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A pinched nerve occurs when too much pressure is placed on a specific nerve by surrounding tissues. This can happen just about anywhere in the body, including the feet. The symptoms of a pinched nerve include sharp, aching, or burning pain, and numbness, tingling, or muscle weakness in the affected foot. A pinched nerve in the foot may be the result of an injury. Participating in sports or physical activities that repeatedly put excess pressure on the tissues in your feet can cause them to become inflamed and swollen, which can put pressure on and “pinch” nearby nerves.
Pinched nerves can also be caused by underlying medical conditions. Bone spurs, hard lumps of extra bone that can grow on the edges of foot and toe bones, can put pressure on a nerve. Ganglion cysts, fluid-filled benign growths that can form around a joint, can also pinch a nerve. Other medical conditions that can cause a pinched nerve include arthritis, tarsal tunnel syndrome, or a neuroma, non-cancerous growths of nerve tissue that often occurs between the third and fourth toes.
Wearing tight, narrow, or otherwise ill-fitting shoes can increase the risk of pinching a nerve in the foot. Certain structural issues in the feet, such as having flat feet or high arches, can make a pinched nerve more likely to occur as well. This is because they can place excess pressure on the tissues in the foot, leading to nerve compression.
Fortunately, pinched nerves often heal with at-home treatments, such as resting and icing the affected foot, massaging the foot, taking over-the-counter pain medications, and wearing wider, more comfortable shoes. If you have symptoms of a pinched nerve in your foot that do not improve over time, or symptoms that worsen, it is suggested that you seek the care of a podiatrist. This specialist can diagnose the problem through physical examination, electromyography, and imaging or nerve conduction tests, and then prescribe the appropriate treatments. These may include prescription medications or corticosteroid injections to relieve pain, wearing custom orthotic inserts, or physical therapy. In rare cases that don’t respond to more conservative treatment methods, surgery may also be an option. For more information, please contact a podiatrist near you.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact one of our offices located in Bloomington, Bedford, and Washington, IN. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.