by EBSCO Medical Review Board

A risk factor is something that raises the chances of getting a health problem. A person can get foot pain with or without the risk factors listed below. The chances of getting foot pain are greater in people who have many risk factors.

Foot pain is more common in children and older adults. Women may also be at higher risk from wearing high-heeled shoes.

Other risk factors are:

  • Certain jobs—Some jobs may raise the risk of injury, such as construction. Other problems may be from repetitive use on the job, such as in the food service industry.
  • Sports—People who do high-impact exercise are at risk for plantar fasciitis, heel spurs, sesamoiditis, Achilles tendinopathy, and stress fractures.
  • Smoking—Smoking slows healing. This may lead to foot problems that become painful because they do not heal properly.
  • Certain health problems, such as:
    • Diabetes—People with diabetes are at risk for severe foot infections due to poor circulation.
    • Obesity—People who carry excess weight put more stress on their feet. This also raises the risk of foot or ankle injuries.
    • Other health problems—People with osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, and some inherited abnormalities are also at risk for foot pain.


Foot care 101. American Podiatric Medical Association website. Available at: Accessed May 5, 2020.

Foot complications. American Diabetes Association website. Available at: Accessed May 5, 2020.

Foot pain and problems. Johns Hopkins Medicine website. Available at: Accessed May 5, 2020.

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