unexplained foot pain

Why You Might Experience Unexplained Foot Pain

Foot pain. Everyone gets foot pain at some point in their lives. Most people get foot pain from injuries.

In fact, that’s probably the most common source of foot pain. Whether the foot pain occurs because of a deep strain in the foot or an open wound, injury is by far the most common source of it.

Some people get foot pain because of sprains or poorly fitting footwear. Then again, that’s another source of straining or overworking the foot that eventually results in injury.

But, sometimes, foot pain doesn’t come from injuries. Sometimes, foot pain originates from different bodily ailments. And, sometimes, foot pain is just unexplained for most of us.

What is unexplained foot pain?

Unexplained foot pain is any type of foot pain without any real explanation. Most people technically have unexplained foot pain, especially when they don’t know where the pain came from.

But, they eventually learn where their foot pain originates, eliminating the need to call that foot pain ‘unexplained.’

‘True’ unexplained foot pain is any type of foot pain without any type of known cause. It just happens.

Most often, this type of pain is a deep, throbbing foot pain that occurs within one foot and not the other. In rare cases, however, people feel that throbbing pain in both feet.

On an interesting note, unexplained foot pain may have answer behind it. This type of foot pain may originate from the nervous system.

In other words, unexplained foot pain may originate from an impairment within the nervous system, specifically the nerves of lower half of the body and back.

Unexplained foot pain: is it really unexplained nerve pain?

Nerve pain is any type of pain originating from an issue with the nerves of the body. Nerve pain is known to manifest in various forms.

It burns, tingles, shocks and makes parts of the body feel like they’re on ‘pins and needles.’

Most people actually don’t know how they develop nerve pain. This phenomenon is probably why a lot of people have unexplained foot pain.

Nerve pain happens when the nerves of the body experience damage. Various medical conditions, which are said to be over 50, are known to cause damage to the nerve itself. Various drugs and toxins are also said to cause nerve pain.

unexplained foot pain

Some of the most common sources of nerve pain include:

  • Diabetes
  • Celiac disease
  • Bodily trauma
  • Infections from human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
  • Vitamin B12 deficiency
  • Bodily toxins, including excessive alcohol
  • Medications, including HIV drugs, pyridoxine and isoniazid
  • Medical treatments, including chemotherapy
  • Cancers, such as myeloma and lymphoma
  • Autoimmune conditions, such as vasculitis and lupus
  • Amyloidosis
  • Fabry’s disease

Due to these sources of nerve pain, unexplained nerve pain may occur at any time, especially when the symptoms from the original source worsen.

Once nerves become damaged, they start acting abnormally. Some of the most common characteristics of abnormally functioning nerves include:

  • ‘Quiet’ nerves, also known as nerves that send no information to the brain, which results in numbness.
  • ‘Loud’ or overactive nerves, also known as nerves that send excessive and, sometimes, extraneous pain messages to the brain.

Unexplained nerve pain, or nerve pain that doesn’t have an identifiable origin, is typically referred to as idiopathic nerve pain or idiopathic neuropathy.

Even if you undergo extensive testing for this type of pain, you might not find out where that pain might originate without further testing.

Unexplained nerve pain: examining the symptoms

Unexplained nerve pain, also known as idiopathic peripheral neuropathy, is known to cause numbness within the hands and feet.

Sometimes, this numbness goes unnoticed if it’s not associated with pain of any kind.

The symptoms of unexplained nerve pain manifest in different ways.

Some of the most common symptoms include:

  • ‘Crawling’ sensations within the foot
  • Pins and needles sensation within the foot
  • Burning and tingling
  • Electrical shocks

In most cases, this unexplained nerve pain worsens when the affected area is touched.

Sometimes, the pain is persistent when there’s no touching or stimulation of any kind.

In some cases, the pain manifests during different times, such as occurring only at night or only during the day.

People with unexplained nerve pain should seek medical attention to start learning more about the causes of their pain.

During your medical evaluation, it’s important to tell your doctor or podiatrist as much as information as you can about your unexplained nerve or foot pain.

You should also seek a full medical evaluation to check if you may have contracted viral illnesses or have accumulated harmful bodily toxins, in addition to reviewing your family’s full medical history.

Various medical therapies exist for unexplained nerve or foot pain. When you talk to your doctor, it’s also suggested to ask about what treatments might work best for your situation.

Unexplained foot pain and unexplained nerve pain: looking for a cause

Doctors and medical researchers are searching for answers regarding unexplained nerve pain.

It’s because the exact cause of unexplained nerve pain is unclear to most people.

Naturally, learning more about where this pain may have originated can help people eventually understand where this pain might come from.

As much as 15 million to over 20 million Americans experience some form of unexplained nerve pain.

That accounts for 1 in 10 people over the age of 40. Most cases of unexplained nerve pain are said to occur in people over the age of 60.

Some studies have pinpointed a few possible sources for unexplained nerve pain in older people.

A study actually found that ‘almost half of the study’s participants who had unexplained nerve pain had pre-diabetes.’

Due to this, some experts think that ‘elevated blood sugar levels associated with pre-diabetes’ may cause unexplained nerve pain in some people.

Other studies revealed different results. One study found that people with metabolic syndrome (obesity, high blood pressure, abnormal cholesterol levels, pre-diabetes), is common in people who have unexplained nerve pain in their body.

Given how diabetes is known to affect the legs and feet, unexplained nerve pain may develop there due to the condition.


  1. Persistent unexplained foot pain can be a pain in the gut, I used to suffer from same until it disappeared mysteriously just as it appeared. I cannot categorically tell what I did to remedy the situation but this article is quite informative.

  2. I have severe foot ankle calf knee pain in my right foot and leg. I just woke up like that. Have no idea what it is, I have to hobble to the bathroom and then back on the couch 24/7. I can not work. I have some numbness in my foot too and severe stiffness in foot and ankle. I can’t live. going 2 doctor number 5 next month. docs never help me.

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