Lateral Foot Pain – Causes, Treatment & Exercises

Lateral foot pains are inconveniences which are experienced on the outside of the foot. They can be caused by simple actions like jumping from a height or accidents. Because lateral foot pain can get very severe and can restrict one’s movement, it is essential to pay attention to its causes, symptoms, and remedies.

Causes of Lateral Foot Pain

1) Ankle Sprain

An ankle sprain occurs when the foot rolls awkwardly under the ankle. When this happens, there is a high tendency for the ligaments which are outside the ankle to stretch or tear in severe cases.


  • Swelling around the ankle region
  • Sharp pain when balancing body weight or putting mild pressure on the ankle
  • Visible bruises around the ankle

An ankle sprain can come from participation in sports activities like running, jumping, playing football and so on. It can also result from walking carelessly on rough roads and moving around in ill-fitting shoes.

Doctors usually diagnose ankle sprain by checking the affected ankle using X-ray to determine the extent of tissue damage.

In mild cases, resting the ankle for about seven weeks will help return the ankle to normal. Also, applying balm on the affected ankle can hasten ankle recovery and reduce pain. There may be a need to undergo surgery if there is a tear in the ligament.

lateral foot pain treatments

2) Stress Fracture

Stress fracture mostly occurs when there’s a small break in one of the bones of the foot. It is mainly caused by continuous overloading of the foot, especially during sports or physical activities. Stress fractures on foot bones may be extremely small yet so painful. However, they heal quickly if detected earlier.


  • Deep sharp pains in the bones of the foot
  • The area affected may feel tender to touch
  • Swelling of the affected area might be noticed

Resting the leg for about seven weeks can help the bones heal naturally. One can even use ice on foot to reduce inflammation and pain. Mild exercises like cycling and swimming can also help. The doctor may administer approved pain relievers to ease the pan. Depending on the severity, you may use braces or crutches.

3) Bunions

Bunions result from bone defect where the big toe of the foot rotates inwards and point to the other toes. Consequently, the affected person puts most of the bodyweight around the first toe joint.

Bunions can result from putting on very tight shoes that squash the toes. Sometimes it might be hereditary.

One needs to change to more comfortable footwear. You may need surgery to remove the bunion in severe cases.

An exercise to keep your feet in good condition

Marble Pickup is an exercise that can help to improve the strength of the feet and make them resistant to common lateral foot issues.

This exercise aims to enhance strength in the muscles on the underside of the feet and toes.

Steps to follow

  • Rest the feet flat on the floor while sitting up straight in a chair.
  • Place a bowl containing 25 marbles and an empty bowl on the floor in front of the feet (one bowl in front of each foot).
  • If you place the bowl of marble in front of the right foot, use only the toes on the right foot to pick each marble and drop into the empty bowl on the left until you empty the bowl on the right.
  • Repeat, using the left foot until you empty the bowl on the left.