Swelling on bottom of feet at the toes or on the ball of foot is a quite common condition and often causes discomfort. It may also accompanied by other symptoms such as muscle cramps, red itchy toes, swollen skin, numbness, etc. depending on the causes of the swelling. Below are several conditions that may trigger swollen foot pads, especially at the toes areas.


Bunion is a bony swelling caused by thickened tissue overlying the joint at the bottom of feet at the big toe. It occurs when a bursa (a small protective sac that is filled with synovial fluid to help reduce friction) develops around the joint as a result of friction and pressure from ill-fitting footwear. Bunion may cause inwards pointing of big toe towards the other toes. Anyone can suffer from bunions, but are more common in women. Treatment may range from the use of wider-fitting footwear to surgery. Painkillers can be taken to reduce pain associated with bunions.


Verrucas are benign growth of the skin (warts) on the soles of the feet caused by infection of human papillomavirus. They often develop on the heel or bottom of the foot and range from 1mm to 10mm in diameter. Most verrucas don’t cause pain and will clear within two years. When needed, over the counter drugs such as lactic and salycylic acid can be used to speed up the healing process.


Bursitis is a type of arthritis that often attacks the hip, shoulder, and elbow. It can also attack the knee, heel, or base of big toe causing joint pain and swelling. It is caused by injury to the bursa or overuse of the muscle protecting the bursa and commonly affects people with high physical activities such as athletes, golfers, etc.


Gout occurs when the body failed to remove uric acid efficiently resulting in the accumulation of uric acid in the bloodstream and the joints respectively. This may cause painful swelling in the joints, especially swelling on bottom of the feet at toes and muscle cramps. Gout can be controlled with medication. Changes in diet and reduces alcohol consumption may also help. Acute attacks of gout are treated with anti-inflammatory analgesics. Learn further about Gout in the Joint - Knee, Toe, Finger and Other Common Sites.

Athlete’s foot

Athlete’s foot is a skin infection caused by a fungus that exist between the toes. Athlete’s foot may cause red itchy toes and swollen foot pads. It often starts with an itchy rash between the little toes that can spread to other 2-4 toes if left untreated. Other symptoms such as blisters, cracked skin, swollen skin and stinging, or burning skin can also occur. Fortunately, it is not dangerous and can be remedied with antifungal cream. Keep your toes clean and dry to prevent it from occurring again.


Metatarsalgia is a condition indicated by aching pain and inflammation in the bottom of the foot. Metatarsalgia often causes aching or sharp pain in the ball of foot, around the toes or, only near the big toe. Other symptoms of metatarsalgia include pain that worsens when standing, walking, running or flexing the fee and numbness or tingling in the toes. It may develop in person who is physically active or wearing ill-fitting footwear. Icing and resting can often alleviate metatarsalgia symptoms. Use of modified footwear, along with shock-absorbing insoles or arch supports is recommended to prevent the reoccurring of metatarsalgia.

There you have it! Several conditions that may lead to swelling on bottom of the feet. Read also about Fluid Retention in Legs - Peripheral Edema.