Link Between Foot Pain Severity and Prevalence of Depressive Symptoms Academic Article uri icon


  • Associations between pain and depression are well known, yet foot pain, common in populations, has been understudied. This cross-sectional study examined foot pain and severity of foot pain with depressive symptoms in adults.Framingham Foot Study (2002-2008) participants completed questionnaires that included questions about foot pain (yes/no; none, mild, moderate, or severe pain) and the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (scores ≥16 indicated depressive symptoms). Age and body mass index (BMI) were also assessed. Sex-specific logistic regression was used to calculate odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CIs) for associations of foot pain with depressive symptoms, adjusting for age and BMI. In a subset, further models adjusted for leg pain, back pain, or other joint pain.Of 1,464 men and 1,857 women, the mean ± SD age was 66 ± 10 years. Depressive symptoms were reported in 21% of men and 27% of women. Compared to those with no foot pain and independent of age and BMI, both men and women with moderate foot pain had approximately a 2-fold increased odds of depressive symptoms (men with severe foot pain OR of 4 [95% CI 2.26-8.48], women with severe foot pain OR of 3 [95% CI 2.02-4.68]). Considering other pain regions attenuated ORs, but the pattern of results remained unchanged.Even after we adjusted for age, BMI, and other regions of pain, those reporting worse foot pain were more likely to report depressive symptoms. These findings suggest that foot pain may be a part of a broader pain spectrum, with an impact beyond localized pain and discomfort.


  • Awale, A
  • Dufour, AB
  • Katz, P
  • Menz, HB
  • Hannan, MT

publication date

  • 2016