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Shooting pain in bottom of foot

by Robert
(SF bay area)

I was playing a very light game of wii tennis and felt a very twinge under my left foot. Since then I've been experiencing random shooting pains (very painful) while walking. They are infrequent. No particular motion seems to set it off. It can be fine all day and them, BOOM, like a lightning bolt shooting through what feels like the outside (almost) of my foot. I literally have to freeze or grab the nearest support to keep from falling down.


There is soreness when I press the top of my foot between the bones (little ones before my toes start) of my the 4th and 5th toe. There is no obvious swelling or bruising.. I am a high level softball player in pretty good shape. I can't imagine that some innocuous wii playing broke my foot. Possibly of note: I was barefoot when the original twinge happened.

RESPONSE

Hi Robert,

On the surface at least, it sounds like a classic case of a neuroma. A neuroma is a pinched nerve. In this case the nerve that passes between the fourth and fifth metatarsal bones which are the bones just behind the toes, and then branch off to send a nerve to the outside of the fourth toe and the inside of the fifth toe, became inflamed when you were barefoot playing wii.

In a classic neuroma, the nerve will swell and by definition becomes a benign tumor, again, at the junction where the nerve divides.

I would guess and I am only guessing, that you do not have a true neuroma but more than likely just an irritation of the nerve where it branches off. I say this because apparently you never had the problem before you played "tennis" and now you are getting intermittent shooting pains that at times can be very painful.

The real question becomes one of whether or not this is going to worsen or will it run its course and begin to subside.

The problem and its always a problem with foot conditions is that the act of walking may aggravate the problem to the point where it worsens. Of course, I have no way of knowing what will occur.

You could wait another week or two and see if the problem begins to calm itself down. Taking an anti-inflammatory medication (assuming you can tolerate them) may help quiet the problem down.

If the problem does not subside on its own and you continue to experience the severe pains that you get and causes you to grab on to something for support, you will need to see a foot specialist. The worst thing you want to have happen is for this problem to become a more chronic, more painful problem.

In the meantime try to avoid shoes that seem to "set it off" more frequently, if walking barefoot seems to aggravate it, then avoid that as well, however, as I just stated it you do not seem it beginning to calm itself down, then you will need medical attention.

Marc Mitnick DPM
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