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The response to the question below was authored by Marc Mitnick DPM

sharp intense pain in second toe

by char

sharp intenese pain in second toe on left foot. feels like someone is stabbing it. it started aprox. 2 weeks ago. did not stub it. but when the pain hits i have to grab it. no matter sitting or standing, or even laying down. what can cause this?

Hi Char,
Read my section on Mortons neuroma and see if that sounds like your symptoms. If so, a visit to a local podiatrist would be indicated.
Marc Mitnick DPM

Comments for sharp intense pain in second toe

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Sep 04, 2019
by: Kristin C.

A month ago or so I started having an excruciating stabbing pain in my slt near the second knuckle on the big toe side. I thought like some others that I’d been bitten. Nope. No apparent signs. When this strikes it literally makes my foot and leg convulse. I have tried every thing from my essential oils to tramadol but this doesn’t go away until it’s famed good and ready. I have runs of days where it doesn’t happen at all then days like today where it’s nearly put me in tears with frustration.

I’m not diabetic but am obese so that could be a factor but it occurs to me I was rear ended a month ago then this started shortly thereafter. The wreck did jar my lower back of all things and I am going to the chiropractor as well as having a couple of deep tissue massages so hopefully that helps.

Jun 15, 2019
Sharp pain in second toe, left foot
by: Nola

I’m shocked to learn this is a thing. I’m pleased to learn it means something that can hopefully be treated. I’ve had this a Ute pain four times, and the first time it ever woke me up from a sound sleep! I’ve had back issues for two+ decades. I haven’t returned to my chiropractor because, sadly, he passed away. Would this group recommend seeing a podiatrist first or a new chiropractor? As it’s a new development, I’m open to any/all suggestions because it HURTS.


You definately want to see a podiatrist who can rule out a foot origin of your pain. If he or she comes up empty then you will probably want to have your back examined.

Marc Mitnick DPM

May 12, 2019
Sharp severe recurrent pain in 2nd left (Index) toe tip
by: Britt

Well, it's sometimes good to know simply that you're not alone. I've been suffering with severe sharp recurrent pain in my left foot 2nd digit forward of the last knuckle joint for about 4 months now, and like most other reports listed here, it hurts like someone is crushing the toe with pliers, or to corroborate another testimonial "like someone is sticking an icepick through my toe". I mean it hurts like hell for 30 - 90 seconds, then it goes away only to return at random intervals all evening long. Fortunately for me I haven't been awakened by it from sleep, but I can see how it could happen as the pain is so intense. It reoccurs at intervals from 5mins to 30 - 45 mins in the evenings, occasionally in the day as well. But I think it is more pronounced in the evening.
I did notice a great many folks here relating spinal issues as a possible cause, and I have to weigh in there as well. I have pretty severe neuro-foramenal stenosis which apparently is calcification and ingrowth in the foramen or tubes that the nerve bundles and spinal cord runs through, virtually no disks in my cervical and upper thorasic spine, from trauma resulting from airborne service, motorcycle racing, and just general hard living as an adrenaline junkie through my youth and somewhat beyond . I too hope a cure is forthcoming, and I pray for all of you as well. I am encouraged now to seek out my favorite chiropractor and have hope that some adjustment may be beneficial. Otherwise this pain is gonna be a real pain to go on dealing with. Thamks for your testimonies, and Good Luck to us all!

Apr 06, 2019
I thought I had been bitten!
by: Linda

This started about six months ago on my second toe on my right foot, in the middle of the night. I was out of bed and scratching like crazy, which just made it hurt worse, but it wouldn't stop itching! In the AM it was red and swollen,from all that scratching I'm sure! Not every night, just periodically. No pain in daytime.
Now its started on my left foot second toe and I haven't got a clue what that means. They both just feel "fat" now but are not very painful.
I have had back problems for years and years need to have surgery for any real relief but that is not in the near future.I don't understand why this would pop up now [six months ago]in all the years I've had a bad back?

