Foot pain can be a very complex and uncomfortable problem, often arising for seemingly no cause at all. But luckily, at PhysioSteps, we are here to un-complicate things for you.
Morton’s Neuroma, or Metatarsalgia is one of the most common foot injuries. It consists of pain in the forefoot/toes and is due to repetitive loading of a concentrated force through this area while you are walking. That is why it is very commonly associated with wearing high heels or tight shoes.
Morton’s Neuroma will commonly affect middle-aged females. They complain of sharp pain in the forefoot that can radiate into the toes. There can also be associated numbness and a burning sensation in the foot. It can feel like there is something inside the ball of your foot or like your sock is bunched up in your shoe. Pain will be worse when wearing high heels or tight shoes and relieved by removing your shoes.
To understand this complex condition, you will need to look at the anatomy. The forefoot consists of the metatarsals(the long bones in your foot), which form the starts of your toes and the arch of your foot. Around these bones, nerves, tendons, muscles and blood vessels all have to fit in. The nerves, in particular, run in close proximity to these bones. When you foot is in a pointed position, such as when you are standing on your toes or in high heels, the metatarsal bones compress and this can irritate the nerve in the same area, causing thickening or swelling of the nerve. This can eventually lead to permanent nerve damage.
There are many ways we can reduce pain and rehab your foot pain back to full function, your physio will use the right techniques for the best result for you. Some of those options are listed below, however, it is best to discuss what is appropriate for you with your physiotherapist.
Orthotics and/or metatarsal dome – these help to relieve pressure over the metatarsal heads and to provide better stability for the foot and arch
Change footwear – it is best, especially if you already have this condition, to avoid wearing high heels. Comfortable and supportive shoes will allow you to return to pain-free walking much faster. If there is no option to stop wearing high heels, there are orthotics available to wear in high heels that may provide some relief.
Exercises – strengthening the arch of the foot and the calf muscles as well as stretching through the calf will help to support the foot and relieve pressure through this area
Talk to your GP regarding anti-inflammatory medication and/or corticosteroid injection – in most cases it is best to try conservative management before having an injection
Ice can help to relieve pain in the early stages of rehab
Physiotherapy techniques such as massage can also help to relieve pain and reduce pressure over the nerve
If this sounds like the foot pain you have been experiencing, then you should seek help and advice from a physiotherapist or podiatrist to avoid long-term pain and discomfort. They will help to set you on the path to recovery and give you the best tips to suit you and your pain, and will diagnose your symptoms accurately.