Intermetatarsal Bursitis

Dr Information

Summary – Inflammation of a congenital or adventitious bursa. Can be caused by intermittent mechanical stress, particularly shearing and friction stress. Commonly intermetatarsal bursitis is caused but impingement of the intermetatarsal bursa, this irritation can be acute due to injury or chronic due to repetitive stress due to collapse of the transverse arch. Intermetatarsal bursitis can place pressure on the intermetatarsal nerve which can mimic symptoms of mortons neuroma.

Diagnostic tip – pressure between the metatarsal shafts will feel stiff and cause pain. Inflammation and swelling intermetatarsal

Differential Diagnosis – Morton’s neuroma, cyst, infection or inflammation

Initial treatment – Rest, Ice and elevation (compression can increase pressure in some cases), Footwear modification and oral anti-inflammatories (where recommended)

Testing or imagery – Ultrasound

Referrals – Podiatrist – Acute – padding and strapping undertaken to reduce pressure. Chronic – biomechanical assessment undertaken, reduce pressure and support transverse arch.

Intermetatarsal bursitis can but relived acutely with cortisone injection.

Patient Information

Summary – A bursa is a small sack of fluid that reduces pressure between two structures, such as tendons and bone. Intermetatarsal bursitis is inflammation of a bursa that is located in between the long in your foot called metatarsals.

How does this occur? – This can occur from various causes, it maybe an acute injury to the area such as hitting your foot or dropping something on it. It may also be caused by repetitive stress or biomechanical misalignment.

How can this be helped? – For the bursa return to normal side the stress must be reduced from the area. In an acute setting Rest, Ice and elevation can help reduce the immediate inflammation. In this case compression can increase the stress on the area so it can be best to avoid tight footwear or right socks. Anti-inflammatories can help to reduce inflammation (check with GP prior to undertaking).

Who can help? – A podiatrist can undertake pressure removal through padding and strapping to help reduce the inflammation as quickly as possible. Your podiatrist will also undertake a biomechanical assessment – This will establish if a misalignment maybe causing symptoms.