Dec 24, 2018
Pain in STLF
by: Donald

I was awakened this morning around 3:15 by a sharp intense pain in the second toe of my left foot.
As I was coming to consciousness from a deep sleep, I remember thinking that I must have rubbed a blister on the top of the middle joint (caused by a shoe that I don't often wear) and now I am aggravating it with the bed sheets. Not the case.
When I finally got up and examined my toe, I found no visible evidence of any kind of trauma.
It is now 4:30 AM and the frequency and intensity of the pain seems to be subsiding. Since the pain has kept me from sleeping, I started reading. There doesn't seem to be a quick cure; however, it has occurred to me that since misery loves company, I have a bunch of new friends.......

Jun 13, 2018
Sudden Second toe pain
by: Aaron

I started getting pain in my second toe (index) after a few months of just getting into rock climbing. Went to a podiatrist and he said the restrictive footwear and balancing all of your weight on your piggies can cause the aggravation.

Check your shoes that you have been wearing. I took some time off from climbing and scaled it back but it still flares up every once in a while out of the blue. Even when I’m laying down. Hoping I haven’t done any permanent nerve damage.

May 16, 2018
Periodic intense pain in 2nd toe (from big toe)
by: Bud

Toe adjacent to big toe left foot. Episodes occur out of the blue usually weeks or months apart. Intense, unbearable pain, comes in waves, a few to several minutes apart. From foot near toe to mid-toe. Most often comes during sleep but sometimes during waking hours.

GP gave RX for topical anti-inflammatory gel (Diclofenac Sodium). Apply it regularly a.m. and p.m. Whether works or not is unknown. Pain still flares up with it or without it. GP thought peripheral neuropathy or arthritis.

Three ibuprofen usually work within an hour give or take. Then two more every 4-6 hours for a day, and then it's gone till the next visit. Acetaminophen doesn't touch it.

Have had pinched nerve in lower lumbar diagnosed by orthopedic physical therapist following sudden onset of severe long-lasting pain from hip to knee that after some months abated to tolerable level. But this toe problem preceded that spinal event and persists.

Mar 25, 2018
D2 pain
by: Melissa

Does anyone actually know what this is? All my Physician did was blood work which was unremarkable.

Jun 16, 2017
Pain in 2nd toe left foot
by: bev

I have two crush fractures in my back at t12 and l1 which occurred about 6weeks ago and today I have severe pain in my left foot around the little toe and the one next to it. It is so painful I can't put weight on it so walking is difficult. From everyone's comments it sounds as if it has something to do with my back. What action needs to be taken. I am waiting to have more X-rays and bone density tests.

Apr 27, 2017
Per Podiatrist, I need surgery on my 2nd toe to fix it.
by: Cindy

My right second toe is bent to wear I am walking on the tip of it. Both joints are swollen & it is turning sideways now. I have broken it many times over the years. Now with arthritis throughout my body, my toe is in real bad shape. My Podiatrist says that the only way to fix it is to have it sawed off & reconstructed. I've been trying to get my right knee replacement surgery for over a year now, and had to cancel it twice due to an infected big toe then illness. My knee replacement surgery is now scheduled for September 19th. I could probably get my toe surgery in June, but am worried it won't be healed enough by then.

Any suggestions?

If your podiatrist and orthopedist both work out of the same hospital, why not consider having both procedures done at the same time?

Marc Mitnick DPM

Mar 08, 2017
Foot pain
by: Rebee

Woke up with severe pain in second toe left foot. Tender to touch, swollen and red. No trauma. The tenderness can be felt up the foot from the toe. Any one know cause?

With no history of trauma and fact that you "woke up with it" my first thought would be possibility of gout.

Marc Mitnick DPM

Nov 28, 2016
Sharp pain on side of 2nd toe
by: Leigh

Hi all
I too have had a sharp pain in my right foot 2nd toe for about 6 months. The pain is like someone is inserting a pin in my skin near the tip on the side next to my big toe. When it happens the pain usually only lasts about 10 seconds at its most intense but then can be still felt up to 5 mins after but not as sharp and painful.
No trauma that i can recall and no swelling or redness. Just randomly comes without warning any time of day. Seems like others have the same sharp pain.

May 02, 2016
Post Neurome Surgery
by: Carolyn

Has surgery for Mortons Neuroma 12 weeks ago, today my 2nd toe is very sensitive red and swollen, is this part or the healing process.

Hi Carolyn,

At twelve weeks this is not part of the healing process. I would suggest you call your surgeon's office and see what they think.

