Morton's neuroma is a condition that affects the nerves between the toes. Fibrous tissue develops around the nerve, which becomes irritated and compressed. This causes severe burning pain on the ball of the foot and at the base of the toes. It can occur on either foot or both feet. It frequently affects the nerve between the third and fourth toes, but sometimes the second and third toes are affected.
Metatarsalgia is the term for pain that occurs in the front section of the foot and is often described as a burning or aching pain that ranges from mild to severe and gets worse when walking. It can affect one or several toes near the ball of your foot, or sometimes the entire foot. Anything that puts extra strain or pressure on the ball of your foot can bring on the pain. For example, wearing tight-fitting shoes for a long period of time, high-impact sports, or being overweight. Older people are more susceptible to metatarsalgia.
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In older people, repeated episodes of foot pain and stiffness can indicate a sudden worsening of osteoarthritis, which is the most common type of arthritis in the UK. This long-term condition, caused by wear and tear, results in the swelling of the tissues in and around the joints, including the big toe and heel joints. Less commonly, foot pain can be caused by rheumatoid arthritis, which is a type of arthritis caused by the immune system attacking the joints and causing the joint tissues to become inflamed. It almost always affects other joints too, so foot pain will probably not be your only symptom. Wearing suitable footwear can reduce the strain on your joints.