Diagnostic Considerations of Intermetatarsal Bursitis: A Systematic Review

Sif Binder Larsen*, Stinne Byrholdt Søgaard, Michael Bachmann Nielsen, Søren Tobias Torp-Pedersen

*Corresponding author for this work

Abstract

Intermetatarsal bursitis (IMB) is an inflammation of the intermetatarsal bursas. The condition causes forefoot pain with symptoms similar to those of Morton's neuroma (MN). Some studies suggest that IMB is a contributing factor to the development of MN, while others describe the condition as a differential diagnosis. Among patients with rheumatic diseases, IMB is frequent, but the scope is yet to be understood. The aim of this paper was to investigate the diagnostic considerations of IMB and its role in metatarsalgia by a systematic review approach. We identified studies about IMB by searching the electronic databases Pubmed, Embase, Cochrane Library, and Web of Science in September 2022. Of 1362 titles, 28 met the inclusion criteria. They were subdivided according to topic: anatomical studies (n = 3), studies of patients with metatarsalgia (n = 10), and studies of patients with rheumatic diseases (n = 15). We conclude that IMB should be considered a cause of pain in patients with metatarsalgia and patients with rheumatic diseases. For patients presenting with spreading toes/V-sign, IMB should be a diagnostic consideration. Future diagnostic studies about MN should take care to apply a protocol that is able to differ IMB from MN, to achieve a better understanding of their respective role in forefoot pain.

Original languageEnglish
Article number211
JournalDiagnostics
Volume13
Issue number2
ISSN2075-4418
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 6 Jan 2023

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