Marc Mitnick DPM

Feb 02, 2016
I think it's a virus!
by: Anonymous

For me, I get it in the three middle toes of my left foot. It doesn't seem to happen when I am using it, it can happen when I am lying completely still. Therefore, I don't believe it is Friebergs disease, or anything like that. In my experience, the only thing that can be intensely sharp and stabbing, but of short duration tends to be a virus.

Jan 13, 2016
Pain second toe right foot
by: Raymond

About two weeks ago I started getting a sharp pain in the 2nd toe today it's constant like someone grabbing it with pliers,I have a pretty high tolerance to pain but this is bringing tears to my eyes,I can hardly walk. After finally trying to figure it out I came across this page and after reading the comments I think I figured it out.I broke my back in 2005 and had surgery they found a piece of bone in my nerve canal witch severed a nerve causing sciatica down my right side. I've been in pain ever since I guess with time and age 57 this is what the end results are turning out to be I wish this pain on nobody hopefully I can get to a doctor and get help. This is the worst pain I've ever been in. Raymond

Jan 01, 2016
second toe in right foot pain for a
by: Anonymous

I have the same thing in my right foot on the second toe. Did anyone find out what it was???? Its real intense when it happens but only lasts a few seconds. There is no swelling and looks normal. Thanks in advance everyone 😊

Dec 16, 2015
oh no
by: Anonymous

I have pain in my second toe also. One Dr. says p.a.d. is causing it. Another says it is caused by cellulitis. Now after reading everyones problems I am sure I have 25 diseases and 1000's of problems. I know my comment is of no help but I think other people think as I do. so I'll just say lets keep going to a doctor until they find and cure the cause. In other words dont worry we cannot have every thing wrong with us. lol. I hope I helped the worriers.

Sep 12, 2015
A partial / full fix Temp.
by: Don

I have the pain described here by numerous others. Tonight was the worst it's ever been. I have some Lidocaine Patches perscribed for other problems.

They are about 3 x 5 inchs and very sticky. I cut a one inch strip off one side and wrapped it around the offending toe. It slowed the pain down but didn't completly stop it.

A short while later I cut a patch about 1 1/2 by 2 and placed it on the top of my foot adjacent to the wrap around patch.

The pain is mostly gone, getting better as time goes on.

There are similar patchs sold without a script however they are not lido caine. They may also be useful. They do work for some other things.

Good Luck

Sep 04, 2015
Toe pain in second toe
by: Anonymous

Look up "Frieberg Infraction disease".

Jul 02, 2015
sharp shooting pain in second toe, left foot
by: ray

feels like a knife or razor scraping quickly along the bone. Lasts for a few seconds and then gone. I don't remember any trauma to that toe.

Jan 25, 2015
sharp pain in toe
by: Deb

I also have had a pain in my second toe on my right foot. At first I thought I had been bitten and I removed my sock expecting to see a bite but there wasn't anything there. The pain is so intense like a pin piercing the skin. After reading others experiences on this thread it seems that some people have a bad back and this may be triggering the pain on the foot. I recently have pulled a muscle in my back and wondered if this could be the case?

Oct 18, 2014
Intermittent toe pain
by: Christi

i am surprised to read about so many people with my symptoms. About a month ago I began experiencing a severe, painful ache in the second toe of my left foot. It will last from a few seconds up to about a minute. It may happen several times a day and some days it doesn't happen at all. I am about 50 pounds overweight and post menopausal. After researching these symptoms, it seems that it could be any number of things. I think I will try to eat healthy, exercise and stretch to try to find relief prior to entering the dark hole of the medical world.

Jun 04, 2014
Toe pain
by: Deb

I too have the same symptom. Sharp intense pain in my second toe. It's so intense I have to stop what ever I am doing. Been going on the past month or so. Got really intense today so made an appointment with a podiatrist for tomorrow. Hoping to get help and answers. I'm hoping it doesn't happen when I'm driving. No swelling or dis coloring. Just intense pain that last several seconds. I have to flex my ties and squeeze with my hand. Feels like someone us stabbing my toe with an ice pick

Mar 21, 2014
Type pain
by: Anonymous

This pain in my second left toe really us bothering me. It almost feels as if its being stuck with a needle , pinched, stretched like something is tearing. It comes and goes wen I get up to walk after I have laid down for awhile. Please help

Dec 26, 2013
Freiburgs disease
by: Anonymous

Frieburgs Disease!!! it occurs in second or third toe at the base. I have had it since I was 13. Occurs more in women but does occur in men.

