals even further.

Cuboid Syndrome

Cuboid syndrome is what occurs when the cuboid bone on the outside of your foot is injured or dislocated. This bone, which connects the foot to the ankle, is typically injured through overuse or by wearing shoes that are too tight.

If you have cuboid syndrome, your doctor will instruct you to rest for 6-8 weeks, and stretch well before exercise. You can also get custom orthotics that provide much-needed support for this critical bone.

Peroneal Tendonitis

Peroneal tendonitis occurs when the peroneal tendons, which run from your calves along the outside edge of your foot, become torn or inflamed. This is often caused by overuse, or from ankle injuries which can cause an uneven distribution of weight and pressure.

To avoid further damage, peroneal tendonitis can be treated with over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs and plenty of rest. If the tendon is fully torn, surgery and physical therapy may be required.

Ankle Injury

A twisted ankle is typically caused by the foot rolling under the ankle, which strains or even tears the ligaments that connect the ankle and the foot. This is a common childhood sports injury, and requires rest and care for 6-8 weeks to encourage it to heal fully.

Tarsal Coalition

Tarsal coalition is a genetic condition that causes some individuals to be born without properly connected tarsal bones. These bones are found in the back third of our feet.

Someone with unconnected tarsal bones will experience frequent pain and may find themselves limping after exercise or physical activity.

Treatments for Chronic Lateral Foot Pain

The first step in treating chronic lateral foot pain is establishing the cause. Once you’ve done that, your doctor will guide you towards a treatment plan that will help.

Here are some remedies that can help ease your pain.

RICE (rest, ice, compress, elevate)

If you’ve suddenly started experiencing pain along the sides of your feet, stop whatever you’re doing and follow the RICE routine. This involves resting, icing, compressing, and elevating your feet. It will help ease swelling and hopefully reduce your pain as well.

Regular Stretching

Sometimes, exercising without stretching beforehand can lead to irritating foot pain. To help improve flexibility and protect against sprains, strains, and other injuries, make sure you stretch your legs, ankles, and feet well before exercise.

Comfortable Shoes

Many of the most common causes of lateral foot pain can be treated by investing in more comfortable shoes. Ideally, shoes should have plenty of support along the sole, with comfortable cushioning that protects the feet from repeated impact.

How Custom Orthotic Insoles Can Help with Lateral Foot Pain

Another great way to avoid chronic lateral foot pain is to invest in custom orthotics , which can be made to support a variety of foot conditions.

Whether you have tarsal coalition or cuboid syndrome, a pair of custom orthotic insoles can offer support exactly where you need it most. It’s the best way to ensure you’re protecting your feet from ongoing lateral foot pain. Custom orthotics also ensure you’re not prolonging the issue and potentially causing long-term damage to your feet.

We make every pair of orthotics using your precise measurements. Simply use our app or a foam impression kit, then upload your measurements along with your information to create your very own custom orthotics.


Satisfaction is guaranteed. Shop our range of orthotic brands today and get foot pain relief shipped right to your door.