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Funny pain in my forefoot, what could it be?

We often see forefoot pain in the clinic, particularly in the ski season and with people using high heel shoes daily. It is often a 'morton's neuroma', a common benign inflammation/thickening of a nerve in our forefoot.

It may feel like a pebble in your shoe or a fold in your sock due to the inflammation. The symptoms you may feel are sharp pain, burning and/or numbness.

People who are more prone to this issue are:

  • Wearing high heels due to the high amount of pressure and load on the forefoot.

  • Tight/narrow shoes will ‘squash’ the forefoot leading to nerve compression.

  • Foot deformities: High arch, bunions, prominent forefoot, flat feet, big toe joint arthritis and very broad feet.

  • Activities and sports that have high impact movements such as running and jumping.

Some things to try at home:

  • Rest: Being off your feet for a few days may help dramatically. You can also try swimming or bike riding as these activities require less load and pressure through the area (though don't tighten your bike shoes too much through the forefoot).

  • Anti-inflammatories can be discussed with your podiatrist, pharmacist or GP

  • Wearing supportive runners will help stabilise your foot, as well as provide the support and cushioning you need.

In podiatry, we can offer many options to help you get around this problem. Ultimately we want to find a way to give the sore area a break, so it has a chance to settle down. The aim is always to make sure we work with people to ensure our recommendations and solutions are conducive to what they want in regards to activity and footwear. Some things that can be done clinically are:

  • Education on footwear and modifications

  • Offloading the area through padding (pictured below) and/or orthotics

  • Refer for radiological imaging (Ultrasound, MRI and X-ray)

  • Strengthening the muscles/ligaments in your feet and legs to prevent the injury from reoccurring.

  • Referral for Corticosteroid injection

  • Surgical opinion: In some cases this issue may need surgical input.

If this article sounds familiar to you, feel free to get in touch to make a time with us to help you get on with life pain free!

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