Nov 04, 2013
pain on second toe also!
by: Anonymous

my pain started exactly 6 days ago, i thought a scorpion was biting me or some kind of bug, it was so painful my tears started rolling down!!! i got very scared cause it continued the following days, i googled it and found out its related to my spinal cord and yes my lower back has been hurting so much lately but i havent had the time to go see my chiropractor, i'll make my appt asap!!!!!

Apr 20, 2013
Sharp pain in middle toe
by: Anonymous

It just started for me. Last night I was watching TV, all at once, I felt an extremely sharp pain on top of my middle toe and I thought for a second maybe a spider or some kind of bug had bit me; however I had my shoes and socks on so that wasn't the case. The pain was, sharp, instant, and excruciating, then went away only to come back in another 10 seconds. Last night it bother me thru the night, and this morning is no different... and I am worried! I am not diabetic, but I am hypoglycemic, so the sugar issue is non existent.
Otherwise, I am a healthy 70 years old with no mayor health issues. After reading all the threads and commentaries here, I am amazed that no one has come back with a logical answer to the cause of this "horrible" pain. I hope It will eventually go away on its own, otherwise, a doctor's visit is next.

Although your pain does not have anything to do with diabetes it is important for you to know that sometimes chronic hypoglycemia can be a precursor to diabetes, so do not be lulled into a false assumption. (I am assuming when you say hypoglycemia, you mean very low blood sugars, as opposed to normal blood sugars).
As for your sudden pain on the top of your third toe, most insidious pain such as you describe will subside or even vanish in a day or so. So, unless you sustained some kind of trauma to your toe during the day (doing a lot of walking yesterday could be considered micro trauma) more than likely the pain will subside.
Three things that come to mind include irritation of the tendon on top of the toe. Perhaps an irritation to one of the two nerves that pass on top of the toe and lastly inflammation of one of the two joints that encompass the toe. If it is the latter, then the toe would also probably be swollen and mildly red in some portion of the toe.
My best advice would be to give it a couple of days, take an anti-inflammatory (if you can tolerate them) for a short duration of a few days and see it the problem resolves; if not as you have already suggested, see a foot specialist.

Marc Mitnick DPM

Feb 08, 2013
Painful second toe
by: Trish

I too have a throbbing pain in my second toe. I haven't injured it and have no idea why it started. I would be interested in hearing any ideas

Sep 01, 2012
Second Toe Painful
by: Candy

I am also going thru the same thing. On my right foot the second toe, having a painful feeling. Not swollen but never injured it. But now noticing a dicoloration on the toe. This second toe in annoying with a everyday painful problem

Nov 18, 2011
Pain in various toes... at different times
by: NancyA

I also have had pain in various toes, like someone is stabbing the tips of my toes. I have had high uric acid levels in the past which turned to be gout, I took 2 medicines and the pain gradually went away. After my last lab result, my rheumatologist decided I didn't have it after all, took me off the meds and now I have the pain back again. NEW DOCTOR and hopefully another uric acid test!!!

Jan 29, 2011
Sharp pain in second Toe
by: G

This comment is directed mostly to Char. I have exactly that issue. It just started a week ago before I hurt my back 4 or 5 days ago jogging on the treadmill. I never have had any back issues! My back pain this past week was severe. I am thinking the sharp sudden attack of my left second toe at random times is related to something that has gone on with my back after reading some stuff online. Have you found out anything further? I am concerned, as the pain is so intense, but thankfully brief. It is so strange the pain is only in that second and maybe third toe. Any help understanding this... would be so appreciated.

