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Sports Medicine

Discomfort in ball of the foot.

10/13/2000

Question:

I have experienced discomfort on the ball of my right foot to some degree for a year or more but it seems to have gotten a little worse over the last several months. I play tennis several times a week and although it is not a sharp pain and does not prevent me from playing, there is enough pain that for the past month or two, I have not felt like walking any distance. It almost feels like my sock is bunched up under the ball of my foot and with just enough pain that I have trouble walking with a normal gait.

Answer:

Your description makes me think of three different possibilities: sesamoiditis, plantar fasciitis, or Morton`s neuroma. Sesamoiditis is inflammation of the two small bones beneath the big toe. They are contained in a tendon just like the knee cap. Although they are very small they can cause significant pain and limit a person`s ability to walk or exercise. The plantar fascia is a thick band of tissue that runs from the heel of the foot to the base of the toes and supports the arch of the foot. It commonly can become sore, irritated and tight. Morton`s neuroma is inflammation and scarring around a nerve that runs between the foot and toe bones. People with a neuroma often describe a feeling of walking on something (ie. pebble) when nothing is there. All three of these problems can be treated and I would encourage you to see a physician so the correct diagnosis could be made and you can get back to activity.

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Response by:

Dawn   Mattern, MD Dawn Mattern, MD
Clinical Faculty, Team Physician
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University