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Pain on the left side of my foot on the 5th Metatarsal

by Tom
(Canada )

peroneal tendonitis or subluxed cuboid?

peroneal tendonitis or subluxed cuboid?

In May 2014 the pain started after dancing.

The pain has been in the same place by the 5th Metatarsal and underneath the foot by the 5th Metatarsal. I had two x-rays one ultrasound scan and a CT scan and it shows no fractures or tissue damage as far as the image can produce. I have been icing the area 2/3 times a day. Also I have been to physio for TENS and ultrasound. The pain is worse when I wear shoes (any pressure on the side of the foot produces pain in shes)and I can only walk very short distances. I also visited a foot specialist (podiatry) who did a tracking on my foot by video camera and confirmed my walking was OK. I am waiting to see a Orthotic specialist. Any advice or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

There is a very small bump on the side of my foot now by the 5th metatarsal. There is know big bruising. sometimes small bruising appears after wearing shoes.



Hi Tom,

I am going to make my observations based on the fact that you have had an ultrasound and CT scan both of which came back as normal.

One of the biggest culprits of pain on the outside of the foot near the fifth metatarsal bone is from the peroneus longus tendon. This tendon starts on the outside of the leg, comes down under the outside of the ankle bone and at the level of cuboid bone which is just behind the fifth metatarsal, cuts under the foot and travels all the way to the first metatarsal bone.

One of the biggest causes of pain is from the tendon in the area where it cuts underneath the foot. One of the biggest culprits of causing this pain are shoes that are too narrow in this area of the foot.

Typically, shoe width is measured at the ball of the foot, but many shoes, particularly dress shoes (I would imagine that dance shoes tend to fall under
the category of dress shoes), are too narrow further back in the foot and thus the pressure of the shoe pressing against this tendon as it tries to move back and forth through the cuboid groove has caused an irritation resulting in pain. This pain would generally be felt on the outside of the foot extending to the bottom of the foot in that area.

Once you have the problem, almost any shoe will then cause irritation to the spot and for that reason the area never improves.

I have also seen this problem in people who wear certain sandals where the strap goes over the fifth metatarsal base-cuboid bone, and these too will aggravate the peroneus longus tendon.

Until you start wearing wide enough shoes in that area that stop irritating the tendon, the pain will probably not go away. You can have all the physical therapy in the world, but again, unless you eliminate the precipitating factor (narrow shoe), the therapy is essentially a waste of time.

I have also found that a cortisone injection into the area can be very helpful as well. If an injection is not an option for you, then oral medication to reduce the inflammation should also be considered.

There is a second possible cause for your pain and that is a displaced cuboid which as I have already stated is the bone just behind the fifth metatarsal bone. This is a much more difficult diagnosis to make as the displacement is so small, that it is difficult to pick up on x-ray or even CT scan. It is usually made on clinical grounds, meaning pressing on the cuboid leads to pain.

You mention you are going to see an orthotic specialist. You may want to hold off on that until you have an accurate diagnosis. A subluxed cuboid can be helped by an orthotic, but peroneal tendonitis will not be helped by an orthotic.

I would suggest seeing another podiatrist, one who is familiar with these two conditions.

Marc Mitnick DPM

Comments for Pain on the left side of my foot on the 5th Metatarsal

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Mar 08, 2015
Pinched Nerve
by: Tom

I'm still waiting on my bone scan and continue to use crutches. If the bone scan shows negative could this be a pinched nerve? Would the ultrasound I already had not show up a pinched Nerve?

Is it possible to get a pinched nerve by my fifth metatarsal?

When I'm not wearing and foot wear the pain is not to bad, but as soon as I wear shoes no matter how wide they are the pain starts up. Always in the same place running the length of my fifth metatarsal.

Feb 08, 2015
pain on the left side of my foot on the 5th metatarsal
by: Tom

I went to see the physio specialist which I mentioned above and he thinks I might have a hidden fracture. As I mentioned I have has 2 x-rays one CT plus ultrasound. He suggested asking my doctor for a bone scan plus go on crutches for 6 to 8 weeks.

The suggestions seem reasonable.
Marc Mitnick DPM

Dec 22, 2014
Re: Pain on the left side of my foot on the 5th Metatarsal
by: Tom

Thank you for your reply. Re the shoes I have been wearing. They are very wide shoes so I do have plenty of room to move my feet around.

Re: the possible displaced cuboid, do you have any recommendations on the physio qualifications needed to diagnose this.

I have these physio’s in my area with the following:-
These are all in Western Canada

Areas of practice: IMS (intramuscular stimulation), Joint replacement rehabilitation, Orthopedics (muscles/joints), Sports therapy, Vestibular rehabilitation (dizziness/balance)
Credentials: Acupuncture*, Certified Gunn Intramuscular Stimulation practitioner (CGMIS),

There is one physio with this additional qualification
Fellow of Canadian Academy of Manipulative Physiotherapy (FCAMPT)


Hi Tom,
Try the one who is a Fellow of Canadian Academy of Manipulative Physiotherapy (FCAMPT)

Dec 08, 2014
by: Bessie Mae

I have been diagnosed with PF and Metatarsalgia and sounds like this could be the true issue. PT since May and finally said enough already. I have run into so many issues with the local docs I am almost afraid to suggest this but will do so anyway. I sure hope they get yours fixed, this pain has been dreadful. The exercise bands hurt the most. Good luck.

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