Apr 06, 2010
pain in toe
by: Anonymous


Oct 22, 2009
sharp intense pain in second toe
by: Anonymous

HI, I had exactly the same symptoms years ago for a few months. I visited the gp who wanted ti refer me to a mental pain clinic, suggesting my toe was sending wrong messages to brain.Needless to say i never went back. That was about ten years ago and it stopped for years. but recently started again. If you get any answers let me know

Jun 21, 2009
Sharp pain in second toe, both feet
by: Anonymous

Over the past couple of weeks I have experienced sudden sharp pain in my second toe, sometimes lasting only seconds, and sometimes lasting up to 20 minutes or so. It is mostly on the right foot but sometimes occurs on the second toe of the left foot as well. It is a stabbing pain, but when I rub the area it does not feel tender. There is no swelling, discoloration, soreness, etc. The pain occurs every day, throughout the day and night. I have not mentioned it to anyone for fear they will think I'm crazy! I am not taking any new medication, do not wear high heels, and have not injured my feet. Any ideas or suggestions>

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A well organized site containing much information written in a manner that the average reader can comprehend.


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I found your website and articles most interesting.


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(location unknown)
I came to your website, via www.foot-pain explained .com which I think is also your website? I thought explanations for different types of problems were well addressed and thoughtfully stated for the patient in mind.


New York
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Thanks again so much for the information in the article. Very interesting.


Great article. I have had plantar fasciitis since I was in high school……..

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Thank you for your time and expertise in answering my question…..


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First, thanks for putting together this website. Its the most informative site I have found dealing with foot problems. Last June I started having pain and swelling at …….


(location unknown)
First of all, thank you for having all this useful information available in one place. I've been through most of your website and based on my research, pain and evaluations I think I've narrowed things down quite a bit.

Pete M.

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Thank you for the best site I have found when researching foot pain.

Glenda B.

Madison, Alabama
Thanks for replying so quickly. I was a bit concerned. I think your website is great, and chock full of info.....


Denison, TX
Dr. Marc, Thank you so much for your reply which seemed to be right on. I have researched many sites but you put me on the right path to the possible answer. My foot pain may not rule the rest of my life after all! I believe I'll make a sign that reads, "THE END IS NEAR!" Thanks Very Much,


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Just a wee word of thanks for your wonderful website...It is a terrific service...Thank you for providing your knowledge and help...With highest regards, m ebeling

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Tampa, Florida 33624

Thanks for a most interesting website, which has helped a lot.



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I thank you for putting together this incredible website.


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South Africa

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Mansfield Ctr, CT

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Placentia, California

First, I want to let you know that you have the best web site I've found related to foot issues. (The only thing I had difficulty finding was the "ask a question" page.)


Unknown location

I received the orthotics Monday afternoon and began wearing them Tuesday. After two days I would say that I have noticed a huge improvement in the discomfort I have been experiencing. My foot feels better than it has in months.

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Unknown location

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Ron R.

Pacific Grove, CA

I used to work for a podiatrist (front desk) back during summers in college years ago, so I know the benefits of good care. Again, I want to thank you for an EXCELLENT website. It was so great to get to your site (top of google search) and actually find all the answers I needed EASILY and QUICKLY! Clearly you put a ton of work into it and I really appreciate it.

All the best,


Alameda, California

By the way, millions of websites could use yours as a guideline on how to organize information and make the site user-friendly. Kudos to you!


Thank you for your very interesting and informative site!


Hi. I come to your site often looking for information. It is really informative and I appreciate it very much. I have RA and have been having considerable amount of foot pain...... Dee RN

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New Zealand

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I searched the internet everywhere for a clear description and illustration of my symptoms/problem. was where I ended my search with answers. If I lived in Jersey (left 30 years ago) and didn't live in Florida I would definetly make an appointment with Dr. Mitnick.

Thanks, Kathy

1st of all THANKS A LOT for your great site......


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South Carolina
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unknown location

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Arlington, VA

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San Clemente, CA

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Dr. Mitnick, Thank you so much for your reply. I did let my physician know and they took an x-ray - all is well! Also, thank you for providing this wonderful site, it is very helpful with lots of useful information! I appreciate your gift of time! God bless.


Dr. Mitnick, Thank you, you were 100% correct. The pain finally brought me to the ER. I spent 8 days in the hospital. The Doppler you spoke of was able to show that there was no pulse in that foot. This was an arterial clot that split and traveled throughout my leg. My leg was almost amputated. I am in rough shape but have all my parts intact!! You certainly know what you are talking about. Thank you for taking the time to answer. Yours Truly!


