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Why do I have pain in the ball of my foot?

Are you wondering, why do I have burning, stabbing pain in the ball of my foot? Does it keep you from running or walking without discomfort? It could be a Morton’s neuroma, and if it is, we’re here to help. Just recently, one of our patient’s left a five-star review, saying “The Doctor was very informative and helpful in treating my neuroma.”

Now, we want to help you find pain relief, too. But first, you have to understand the causes and signs of this painful condition. So here’s what you need to know.

What causes Morton’s neuroma?

pain in ball of my foot

Photo by benjamin lehman on Unsplash

A neuroma is a condition in which the tissue around your nerve becomes inflamed. We call this condition a Morton’s neuroma if the inflammation affects the nerve between your second and third toe. Nerve damage or excessive physical stress can lead to this inflammation.

Morton’s neuroma risk factors include:

Narrow, pinching running shoes

Rapidly increasing or overdoing your athletic training

Having flat feet, bunions, or high arches

You can develop Morton’s neuroma at any age, but it’s more common if you’re over 40. Early on, we can intervene with your inflammation and help you recover without surgery. But if you ignore your discomfort, the affected nerve will thicken, and feel like a hard knot in your foot. At that point, you may need surgery (called a neurectomy) to find relief. That’s why you need to seek treatment at the first sign of symptoms.

Morton’s Neuroma Symptoms

Morton’s neuroma causes pain in the ball of your foot. You’ll notice the pain when you put weight on your foot, but that pain may resolve if you get off your feet or give yourself a little massage.

Now, that pain may be dull or sharp. And, while it usually affects the ball of your foot, it could also feel like pain between your toes. And some people describe Morton’s neuroma pain as feeling like you’re standing on a pebble.

Over time, the swollen nerve may leave your foot or toes numb. And, left untreated, walking will be incredibly painful. In fact, you may only be able to walk with a limp.


Treating Morton’s Neuroma in Spring, TX

Often, we can diagnose your Morton’s neuroma with a physical exam. Our doctors will feel the ball of your foot, and will likely notice a hard spot in the ball of your foot. In some cases, you may need an x-ray or MRI to rule out other conditions.

If we catch the neuroma early, we may treat your pain by changing shoes, and recommending certain stretches or custom orthotics to take pressure off the area. We’ll also recommend icing and elevating your foot, and switching out your runs for lower impact workouts like swimming. In some cases, an injection can help relieve the pain of neuromas. But more often, if less-invasive treatments don’t help, we’ll need to surgically treat your nerve pain.


Now, the earlier you seek care for your swollen nerve, the more likely you are to avoid surgery. In fact, about one-third of Morton’s neuroma patients can find relief with rest, shoe changes and other minimally invasive treatment options. Still, Morton’s neuroma is a progressive condition. So the longer you wait to seek help, the worse your symptoms will become. So, if you’ve noticed pain in the ball of your foot or between your toes, don’t wait around and hope things will get better. Instead, contact our Spring and Tomball TX podiatrists right away. We’ll get you scheduled for a consultation and relieve your pain as quickly as possible!