Have you ever felt pain or numbness in one of your feet and wondered what could be causing it? One of the possible causes could be a pinched nerve.
A pinched nerve occurs when the surrounding tissue puts too much pressure on a nerve, causing symptoms such as pain, numbness, or tingling.
This article will take a closer look at what can cause a pinched nerve in the foot and how it can be treated.
If you have a pinched nerve in your foot, you may experience the following symptoms:
- aching, sharp, or burning pain
- numbness in the area that innervates the affected nerve
- tingling sensations, "pins and needles" or that your foot has gone numb
- muscle weakness in the foot
You may experience symptoms on the bottom of your foot, heel, or bottom of your foot. Symptoms can be isolated to one area or spread to other parts of the foot, such as the arches or toes.
You may also notice that your symptoms are associated with specific activities. This can include things like standing for a long time, walking, or exercising.
Simply put, a pinched nerve can occur when too much pressure is placed on a nerve. There are several factors that can cause this to happen to your foot. Below we will explore some of the more common causes in more detail.
A foot injury from a fall, car accident, or playing sports can cause a pinched nerve. An injury can cause the soft tissue in the foot to become inflamed and swollen, which in turn can put additional pressure on nearby nerves.
Repetitive movements, such as those in some sports or professions, can subject foot tissues to repeated trauma. Over time, this can lead to inflammation of the surrounding tissue, which can affect the nerves in this area of the foot.
Structures or growths in the foot
Sometimes a specific structure or growth on the foot can press on a nerve. Conditions that can do this include:
- Bone spurs.those hard knocksextra boneIt can form at the edge of the bones of the foot or toes, usually in or around a joint.
- ganglion cystsThese are not cancerousfluid-filled cystsIt can form around the ankle and foot joints.
- Neuromas.These are non-cancerous growths of nerve tissue. A common neuroma of the foot is calledneuroma de Morton, which most often occurs between the third and fourth fingers.
- Varicose veins.These aredilated veinsThey most often occur on the legs, but can also develop on the feet.
Some types of shoes can put a lot of pressure on certain parts of the foot. Examples include high heels or shoes that are too tight.
To bepie planoor havehigh archesit can put stress on the tissues of your foot. In some cases, this can lead to compression of the nerve.
Carrying extra weight can put extra pressure on the soft tissues in your feet and the nerves that surround the tissue.
tarsal tunnel syndrome
tarsal tunnel syndromeIt is a condition in which a specific nerve, called the posterior tibial nerve, is compressed. If you have tarsal tunnel syndrome, you will often experience symptoms on the inside of your ankle or on the bottom of your foot.
Baxter's Nervous Imprisonment
Like tarsal tunnel syndrome, this condition involves compression of a specific nerve: the first branch of the lateral plantar nerve. When pressure is put on this nerve, it can lead to pain in the heel or sole of the foot.
Sometimes an underlying condition can put extra pressure on a nerve. Examples include:
- Rheumatoid arthritis (RA).RA is an autoimmune diseasediseasein which your immune system mistakenly attacks your joints. This can lead to inflammation that can pinch surrounding nerves.
- Osteoarthritis.This is a condition in which the cartilage around the joints breaks down. Sometimes bone spurs or pinched nerves can occur due toosteoarthritis.
Look fordemonstrated that the metabolic alterations caused bydiabetesit can lead to swelling, which in turn can put extra pressure on the nerves.
Other causes of foot pain
There are also several other conditions that can cause pain similar to a pinched nerve in the foot. These conditions include:
- peripheral neuropathy. this conditionIt occurs when nerves on the periphery of your body are damaged, most often in the hands and feet. This can cause a variety of symptoms, including pain, tingling, and muscle weakness. Many things can cause peripheral neuropathy, including but not limited to diabetes,Autoimmune diseases,hypertension, some vitamin deficiencies and some medications.
- plantar fasciitis. To beIt can occur when the long ligament on the bottom of the foot, the plantar fascia, becomes inflamed. It can cause pain in the heel or sole of the foot.
- Sciatica. this conditionIt occurs when the sciatic nerve is pinched or irritated. It can cause pain that can radiate down the leg or foot.
- Stress fractures.These are small cracks that occur in the bones as a result of repetitive activity or overuse. When onestress fracturehappens in the foot, you may experience pain during physical activity that goes away with rest.
If you think you may have a pinched nerve in your foot, there are self-care steps you can take to help alleviate your symptoms. Here are some home remedies you can try:
- Rest.Try to avoid movements or activities that aggravate the pinched nerve.
- Adjust your footwear.Make sure your shoes fit well and are supportive. Avoid shoes with high heels or pointed toes. You may also consider getting insoles to give your feet more support.
- Apply ice.Wrap an ice pack in a thin, damp towel and wear it on the affected area for about 20 minutes at a time. This can help relieve swelling and inflammation.
- Try the massage.Gently massaging the foot can help temporarily relieve pain and discomfort.
- Use a leash.In some cases, immobilization of the area can prevent irritation of the pinched nerve and aid in healing.
- Take over-the-counter (OTC) medicines.Over-the-counter medications, such asibuprofen(Motrin, Advil) andnaproxen(Aleve) can help reduce pain and relieve inflammation.
(Video) Treatments for Pinched Nerves in the Foot
Make an appointment with your doctor if your symptoms do not improve or if they worsen after several days of home care. Your doctor can work with you to diagnose your condition and determine the best treatment for you.
OFerramenta FindCare health linecan give you options in your area if you don't already have a doctor.
Your doctor will likely first ask about your symptoms and do a physical exam. They may also want additional tests, which may include:
- imaging exams,like oneultrasound,X rays, omagnetic resonance, to better visualize the affected area
- nerve conduction teststo measure how electrical impulses move through the affected nerve
- electromyographyto evaluate theelectrical activity of your musclesand surrounding nerves
In addition to self-care measures, your doctor may recommend other treatments depending on the cause of your pinched nerve, such as:
- Prescription drugs, such ascorticosteroids.These can help relieve pain and inflammation and can be given orally or by injection.
- custom inserts, callsorthosis.This can help alleviate your symptoms by providing better cushioning and support for your feet.
- Physiotherapy.This usually includes exercises and stretches to help take pressure off the nerves. You will also likely be given instructions on exercises you can do at home to help relieve your symptoms.
- Surgery for conditions that do not improve with other treatments.The exact type of surgery varies depending on the location and cause of the pinched nerve. The overall goal is to relieve the pressure that is causing your symptoms.
There are steps you can take to prevent a pinched nerve in your foot. Follow these tips to avoid extra pressure on the nerves in your feet:
- Try to avoid repetitive movements that can aggravate the soft tissues in your feet.
- Wear shoes that arewide enough for your feetand provide appropriate support. Limit the amount of time you spend in shoes with heels or pointed toes.
- try to keep aHealthy weightin order to keep the pressure off your feet.
- Work closely with your doctor to keep any pre-existing conditions, such as diabetes and RA, under control.
Nerves can become pinched when too much pressure is placed on them. This can cause pain, numbness, and muscle weakness.
There are many possible causes of a pinched nerve, including injuries, bone spurs, arch problems, ill-fitting shoes, and underlying conditions such as diabetes or RA.
Sometimes the symptoms of a pinched nerve in the foot can go away with home remedies and self-care. However, if the symptoms do not improve, see your doctor for a diagnosis and to discuss treatment options.