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  • Sheehy Ankle & Foot Center

Understanding Pinched Nerves in the Feet: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment Options

Doctor holding a tablet projecting a hologram of an injured foot.

A pinched nerve is a sensitive feeling of the nerves between two tissues in the foot. This feeling can feel like a shooting, tingling, or burning sensation.  The common sign to look out for is pain between the toes while walking.

A patient suffering from pinched nerves can regain full function in the foot if it is treated quickly. However, it can lead to foot deformity and permanent effects if not treated immediately.

Signs of Pinched Nerves

There are several signs that you can use to determine if you are suffering from pinched nerves:

  • Burning or sharp pain in the feet.

  • Muscle weakness in the foot.

  • Numbness in the affected nerves.

  • Swelling between the toes.

  • Tingling sensations

Note: you may notice these signs when performing specific activities like walking, exercising, or standing for long periods of time. You may also feel these symptoms in the bottom of your foot, in one specific area, or all throughout your toes.

Causes Of Pinched Nerves

Generally, pinched nerves in the foot can occur where there is too much pressure on a nerve. Some of the causes of pinched nerves are:

  • Injury from a fall, playing sports, or a car accident can cause the soft tissue in your foot to be inflamed and swollen. This can then put lots of pressure on the nearby nerves.

  • There is a specific structure or growth like bone spurs, ganglion cysts, neuromas, and varicose veins in your foot;

  • Wearing certain footwear like high-heeled or overly tight shoes;

  • Having high arches or being flat-footed can put pressure on the tissues of your foot, leading to nerve compression.

  • Health conditions like obesity, arthritis, diabetes, Tarsal tunnel syndrome, and Baxter’s nerve entrapment.

Preventing Pinched Nerves In The Feet

woman switching from high heels to sneakers.

Here are some tips that you can use to avoid pinched nerves in the feet:

  • Avoid repetitive motions that can put pressure on the soft tissue in your feet.

  • Try to keep a healthy weight to ensure you don’t put too much pressure on your feet.

  • Ensure your shoes are wide enough for your feet to provide adequate support.

  • Try to avoid wearing high-heeled or narrow-toed shoes.

  • Ensure you keep pre-existing health conditions like diabetes under control by consulting with your doctor.

Home Remedies For Pinched Nerves in The Feet

You can try home remedies to treat pinched nerves in the feet:

  • Resting

  • Apply ice on the affected area for around 20 minutes to ease swelling and inflammation.

  • Gently massage the foot to ease the pain temporarily.

  • Take over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen to reduce pain and ease inflammation.

When To See Your Podiatric Physician?

Make an appointment to see your physician once you notice that your symptoms worsen or do not improve after several days of home care. 

Your physician will help diagnose your condition through physical examination, imaging tests, nerve conduction tests, or electromyography to help determine the best treatment.


A medical professional may recommend the following treatments based on the diagnosis.

  • Prescription medications like corticosteroids to ease pain and inflammation.

  • Custom inserts.

  • Physical therapy to relieve pressure on the nerves.

  • Surgery.

If you are experiencing pinched nerves in the feet, make sure to consult with us at your earliest convenience. ♦

Podiatrist newsletter article provided by LRW Media. Images provided by Shutterstock.



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