What Can Cause Nerve Pain in Your Foot?

nerve pain in foot
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Our feet carry us through life, so it’s incredibly important to keep them healthy and to properly care for them. But what if you start having unexpected foot pain? If you haven’t suffered an injury or overexerted yourself, you may be experiencing nerve pain in your foot. Simply searching “nerve pain in foot” on the Internet may not yield the answers you need. We recommend scheduling an appointment with a qualified orthopedic specialist for a proper diagnosis and treatment.

At SPORT Orthopedics + Physical Therapy, we understand how frustrating foot pain can be. If your foot pain is interfering with your everyday life and keeping you out of the game, we’re here to help. Our Dallas orthopedic specialists have extensive experience diagnosing and treating a wide variety of conditions that cause foot nerve pain. To schedule an appointment with us, please call our office at 469-200-2832 today.

Why Do I Have Nerve Pain in My Foot?

Pain of any kind could come from many different sources, which is why it is so important to have your symptoms evaluated by a professional. Most people associate nerve pain in the foot with a pinched nerve or with diabetes, but these aren’t the only two possibilities. Nerve pain can also radiate outward from the brain and spinal cord. When you meet with our specialists, we will evaluate your symptoms and perform the tests necessary to diagnose the source of your pain.

Symptoms of Nerve Pain in Feet

Pain is often not the only symptom that one experiences when they have nerve pain. Also, the pain itself can vary significantly in terms of intensity and sensation. Below, we outline some of the most common symptoms associated with nerve pain in foot areas.

  • Burning, tingling, or aching
  • Muscle weakness in the affected area
  • The feeling of having an electric shock to the affected area
  • Pain that worsens from specific activities or during the night
  • Numbness and tingling

It’s important to describe your nerve pain in foot areas as accurately as possible. This will help to narrow down the number of possible injuries or conditions that could be causing your pain.

Types of Foot Pain Due to Nerve Problems

nerve pain in foot causes

It is entirely possible for people to have foot pain because of an injury or because of overuse. However, another common source of foot pain is problems with the nerves in the feet. Some people are well acquainted with the sensation of nerve pain, but others may mistake it for regular foot pain. Nerve pain often brings a shooting or burning sensation, and it can even be intense enough to wake you from sleep. In the following sections, we outline some of the common causes of foot nerve pain, as well as what your treatment options may be.

Morton’s Neuroma

Sometimes, the tissues between the toes can thicken and compress the nerves. It is most common between the third and fourth toes. People who frequently wear high heels may experience Morton’s neuroma, although the symptoms tend to fade when they remove their shoes. Those with Morton’s neuroma may experience burning pain, stabbing pain, or tingling in the affected foot. The pain may even radiate to the back of the foot or leg.

Some common causes of Morton’s neuroma include the following.

  • Frequently wearing high heels
  • Wearing narrow or tight shoes
  • Inflammation in the joints around the toes
  • Thickening of the ligaments in the foot
  • Development of lipomas in the feet
  • Suffering certain injuries to the foot

Peripheral Neuropathy

Peripheral neuropathy is one of the most common sources of nerve pain in the foot. However, peripheral neuropathy itself is actually an umbrella term for numbness, tingling, and burning sensations in the extremities of the body. Many people find that the symptoms of peripheral neuropathy get worse at night.

This condition can also cause other symptoms that make it more difficult for people to move the affected body part. Certain risk factors exist that can increase one’s chances of developing peripheral neuropathy. These risk factors include the following.

  • Vitamin B12 deficiency
  • Alcohol abuse
  • Diabetes
  • Infections
  • Guillain-Barre syndrome
  • Hereditary conditions, such as Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease

What Causes Peripheral Neuropathy?

Scientists and doctors don’t yet fully understand why certain people may develop issues with their peripheral nerves, while others don’t. However, issues with the nerves in the peripheral nervous system can arise from the following causes.

  • Traumatic injuries that cause nerve damage
  • Metabolic issues
  • Infections
  • Hereditary problems
  • Issues caused by toxic exposure
  • Diabetes
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Tumors
  • Bone marrow problems

Herniated Disc

A herniated disc, also known as a bulging disc, slipped disc, or ruptured disc, occurs when the nucleus (the disc) is pushed out of its proper position and into the spinal canal. While some people do not feel pain or other symptoms from their herniated discs, others experience pain, numbness, and tingling. They may also experience weakness in their muscles.

