The nerve branches are pinched (compressed) between bone, ligaments, and other connective tissues, causing pain. The pain is made worse when ankle motion and certain shoes or activities such as running put additional pressure on the pinched nerves.
(See also Overview of Foot Problems Overview of Foot Problems Some foot problems start in the foot itself, for example, resulting from a foot injury. Problems can occur in any bone, joint, muscle, tendon, or ligament of the foot. Foot and ankle fractures... read more .)
Symptoms of medial and lateral plantar nerve entrapment include almost constant pain, whether walking or sitting. Just standing is often difficult. The pain is often chronic, difficult to treat, and aggravated by high-impact activities such as running. Burning, numbness, and tingling, which often occur when nerves are compressed, usually do not occur in medial and lateral plantar nerve entrapment.
Devices that keep the foot from moving (such as splints) and other devices placed in the shoe (orthoses) may help, as may physical therapy Physical Therapy (PT) Physical therapy, a component of rehabilitation, involves exercising and manipulating the body with an emphasis on the back, upper arms, and legs. It can improve joint and muscle function, helping... read more and application of extreme cold to the nerve (cryotherapy Cold therapy (cryotherapy) Professional rehabilitation therapists treat pain and inflammation. Such treatment makes movement easier and enables people to participate more fully in rehabilitation. Techniques used include... read more ).
If these treatments do not work, injection with an alcohol solution to deaden the nerve or surgery to free the nerve from compression may help relieve pain.