Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Foot Pain - Toe Pain

Forefoot Pain


Forefoot pain refers to pain and discomfort felt toward the top of the foot. The rate of forefoot pain and deformity increases with age. When a cause cannot be determined, any pain on the ball of the foot is generally referred to as metatarsalgia.

Forefoot pain may be due to:

  • Morton's neuroma
  • Sesamoiditis
  • Stress fractures

Morton's Neuroma

A neuroma usually means a benign tumor of a nerve. However, Morton's neuroma, also called interdigital neuroma, is not actually a tumor. It is a thickening of the tissue surrounding the nerves leading to the toes. Morton's neuroma usually develops when the bones in the third and fourth toes pinch together, compressing a nerve. It can also occur in other locations. The nerve becomes enlarged and inflamed. The inflammation causes a burning or tingling sensation and cramping in the front of the foot. Other causes of this condition include:

  • Tight, poorly-fitting shoes
  • Injury
  • Arthritis
  • Abnormal bone structure

Treatment for Neuromas. Pain from Morton's neuroma can be reduced by massaging the affected area. Roomier shoes (box-toed shoes), pads of various sorts, and cortisone injections in the painful area are also helpful. A combination of cortisone injections and shoe modifications provides better immediate relief than changes in footwear alone. Ultrasound-guided injection of alcohol might also provide relief from Morton's neuroma, research finds.

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Review Date: 01/30/2011
Reviewed By: Harvey Simon, MD, Editor-in-Chief, Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Physician, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

A.D.A.M., Inc. is accredited by URAC, also known as the American Accreditation HealthCare Commission (www.urac.org)