Slipped discs can happen for a number of reasons, but they often act as a signal of degeneration of the spine. It is incredibly important to seek medical attention if you start to experience significant back pain. The spine is part of the central nervous system, which includes the brain and spinal cord.

Spinal Stenosis

Spinal stenosis is caused by a narrowing of the space within your spine. When the spaces in your spine become too small, this could lead to compressed nerve tissue and pinched nerves. As with herniated discs, many people with spinal stenosis experience no symptoms. However, others experience pain, tingling, muscle weakness, or numbness. One of the most common causes of spinal stenosis is the changes that occur to the spine due to arthritis.

Pinched Nerve

A pinched nerve is as it sounds – a nerve that becomes pinched by the surrounding tissue or structures. One could experience a pinched nerve just about anywhere in the body, including the feet. However, a pinched nerve tends to be easier to treat than other sources of nerve pain. The easiest solution is to relieve pressure on the nerve. This can be done by having good posture, practicing strength and flexibility, and maintaining a healthy body weight.

Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome

Tarsal tunnel syndrome is similar to carpal tunnel syndrome. While carpal tunnel is caused by the compression of the median nerve in the wrist, tarsal tunnel syndrome is caused by the compression of the posterior tibial nerve along the back of the lower leg.

Some of the most common symptoms of tarsal tunnel syndrome include the following.

  • Shooting pain along the foot and inner ankle
  • Numbness along the underside of the foot
  • Feeling pain while moving or flexing the foot
  • Having burning or tingling sensations
  • Pain that worsens after activity, such as standing or walking

Baxter’s Neuropathy

This is a form of nerve entrapment. When the inferior calcaneal nerve, which sits under the base of the arch of the foot, becomes compressed, this can lead to nerve pain. Certain risk factors can increase one’s risk of Baxter’s neuropathy. We’ve outlined these risk factors below.

Diabetic Neuropathy

Both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes can lead to diabetic neuropathy. This condition affects as many as 90% of people with diabetes. It causes significant nerve pain in the toes and feet that can eventually spread up the leg. Some of the most common symptoms of diabetic neuropathy include the following.

  • Shooting pain, burning, tingling, or sharp pain in the feet and toes
  • Feeling an electric shock sensation in the affected area
  • Pain that tends to worsen at night
  • Feeling pain while touching the affected area


The sciatic nerve is the widest, longest nerve in the entire body. When this nerve becomes compressed or damaged, sciatica occurs. In general, sciatic nerve compression tends to affect the back, hips, and thighs first. However, it can spread down the legs and into the toes. Some of the most common symptoms of sciatic nerve entrapment include the following.

  • Burning pain in the buttocks area
  • Having back pain on only one side
  • Muscle weakness in the legs
  • Feeling pain in the legs and feet

Nerve Pain in Foot Treatments

nerve pain in foot treatments

In order to relieve nerve pain, you’ll first have to understand where that pain is coming from. Once you are evaluated and diagnosed by a medical professional, they will recommend a treatment plan that should work for you. However, you can also take steps to achieve pain relief at home. We recommend the following ways to reduce pain in your feet while at home.

  • Using hot and cold compresses
  • Wearing a foot splint
  • Getting a foot massage
  • Resting and taking frequent breaks from physical activity
  • Taking over-the-counter pain medications
  • Wearing proper footwear that fits snugly, but has enough room

Other potential medical treatments that your doctor may administer include the following.

  • Prescription pain medications
  • Corticosteroid injections
  • Deep tissue massages
  • Certain other medications
  • In severe cases, surgery may be recommended

Contact SPORT Orthopedics + Physical Therapy Today

Regardless of where the nerve pain in your feet comes from, you deserve to feel happy and pain-free again. The orthopedic specialists at SPORT Orthopedics + Physical Therapy are here to get you back on your feet and back in the game. If your chronic foot pain is keeping you from doing the things you love, don’t wait to make an appointment. To schedule a visit with the best orthopedic doctors in Dallas, please call our office at 469-200-2832 today.