Staying at home after hallux surgery I spend quite a lot of time seaching info useful for avoiding problems which might come back. Today I found your site and I am .... delighted it happened. It's one of the best site I found last days.



Thanks for taking time to read and answer so many questions. It is truly a public service!


Seattle, WA

I just wanted to say that I am very greatful for this website!!


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Also, and importantly, just want to praise this web site. Thorough and thoughtfully presented, it certainly must be of considerable assistance to anyone with a foot problem. Terrific -- and very interesting.I trust the address comes up easily for those seeking information.


New Jersey

Thanks so much for answering my question. You've been more help to me than my own Dr. has been lately. Thanks again....I hope to be able to walk without pain someday.


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location unknown

Thanks so much for this website Dr. Marc! It is so nice that you have this ask the doctor feature..I'm sure I'ts been helpful for alot of people. I will try what you suggested and see if it helps...thanks again!


Evansville, IA

Dear Marc

I just want to say thank you for the quick response and the good info. I find it amazing and a super nice thing that you do here by answering medical questions at no charge.

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San Diego, CA

Dr. Mitnick, Just want to say thank you so very much for your quick response and very informative reply! After reading what you had to say, I called the doctor's office and was able to get in and see him the same day as my injury. Toe was x-rayed and luckily, it is not broken or fractured. Very badly bruised and will probably lose the toe nail. And although my toe and toe nail are still very black and blue and very sore, they ARE both starting to feel a little better. So again, thank you! I am so very happy that I came across your website. The service you provide is outstanding and immeasurable!


Albany, NY

Thank you so much for all of your advice. In searching the web for people dealing with this same issue i can tell you that you are a Knight In shining Armor! If I lived in Jersey I would gladly be your Spokesperson. Hopefully next time you hear from me it will be good news. God Bless,

Jill S.

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Whichita, KS

thanks again, this site is very helpful.


Boston, MA

Like others have stated...This site is amazing and I am so thankful that it was created.

....Keep up what your doing. Your a life saver.



Thanks again for the information provided on your site. It's easy for non-medical folk to understand your writing, and helps provide better communication between patient and doctor.



Wonderful advice

by: Anonymous

This is the best site for foot problem info.

Thank you for this information. This description fits my pain and inflammation behind my 2nd toe perfectly.

by: Max

location unknown
Again, I really appreciate that you responded to my inquiry, and that your mention of Parkinson's helped me to find my way to a diagnosis of this difficult to diagnose disease. Most patients see on average 16 doctors before they are diagnosed. I hope that you can help other people that ask for your expertise in the future.

Barb D.

I just wanted to say that I am very greatful for this website!! I have had a fusion in my rt foot and am finally getting a little bit better......


location unknown
Again, Thank you from the bottom of my heart for taking the time to answer my question....your an angel!


Thank you for your response. You have provided some great insight (to my question)....


location unknown
Thank-you so very much for responding so quickly and in such detail to my question!! I will give my surgeon a call today!! This website is terrific!!!! Thank-you again!


North Carolina
Many Thanks Dr Marc!
Thank you for your response. It sounds like a good plan to me. He did not cut the wart out first ...


location unknown

Thanks again doc for having this website and we STILL need qualified Podiatrists in beautiful sunny Tampa Bay (Bradenton) Florida.

Bessie Mae

Dear Dr. Mitnick, Thank you so very much for taking your time to answer my question. You have greatly relieved my anxiety related to the continual tingly I feel in my feet. I will share your response with my podiatrist next week. God bless you for having this question and answer page on your website! Most gratefully,

Lynne T.

location unknown
Your webpage is excellent, I commend you on sharing your knowledge to the public.


New Jersey

Thank you. you were more detailed than what others have told me they finally called from the last xrays and my son is now in a cast for 2 weeks he did have a fracture that was not noticeable.

a mom

location unknown

I have read your website and I have to admit that I am amazed at all the information that is on here. I have learned more than the three years I have been going to several doctors that I have seen!!


Lenoir, NC

Thank you so much Doc for a quick and thorough response!


Bellevue, WA

I cannot thank you enough for your response, opinion, and suggestions! I want you to know how much it means to me, and I'm sure everyone else who has ever asked you a question! I feel like you're a lifesaver and have empowered me to take a stronger role and stand up for myself and my feet!


location unknown

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