Pain in the ball of your foot can be confusing. With the wide variety of bones, ligaments and tendons that are in the human foot, sometimes it can be difficult to distinguish one type of foot condition from the other.
Morton's neuroma and bunions are often confused with one another, since they occur in roughly the same location on the foot. Luckily, the Mayo Clinic has laid out the characteristics of each condition so that you can understand the similarities and differences:
Neuromas happen when the thickening of tissue occurs on one of the nerves leading your toes. Like bunions, this condition can be exacerbated by high heels and is very common with women. Orthotics and arch supports are also common treatments for both ailments.
The pain associated with neuromas is usually sharp and it comes and goes. Since bunions permanently change your feet, the pain is often chronic and dull. Bunions also affect the bones, not foot tissue, and structural defects are the main reason why people develop bony bumps. While bunions usually affect the big toe, neuromas can occur on virtually any part of the metatarsal head, especially the third and fourth toe.