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sensitive spot on left foot

by Derrick
(Cape Town, South Africa)

Hi there,

I have a very sensitive spot on the inner side of my left foot, just behind the big toe joint. It is slightly swollen and red. From the little research I have done I have learnt that this area is called the Thymus Gland area, if it helps at all. At first it sort of in the joint and I thought it might be gout and took the necessary, but now it is on the side of my foot. Sometimes I get a sharp burning pain and then If I try to bend my big toe down all the way, well, let's just say, dictionaries are rewritten. What could the problem be?


Hi Derrick,

Lets first get our anatomy straight. The thymus gland is located in the chest, in front of the heart and just behind the sternum.
Now lets talk about your foot.
Gout is certainly an option here as the big toe joint is the most common joint in the body to experience a gout attack. Most attacks occur early in the morning, for no apparent reason. There is no history of trauma nor do most patients relate a lot of activity the day before. The reason these attacks occur first thing in the morning is because while you are sleeping and your feet are elevated, the temperature in your feet cool down a bit and this allows the uric acid to crystallize in the big toe joint and thus you get pain.
The thing about gout attacks is that they are usually self limiting, meaning you have pain for a few days and then it just subsides. Of course, they can recur and if they recur continually they eventually do permanent damage to the joint.
If that scenario sounds like your symptoms then you should follow up with your doctor.
The next more common problem that occurs in that joint, that would cause pain and redness would be an inflamed bursal sac. What you will feel on the side of the joint is a spongy area that is slightly red and when you press on it, it will be painful. A bunion by definition is an enlarged bone on the inside of the foot, along with an inflamed bursal sac.
The problem here is that you say when you bend your toe down, you get a lot of pain. This generally will not occur with a bursal sac; a narrow shoe will aggravate an inflamed bursal sac.
So, the next thing to consider is an arthritic inflammation within the joint. I do not know how old you are but if you are 40 years of age or older there is a real possibility that this could be your problem.
Depending on how much pain you are having should determine whether or not to seek medical attention. Sometimes, all of the possibilities mentioned here will quiet themselves down and the foot will no longer hurt, but keep in mind that the problem can easily return.
My best piece of advice to you would be to seek the services of a doctor familiar with foot problems and have he or she offer you a specific diagnosis and then appropriate treatment.

Marc Mitnick DPM

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Feb 02, 2012
Thanks for the info Doc.
by: Derrick Jacobs

Apologies for getting the anatomy part wrong, but was looking at sketches of feet explaining what part of the foot is connected to what part or organ of the body. That is where I got the name from. Anyway, I am 38 and have been sitting with this for a couple of weeks now. I just finished body guarding a delegate the whole day at an international conference and got home, took of shoes and now it is swollen on top of my foot as well.

So, I will be making an appointment in the morning. Thank you again for your very informative and factual e-diagnoses.

Keep up the good work Doc!!

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