Gout is a general term for a variety of conditions caused by a buildup of uric acid. This buildup usually affects your feet. If you have gout, you'll probably feel swelling and pain in the joints of your foot, particularly your big toe. An attack of gout can occur suddenly, often waking you up in the middle of the night with the sensation that your big toe is on fire. The affected joint is hot, swollen and so tender that even the weight of the sheet on it may seem intolerable. Gout symptoms may come and go, but there are ways to manage symptoms and prevent flares.

Morton’s neuralgia

The most commonly know is Morton’s neuralgia, which is entrapped between the 3rd and 4th metatarsal bone, in the 3rd intermetatarsal space. It is also often referred to as a "Morton Neuroma". This specifically concerns a thickening. The term "Neuralgia" is a collective name, whereby the pinching of the nerve can have several causes. 

Houser’s neuroma / neuralgia
Situated in the 2nd intermetatarsal space

Iselin’s neuroma / neuralgia
Situated in the 4th intermetatarsal space

Heuter’s neuroma / neuralgia
Situated in the 1st intermetatarsal space

Intermetatarsal nerve entrapments

In each of the intermetatarsal spaces, the spaces between the midfoot bones, can occur a nerve entrapment. The complaints for all of these nerve entrapments are similar. The nerve between the metatarsal bones is irritated, causing pain. Prolonged compression of the nerve can cause a thickening in this nerve, causing the complaints to get worse. Ill fitting shoes, often to tight, are a common factor in this complaint. Taking your shoes off, may result in immediate relieve of the complaints. A nerve entrapment can feel like a pebble in a shoe or a fold in a sock. There may be sharp, burning pain or numbness in the ball of the foot or toes.

Joplin’s neuroma / neuralgia

A Joplin's neuroma, or nerve compression on the inside of the big toe joint, is a condition in which a nerve has become trapped. This causes a burning, tingling or in a more advanced stage a numbness on the inside of the big toe. Joplin’s neuroma is often seen in conjunction with a misalignment of the big toe joint (hallux valgus). The pain is present when you wear shoes and subsides when you take the shoes off.


Sesamoiditis causes pain at the ball of the foot, beneath the big toe joint. Sesamoid bones are embedded in a tendon, much like the kneecap, acting to increase the leverage of the tendons that control the big toe. Due to their location and function, sesamoid bones are subjected to massive pressure and forces every time the big toe is used to push the foot forward.

Claw toes/ hammer toes

Hammer toes and claw toes are both toe deformities that often result from hallux valgus and splay feet. With hammer toes, the distal phalangeal joint at the end of the toe is permanently bent. With claw toes, the toe’s metatarsophalangeal joint at the base of the toe is hyperextended. In their early stages, both of these toe deformities can be successfully corrected using conservative treatment.