What is it? This painful condition affects the ball of the foot and often the toes. It most often occurs in the area between the third and fourth toes and the pain can vary from an intense, dull ache to burning to pins and needles. One may even experience numb toes. It may feel as though you have a persistent pebble under your foot.

What causes it? The transverse metatarsal arch (the forefoot arch) can collapse causing the impingement of the digital nerves flowing in between the long bones of the foot. The now squashed nerves can become thickened, inflamed and tender.  Tight fitting shoe-wear can aggravate this condition and cause further impingement. The inflamed nerve can sometimes form a neuroma which is a benign tumour formed within the neural tissue due to pressure and friction of the nerve.

What are the signs that I might have a digital neuritis or neuroma?

  • Intense, dull ache in the forefoot
  • Burning sensation in the forefoot
  • Pins and needles
  • Numb toes
  • Pain that ‘shoots’ up into the toes

How do I treat it? See your podiatrist for a diagnosis. This is usually treated with orthotic therapy and a change in shoe-wear. If your podiatrist suspects a neuroma, she will suggest an ultra-sound and surgical intervention may be necessary.