Does this sound like you?
- You wake up in the middle of the night with stabbing nerve pain in your feet.
- Lately you’ve noticed tingling in your toes when you walk, and it stops when you sit down. The tingling seems to have gotten worse over time.
- You’ve noticed a burning sensation that’s quite painful on the bottom of your feet when you run.
If so, these are all signs and symptoms of nerve pain that need to be evaluated by a podiatrist. Stabbing and shooting pain, tingling, and burning are all signs that the tissues surrounding the nerve are compromised. The nerves are sending signals to your brain telling it there’s something wrong.
Today we’ll discuss the 6 reasons for nerve pain in your feet and ankles, their causes, and how they’re treated.
1. Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy
First on the list is diabetic peripheral neuropathy. Many people who have diabetes eventually develop neuropathy in their feet which means they experience pain, tingling, or reduced sensation. Patients at greatest risk for this condition are those with poorly controlled blood sugar levels. High glucose levels along with high levels of certain fats in the blood damage the small blood vessels, preventing them from receiving the nutrients they need to function well.
2. Morton’s Neuroma
Morton’s neuroma is a very common condition caused by an enlarged bundle of nerves between your 3rd and 4th toes. People most at risk for this condition are those with a faulty foot structure, wear pointy or high heeled shoes, and athletes.
Symptoms of Morton’s Neuroma
- Feeling like there’s a pebble in your shoe or your sock is bunched up
Treatment of Morton’s Neuroma
3. Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome
When a nerve (posterior tibial nerve) that runs from the inside of your ankle to your foot is compressed you’ll feel pain along your inner heel or arch. We call that Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome. This condition is caused by:
- foot structure that causes your foot to pronate
- acute and overuse injuries (athletes)
- abnormal growths that impinge on the nerve
- certain chronic conditions that cause swelling or nerve compression.
4. Chronic Conditions
Some chronic conditions that can also impact the nerves of the feet and ankles are:
- Osteoarthritis – in this condition the cartilage around your joints breaks down and this can sometimes cause pressure on the nerves.
- Rheumatoid arthritis – this is an autoimmune condition where the body attacks the joints. Swelling is common in this condition and can cause nerve impingement.
- Diabetes – in addition to neuropathy due to nerve damage, diabetes can also lead to swelling which puts pressure on the nerves.
Sciatica is caused by pressure or injury to the sciatic nerve that starts in the back and can run all the way down to the ankle and foot. Often, when many other foot or ankle conditions are ruled out, your podiatrist may also exam you and run some tests to determine if your pain is coming from your back.
As podiatrists can only treat your feet and ankles, if sciatica is the cause you’ll be referred to your primary care provider for proper treatment.
6. Pinched Nerve or Nerve Entrapment
While we’ve already covered many of the conditions that can cause a pinched nerve, there are also a few other things to consider if all others have been ruled out.
- Shoes or boots that are too tight – tight shoes, particularly those across the ball of the foot, can cause many problems in addition to nerve pain. The type of shoes you’re wearing should always be part of evaluating a problem with the nerves of the feet or ankles.
- Athletic shoes that are too tight -- certain athletes need to be aware that their shoes may be causing a problem. For example, rock climbing shoes and soccer cleats are often worn one size too small. While this may help with play, it can do a lot of damage to toenails and compress the nerves. Skiers also need to make sure they aren’t buckling their boots too snugly or they may experience nerve pain in their feet and ankles.
- Injuries -- dropping an object on your foot or sustaining an injury from an accident or sports can alter the structure of your foot and lead to nerve impingement.
- Overweight and obesity – people who are overweight or obese can place a lot more pressure on their feet and nerves.
- Baxter’s Nerve Entrapment – this is a condition that causes nerve entrapment in the inner heel and is often hard to distinguish from other types of heel pain.
Need Relief from Foot or Ankle Nerve Pain in Seattle, Washington? Request an Appointment Now
Don't let nerve pain cause you to miss out on the activities you enjoy. Complete the contact form on this page or call our office, the Foot and Ankle Center of Lake City, at 206-368-7000 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Rion Berg.
Most new patients are seen within 1-2 week's time. During your initial visit, Dr. Berg will spend up to 30 minutes getting to know you, your podiatry complaints, and your goals so that he can recommend the treatment best meets your needs. Don’t wait—contact us today.
North Seattle Foot & Ankle Specialist Dr. Rion Berg offers compassionate podiatry care for all foot and ankle problems to those living in Seattle Washington and the surrounding areas. Call us today at 206-368-7000 for an immediate appointment or request an appointment online.