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Ball of foot bulge on both feet with pain

I have a bulge the circumference size of a golf ball on the ball of both feet. Also I have a hammer toe on the second toe on both feet. I've been to four different podiatrists. One said that he wanted to clip the tendons on all toes; one said that i did not have a neuroma as I thought, only a hammer toe; one said that I had a classic neuroma on the balls of both feet and hammer toes. the Specialist that I went to said that as you age you lose fat at the ball of feet. when I asked him what the bulge was he said that it was fat, which was contradictory. He also wanted to fix the hammertoes (second toe of each foot)but also wanted to put pins in the three toes next to it. He said that if he fixed the one hammertoe it would be shorter and i would not be happy. I don't see putting pins in three toes that are not hammertoes...!!


I want to get my hammertoes fixed but want to know what is causing the large bulge on the balls of the feet. Is the bulge causing the hammer toe or is the hammertoe causing the bulge. Also, I have severe toe cramps HELP!!!! I don't mind having the surgery but want to know what is really going on with my feet before I have surgery...Any ideas? I want the bulge removed; feels like I'm walking on a wadded up sock.

ANSWER

Hi,

The common thread I am getting from all your visits to the different podiatrists is that they all seem to think that your hammertoes are creating the lump on the ball of your foot.
In most cases when there are what is known as rigid hammertoes, in other words, the toes stay in a bent up position, what happens is that there is a stretching of the ligaments on the bottom of the foot that attaches the toe to the metatarsal bone. This stretching is known as capsulitis.
Since the ligament is being stretched it then becomes inflamed and will cause a swelling on the ball of the foot. This will feel like a fullness on the ball of the foot that can be anywhere from annoying to outright painful.
There is always a chance that you could have some kind of soft tissue growth causing the swelling but since you mention it is occurring on both feet, that possibility seems more remote.
I have to tell you that I am not sure that the growth is the size of golf ball. That would be huge and would be definately consistent with a soft tissue growth.
I will go out on a limb here and assume the growth is much smaller.
In any event wearing a low heel shoe with supportive sole or even an orthotic with a metatarsal pad built into it may alleviate the lump on the bottom of the foot; it will not straighten the hammertoe, but many people can live with hammertoes if they do not hurt.
If you are contemplating surgery then go with the podiatrist who seemed to make the most sense and whom you trust.
If you are concerned at all, then go see a fifth podiatrist.

Marc Mitnick DPM
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