What causes pain on top of the foot?
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Multiple nerves supply the foot with pain, touch, strength and power. Most of the nerves in the foot are superficial; therefore, they can become trapped or pinched by surrounding muscles or bones. This article will discuss the most common causes of a pinched nerve in the foot and how to treat them.
A Morton’s Neuroma is the most common type of pinched nerve in the foot. Interdigital nerves pass through the web spaces of the toes, and if these become compressed, it can lead to a neuroma.
A Neuroma is caused by tight-fitting shoes, flat feet or biomechanical issues of the gait cycle.
Treatment is through insoles, changes in footwear and Physical Therapy Exercises.
Related Article: Morton’s Neuroma: Symptoms and Treatment
A Baxter’s Nerve Entrapment causes 20% of all heel pain. The Baxter’s nerve innervates the heel bone, which can become compressed by tight muscular tissues or ill-fitted shoes or insoles, leading to pain and numbness on the underside of the foot.
The symptoms of a Baxter’s Nerve Entrapment are similar to Plantar Fasciitis, but they get worse with physical exercises, whereas Plantar Fasciitis generally improves as it warms up.
Treatment for Baxter’s Nerve Entrapment includes Physical Therapy, Insoles and corticosteroid injections.
Related Article: Baxter’s Nerve Entrapment
The Sural Nerve innervates the outer aspect of the foot, and it can become compressed or stretched from an ankle sprain or tight-fitting shoes.
The symptoms of Sural Nerve entrapment include pain and numbness on the outside of the foot.
Treatment includes Physical Therapy, insoles and the correct footwear.
Related Article: Symptoms & Treatment for Sural Nerve Entrapment
Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome is one of the most common causes of inner ankle nerve pain. The Tarsal Tunnel is an articulation on the inner ankle that allows blood vessels and nerves to pass through.
If the Tarsal Tunnel becomes overloaded through repetitive movements or trauma such as an ankle sprain, it can pinch the nerve and cause discomfort.
Treatment for Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome includes mobalisations of the ankle joint, strengthening exercises and stretches of the ankle joint.
Related Article: Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome: Symptoms & Treatment
Entrapment to the Common Peroneal Nerve can lead to pain and numbness in the top of the foot from impingement in the lower back and entrapment from a bone spur at the front of the ankle.
Common Peroneal Entrapment is often secondary to Footballer’s Ankle or Anterior Ankle Impingement.
Common Peroneal Nerve entrapment treatment includes ankle and low back mobilisation and strengthening exercises. In some cases, surgery is required to remove a bone spur.
This is not medical advice and we recommend a consultation with a medical professional such as James McCormack before trying any of these exercises. James offers Online Physiotherapy Appointments for £45.