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Top of the foot pain

by Christopher Grant
(New Hampshire)

I am 36 years old and in fairly good health. I am 5'10" and about 210 lbs and consider myself to be in reasonable shape.

I was walking on vacation about a week ago in a pair of good condition sneakers. I stopped to open a door, took a first step with my left foot and upon planting the foot felt a "pop" and a sharp intense pain on the top of my foot about two inches behind the base of my second toe. The pain moved into a burning sensation shortly after. Since then, my foot has remained mildly swollen but there is no significant bruising. There is throbbing and sometimes sharp pain on the top of my foot. I continue to have foot pain in the same spot, but am able to walk on the foot with a slight limp. When I bend my toes down, I feel a "vibration" in that same spot but it sometimes feels that it is moving forward and backward as I move my toes. The only description I can think of is dragging rubber across glass, as it catches and then skips forward and catches again. It is a more sharp pain when I move my toes up. I have taken 3-4 advil, two to three times a day since with no significant improvement. I spent the majority of the rest of my vacation in comfortable sandals and shoes other than my sneakers since then with no real improvement.

I have had Morton's Neuroma mentioned to me as something to consider, but when I look up the symptoms online, my gut reaction is that these don't seem to be the same thing. Does Morton's Neuroma seem like a reasonable possibility and what could some other possibilities be.


Hi Chris,
A "popping" sound is never a good sign. It generally signifies a tendon rupture. Since your pain is on top of your foot it is quite possible that you ruptured the tendon that lifts the second toe up. I have to tell you that this is a very rare injury, certainly from just walking.
Since Morton's neuroma occurs on the bottom of the foot I doubt that is the cause of your pain.
Unfortunately, I think you will have to seek medical care on this one because if there is a true rupture, it is not going to heal on its own.
Good luck.
Marc Mitnick DPM

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May 19, 2017
Top of foot pain too
by: Ann

Hello Doc,
For the past 4 days I've been speed walking alot more than normal since it's part of my job. I feel pain on top of my left foot. It's like a weird pop, crackling and stretch sensation. I don't know any other way to explain the weird pain. I know it's not broken because I can still move my toes....though it feels really weird when I wiggle my toes. I don't want to go to the doctors because I'm on a very tight budget. Any advice or home remedies you can offer? Please and thank you.

Sounds like you may have injured the extensor tendon, the tendon that allows your toes to bend upwards, but of course I am just guessing since I cannot examine you.
If you must continue to speed walk make sure you are in some kind of athletic shoes.
You can ice the area as much as possible to reduce the pain.
If you can tolerate them, try Aleve, Advil or Motrin on a regular dosing schedule for one week and see if that helps.
The fact that you may have to keep speed walking may prevent you from improving.
If after a week or so, you are no better, you may have to bite the bullet and see a doctor.

Marc Mitnick DPM

May 13, 2017
Question to Kari and Chris
by: Leslie

Kari and Chris, Did either of you figure out what the problem was? Same thing happened to me. I went to a doc, but not sure how long recovery will be. Hoping just a few more weeks. I have to travel in a few weeks to help my dad... please let me know the outcome of your situations

Aug 20, 2016
Foot pain
by: Kari

Hi, about 2 weeks ago i stepped down on my left foot and felt a pop in the top of my foot and side of my foot...the pain goes into my last 2 toes and have a burning sensation in my foot and toes. I have done everything i can for the pain but nothing is touching the pain. Is this something i should be concerned about? I do have fibromyalgia and osteoarthritis...would this cause this pop to happen?
The pop is more suggestive of damage to a tendon, possibly a tear, or damage to a ligament.
If at two weeks you are still in pain, and nothing you have tried has helped, then you should seek medical care.

Marc Mitnick DPM

Nov 09, 2015
Chris I had the same thing happen to me!
by: Tanya

Hi there, I went online to see about my injury and Chris described his pain the exact same way I would. I was just wondering if you were diagnosed with anything or where I should start with my Dr. It's awful.... Hope your feeling better.

Thank you

Jul 23, 2014
Same thing for my foot
by: Dean taylor

Hi there doctor.
Last week at boxing, I was sparring - in the 5th round, I felt a massive pop in the middle part of my foot.

I fell to the floor screaming, I can not move my toes correctly and I have lots of bruising around my toes, the side and bottom of my foot. Bit of pain on my ankle. X rays have shown no break but the pain is still quite intense. It's been nearly a week now. Any ideas please, what it could be? Advice?
Email me if you want??
Kindest regards,

Hi Dean,
You do not have to have a fracture to have a lot of pain. If a week has passed and you are still having serious pain, you need to see a foot specialist.
If this was a simple sprain you would be feeling much better by now and you are not. Sounds like it requires medical care.

Marc Mitnick DPM

Nov 15, 2008
severe sharp pain
by: Anonymous

i have had for 2 weeks now a sharp pain in my second toe. feels like someone is stabbing it. if i press hard on it slowly the pain goes away. but the pain brings me to tears it hurts. what could cause this?

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