Know More about Dorsal Foot Pain

Dorsal foot pain is less common than plantar pain (e.g. plantar fasciitis, arch pain, forefoot pain, etc.) and it tends to be overlooked. Is it purely a matter of shoes? Or is there something else that causes dorsal foot pain?


  • Stress fracture of the metatarsus
  • Trauma, post-surgery or prolonged strain
  • Tarsal coalition, e.g. talonavicular coalition
  • Bone spurs, e.g. metatarsal cuneiform spur
  • Excessive tension in the extensors muscle
  • Increased strain on lower limb muscles because of abnormal foot biomechanics causing inflammation
  • Sprained dorsal muscles of the foot
  • Frequently wear shoes that are too loose, too long, too wide, and without laces or buckles


  • Muscle pain over the dorsal (i.e. top) of the foot when walking
  • Feeling fatigue over the dorsal of the foot during walking
  • Swelling and heat at the dorsal of the foot
  • Pain at the top of the foot when kneeling or flexing the metatarsal joint
  • Soreness over the dorsal of the foot when walking up and down stairs
  • Increased dorsal foot pain when squatting
  • Dorsal foot pain when turning the foot inward or outward


  1. Foot sleeve: For mild dorsal foot inflammation, cold therapy and compression sleeve can be used to stabilize the foot and reduce swelling.
  2. Stretching exercises: If the foot extensors muscles are too tight, stretching exercises should be performed.
  3. Custom-made prescription foot orthoses: If there is foot malalignment, it is advisable to approach our Pedorthist for a detail foot assessment and order a pair of custom-made prescription foot orthoses to correct the biomechanics.
  4. Ankle or dorsal foot brace: Ankle or dorsal foot brace can be used to stabilize the injured area.
  5. Functional footwear: Wear shoes with wide and deep toe box to avoid pressure on the affected area
  6. Lace-up or buckled footwear: Wear shoes with laces or buckles
  7. Reduce strenuous exercise
  8. Reduce walking up and down stairs and hills
  9. If there is fracture, it must be fixed and stablized immediately
  10. If there is a tarsal coalition, surgical intervention maybe needed