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Pain in the ball of the foot and sometimes the toe area, if you google it, most of the time it comes up saying ‘Morton’s Neuroma.’ Now, Morton’s Neuroma is very, very rare and it can happen in between any of the inter metatarsal spaces where the heads of the bones are. Morton’s Neuroma is a tumor of the nerve so it’s very, very rare but it’s commonly used to describe pain in this area.
What’s very common is to have Morton’s Neuritis which is inflammation of the nerves that feed the space in between the bones, and a dropped metatarsal. If any of these metatarsals drop down, pressure on the head of the bone will send pain signals to the inter metatarsals nerve space as that’s where the nerves are. Most commonly, all we need to do is lift the second, third, and fourth metatarsal heads so that it is the same as your hand. As you see with the hand the third metacarpal is the highest. So, in the foot we also want the third metatarsal to be the highest. That’s why by lifting the metatarsals back up again (the second, third and fourth) it can make the pain underneath the foot go away almost overnight.
If it is Morton’s Neuritis sometimes the nerve can be so inflamed that it may take many months for the inflammation of the nerve to stop giving you pain or numbness even if we lift the ball of the foot.
Now, also if there is a cyst which is kind of common also in between any of the metatarsals, so if the bones are rubbing together too much the toes will begin to separate. So, if there is a cyst the toes will show that cyst up by beginning to part. Therefore, the toes show up what the metatarsals are doing.
If you have pain in the ball of the foot we call it ‘Metatarsalgia’ – it means pain in this area. But, there are lots of different reasons, we would need to investigate what was giving the Metatarsalgia which just is a general name for pain in this area of your foot.
So, we don’t know if it’s a drop metatarsal, a pinched nerve, a cyst, a neuroma tumor. That’s why we need to find out by looking and assessing your foot, finding out what the issue is and what are the best options to correct it.
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