Toe Joint & Nerve Disorders
What are Toe Joint & Nerve Disorders?
Toe disorders occur for several different reasons. With fourteen of the 26 total bones in your feet being located in your toes, damage to your toes can sometimes be severe depending on the cause of the toe disorder. These can include playing regular sports, running, injury or trauma to your toes, as well as wearing improperly fitted shoes.
Nerve pain in your toes and feet occurs due to wearing narrow-shoes and high-heels for prolonged periods of time. This is called Morton's neuroma, interdigital neuroma, or a forefoot neuroma. The pressure between your toes—usually the third and fourth toes—on your feet results in the nerves being pinched. This can result in numbness and a tingling sensation in one or several of your toes.
What Are the Causes of Toe Joint & Nerve Disorders?
As previously mentioned, toe disorders can occur for several different reasons, including running, dropping something heavy on your toes, or shoes that are too tight. Other causes of toe joint disorders include:
- stiff big toe known as hallux rigidus—this is caused as a result of arthritis and can result in swelling and joint pain in your big toe
- bunions—also known as hallux valgus, these are joint enlargements that occur at the base of the big toe due to improperly fitted shoes or heels
- Hammertoe—bending of the toes at the middle joint in the foot. Occurs primarily in the second, third, and fourth toes
- gout—can also result in swelling of the joints of the toe
Nerve disorders in your feet are often caused by a pinched nerve. These include:
- Morton's neuroma—caused by a pinched nerve between the third and fourth toes. It occurs as a result of wearing narrow-toed and often high-heeled shoes.
What Are the Symptoms of Toe Joint & Nerve Disorders?
Common symptoms of the toe joint and nerve disorders include:
- redness and swelling
- misshapen joints
- inability to bear weight or walk
- pain in the ball of your foot—for patients with Morton's neuroma
- numbness and tingling sensations in your toes
What to Expect During Treatment for Toe Joint & Nerve Disorders at the Podiatrist
Regular foot checkups with your podiatrist can prevent the formation of the toe joint and nerve disorders. Prevention of toe joint disorders is key to keeping your feet healthy. Your podiatric physician will conduct a thorough foot exam to examine your feet, as well as resthe types of footwear you most often wear, as well as your lifestyle. X-rays, as well as other imaging tests, can help determine the presence of bone spurs, as well as any toe joint disorders.
Treatment for toe joint and nerve disorders in your feet will depend on the severity of the symptoms and can include:
- properly fitted shoes
- physical therapy
- special orthotic shoe inserts and padding
- taping of the toes
- medicines to reduce inflammation and swelling
- local injection of cortisone for neuromas
- the minimal wearing of narrow-toed shoes and high-heels
In some cases of toe joint and nerve disorders of your feet, surgery may be necessary for bunions—to realign the bones—and neuromas to reduce the inflammation and pain that may arise from walking and putting weight on your feet.