Metatarsal pain

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Last year i had 4 months off work due to metartasal pain in my left foot and burning sensation in my right foot in the ball of the foot, after initially going to my doctor and told to take paracetamol and ibuprofen which had no effect. The GP didn't send me for further testing and after going back finally sent me to a podiatrist, who said I needed to use a walking boot. It turned out I didn't even need it as he couldn't find what was wrong after doing an ultrasound.

I was the sent for an X-ray to rule out a stress fracture and that came back normal. The next person to see me was a back specialist who found nothing wrong.

Then I went on to see a muscle specialist who stuck a 6 inch needle 5 times into each calf and foot area.... Again no conclusion. Throughout all this I attended physio who also couldn't say what was wrong.

I did take pain relief only as strong as tramadol (which I only took briefly) as they made me feel sick, no-one could give me an answer.

All they could find was some general wear and tear of the joints and a small amount of fluid around the joints, the only issues I have with my feet are the little toes are set higher and used to cross over when I was younger, and I moderately walk on the insides of my feet.

After I went back to work the pain had almost gone and I was relieved. But after a month back at work the pain in the metatarsals returned and i went back to see another doctor who instantly diagnosed plantar fasciitis in my left foot and metatasalgia in my right, initially I agreed with this after further educating myself.

The problem is the pain I have in the top of my feet are my metatarsals.

When I stay off my feet I'm OK I'm still achy when trying to stand and it does take me a little while to get going. But when I work (I'm a nurse in an elderly care home) the pain is so much more worse that I do end up taking pain relief just so I can sleep and walk, my feet and calves feel really tight when I get up.

I'm 31 and this has been going on for nearly 2 years now, I think the initial diagnosis was correct but I feel like there is something else underlying with the metatarsals, I do use arch support insoles in all of my shoes which I ensure fit my feet comfortably. The doctor I saw told me it could take up to 2 years for this to resolve but to me it's just getting worse.

would I be right to go back and get another opinion?

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6 Replies

  • Posted

    Did you have a MRI? That is how to tears in my tenants finally showed up. I had surgery on it but now I have pain on the top of my foot he thinks it might be arthritis and wants me to have a shot put in it but I'm hesitant to do that

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  • Posted

    Did any of the docs ever bring up Morton's Neuroma? This is a thickening of the nerve that runs between the metatarsals and causes pain and burning. 

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    • Posted

      No the doctor I saw said it was metatarsalgia and said it could take 18-24 months this to resolve itself. The treatment was something like ultrasonic waves but unfortunately it's not available on the NHS and I would have to pay for it privately

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  • Posted

    Have you been checked to see if you might be suffering from Morton’s neuroma? It’s a growth, or cyst, on the nerve in one of the metatarsals. I suffered from this in my early 30s when it was called a digital neuroma. It’s extremely painful and it took me about 18 months before it was diagnosed by a consultant, after nearly being dismissed by my GP as an x-ray showed nothing.  I don’t know if an ultrasound would pick this up or not, but I’d have thought a podiatrist would. It was an orthopaedic consultant who instantly diagnosed me.  It’s extremely painful, getting progressively worse over time to the point where you can only keep a shoe on for short periods. The pain seemed to come from the ball of my foot and it felt like a cross between walking on broken bones or walking on broken glass, and a burning sensation. 

    Hopemyou find some some relief soon. 


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    • Posted

      None of the many people I have seen suggested this, I did do some online searching and have come across this. I think I will go back and suggest this to my doctor and see if it gets me anywhere, I seem to be OK when I rest it's when I work (being on my feet for 8 hours) that the pain becomes worse. It has progressed into my hips now and it's making walking and moving around difficult

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