A neuroma is a benign growth of nerve tissue normally found between the third and fourth toes. It brings on pain, a burning sensation, tingling, and numbness between the toes and around the ball of the foot.
A neuroma is a painful condition, also referred to as a “pinched nerve” or nerve tumor.
The main characteristic used to identify it is pain between the toes when walking and a sensation of small pebbles in your shoe.
An annoying condition, the only way to relieve pain when experiencing a neuroma is to gently rub the affected area, helping to encourage blood flow and the loosening of the nerves. The majority of neuroma cases are found in women.
Any type of foot that is subject to instability around the toe joints could be at risk for developing a neuroma. High arches, flat feet, and an unsteady gait are normal risk factors.
In addition, trauma to the toes can result in damage to the nerve tissue. If severe enough, this tissue may not heal properly and result in the formation of a neuroma. Tight fitting, high-heeled shoes are the leading cause of neuromas, as the consistent pressure and reduced circulation causes continuous damage to the nerves of the feet.
Typical symptoms include:
- Swelling between the toes
- Tingling and numbness
- Tenderness to the ball of the foot
- Pain in between and on top of the toes
Neuromas tend to worsen when left untreated, so if you experience any of these symptoms contact our clinic.
Neuroma Treatment Options
The only way to avoid surgical correction of a neuroma is to identify the problem early. It is critical to not ignore symptoms of a neuroma, as they will only increase in severity. For undeveloped neuromas, a regimen of wearing specialized shoes and orthotic insoles may be recommended to help contain the neuroma and allow it to heal on its own.
The primary goal of most early treatment plans is to relieve the pressure being placed on the neuroma. Our podiatric physician will examine and likely X-ray the affected area and suggest a treatment plan that best suits your individual case.
- Padding: Special padding at the ball of the foot may relieve pressure, allow for normal foot function, and relieve the symptoms caused by the neuroma.
- Medication: Anti-inflammatory drugs and cortisone injections can be prescribed to ease acute pain and inflammation.
- Surgical Options: When early treatments fail and the neuroma progresses past the manageable threshold, surgery may be necessary. The procedure consists of simply removing the inflamed nerve. With a recovery time that is often just a few weeks, this procedure is not very severe. Your podiatric physician will thoroughly describe the surgical procedures to be used and the results to expect.
While the exact cause of neuromas are not entirely understood, you can take the following preventative steps:
- Make sure your exercise shoes have enough room and that your toes are not excessively compressed.
- Wear shoes with adequate padding in the ball of the foot.
- Avoid prolonged time in shoes with a narrow toe box or excessive heel height (greater than two inches).
- Wear proper shoes for athletic activity.
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned above, contact us today for management and treatment options!