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Why are my toes numb?

Monday, Mar. 27, 2017
woman with sore toes

Morton's neuroma is when the nerve that travels between the metatarsals (bones in the ball of your foot) becomes impinged causing pain and occasional numbness/tingling. It most commonly happens to the nerve travelling between the third and fourth metatarsals.

Causes

  • Poor-fitting footwear (narrow toe boxes) causing too much pressure on the metatarsals
  • High arch foot type resulting in significant pressure on the joints of the forefoot
  • Flat feet that spread significantly and require wider-fitting shoes
  • Toe deformities (bunions, hammer/claw toes) that result in increased pressure 

Symptoms

  • Numbness/tingling in the space between the 3rd and 4th metatarsals
  • "Wadded sock" sensation when wearing shoes 
  • Pain in the forefoot during activity (standing, walking, running)
  • Shooting pain (at times very sharp) into the toes

rubbing feet

Treatment

  • Wear better-fitting shoes. Always measure your foot length and width when buying shoes, and if necessary, get a wider toe box to accommodate your feet. Rocker soled footwear can also be helpful
  • Reduce the activity that seems to increase the pain until you have treated the cause of the problem
  • Use custom-foot orthotics to help distribute weight evenly throughout the forefoot. Metatarsal support is crucial and can be achieved with metatarsal pads 
  • Pain meds or injections of cortico-steroids
  • Physical therapy 
  • Surgery 

Note: It is always important to consult with your physician before deciding on a treatment approach.

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