Did you happen to hear about Washington Nationals pitcher Sean Doolittle’s problem with his toe? According to reports in the press, Doolittle began to feel discomfort in one of his toes in early July but continued to play ball. His pain got worse and doctors ordered an MRI, which showed a neuroma – a pinched nerve between the fourth and fifth toe. He wore a walking boot. The problem persisted, and upon further examination, he was diagnosed with a stress reaction, several weeks after first seeing a doctor.

So, two things appear to be going on with this ball player’s toes:

  1. neuroma, which is irritated nerve tissue caused by repeated pressureor injury to a nerve.
  2. stress reaction means that a bone’s been under some kind of stress and is at risk for a fracture. But it hasn’t actually broken anywhere yet. If Doolittle were to push through the pain of his stress reaction, he could eventually end up with a stress fracture– a crack in the bone – which, in turn, could lead to a complete fracture of the bone.

Did Doolittle’s neuroma cause his stress reaction? Did the stress on his bone aggravate the neuroma? These are the kinds of questions best answered by a board-certified podiatrist like Dr. Kenneth R. Wilhelm at Clifton Foot & Ankle Center.  Very often a patient will come to see us at our office in Centreville, Virginia and the list of symptoms they give perfectly lines up with an easy diagnosis. Other times, the problem isn’t so straightforward. There may be more than one issue going on. Self-diagnosis and home treatment might even make a problem worse.

The smart way to treat foot pain is to see a doctor who’s specially trained in feet and has the diagnostic tools to properly figure out everything that’s going on. So whether you’re a professional pitcher or just an average citizen who values your mobility, choose Clifton Foot & Ankle Center to get you back in your game. Call us at (703) 996-3000 or make an appointment online.

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