What Causes Pain in the Ball of Your Foot?


Morton’s neuroma is often described as having the sensation that you have a small rock in your shoe, but when you take off your shoe to check, there’s nothing there. This is because the feeling happens in the ball of your foot, between the third and fourth toes, and is created by a thickening of the muscle and fatty tissue around a major nerve that connects to your toes. Compression of this nerve causes numbness and a burning sensation with the added indignity of severe pain and discomfort.

Morton’s neuroma is more prevalent in people who wear tight-fitting shoes, which can be any type of tight-fitting shoe or boot that squeeze the toes together. Many ski boots and rock climbing shoes are very bad for your feet. Athletes and long distance runners are more likely to develop this condition due to the repeated stress absorption these activities require, regardless of what shoes you use. If you are experiencing other foot abnormalities such as bunions and hammertoes then you are also more susceptible to developing a neuroma.

Morton’s neuroma is treated by conservative measures that include the following:

●     Properly fitted shoes—Shoes that have more toe room and a low heel cup will allow the nerve to rest.

●     Custom made orthotic shoe insertsOrthotic inserts can separate the bones between the toes and decrease the stress on the nerve.

●     Steroid injections—Inflammation can be reduced and decrease nerve compression.

If neuromas continue to worsen without treatment, permanent damage may result. It is also possible that the pain in the ball of your foot is caused by something else such as gout or a stress fracture.  Be sure to see your foot care professional for the correct diagnosis and treatment. At Fit Feet for Life, our team of board-certified podiatrists has access to advanced technologies and years of experience to help diagnose and treat a variety of foot and ankle problems, including heel pain, sports injuries, toe deformities, nail fungus, and plantar warts.  Bonnie Sanchez, DPM, and Gregory Cook, DPM, provide high-quality foot and ankle care to patients in the Tampa/St. Petersburg area at our five offices conveniently located in Sun City Center, Clearwater, St. Petersburg, and our two Tampa locations. Please contact us for more information or to schedule an appointment.