Digital nerves of the foot: anatomic variations and implications regarding the pathogenesis of interdigital neuroma

Foot Ankle. 1993 May;14(4):208-14. doi: 10.1177/107110079301400406.


Seventy-one cadaveric feet were dissected, with attention to communicating branches of the digital nerves, the diameters of the digital nerves, the distance between the metatarsal heads, and the presence or absence of interdigital neuromas. A communicating branch was absent in 52 feet (73.2%) and present in 19 specimens (26.8%). The communication was from the fourth to the third web space common digital nerve (i.e., from the lateral to the medial plantar nerve) in 11 specimens. A reverse communication, from the third to the fourth web space common digital nerve (i.e., from the medial to the lateral plantar nerve), was present in eight specimens. Neuromas were identified in the second web space in 26 specimens and in the third web space in 32 feet. The common digital nerve to the third web space was not thicker in feet with a contribution from the fourth to the third web space nerve. Additionally, the incidence of third web space neuroma in feet with this type of communication was not significantly greater than in those feet without an internervous communication. However, the intermetatarsal head distances and the ratios of the intermetatarsal head distance to the digital nerve diameter in web spaces 2 and 3 were significantly smaller in comparison to spaces 1 and 4 (P < .05). The morphometric data lend support to theories that explain the propensity for neuroma formation in both the second and third web spaces on a mechanical basis.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cadaver
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuroma / etiology
  • Neuroma / pathology*
  • Peripheral Nervous System Neoplasms / etiology
  • Peripheral Nervous System Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Toes / innervation*