This condition develops when one of the nerves running along the sole of the foot becomes squeezed, or inflamed between two of the bones of the foot (metatarsals).
Usually related to poor shoe wear, or increase in running/standing. When the toes and foot are unnaturally squeezed, there is pressure created on the nerves in the foot. The nerve becomes chronically thickened and inflamed.
Pain in the ball of the foot, often described as burning, or numbness, that may radiate into the toes. The space between the third and fourth toes is most common, but may occur in the space between the second and third toes as well.
Tenderness, pain, or numbness in the third or fourth webspace with direct pressure on the nerve.
Diagnosis is based almost entirely on history and physical examination. X-rays are usually normal. Ruling out other causes of foot pain is required.
Modification of shoewear, with a wider toe box, and good arch and metatarsal support. Orthotics may be helpful. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication , and rest. A trial of a corticosteroid injection may be of both diagnostic and therapeutic benefit.
Excision of the swollen nerve (neuroma) is generally curative, also mild numbness between the involved toes may result.
Often simple, inexpensive measures can relieve this problem, before it becomes a much more difficult situation.