A neuroma is a painful foot condition referred to as a “pinched nerve”. It is a benign swelling, inflammation, thickening, and growth of the nerve between the metatarsals/toes, and a neuroma can occur between any of the metatarsals/toes, but the most common location is between the third and fourth metatarsals/toes.
The symptoms of a neuroma include the feeling of walking on a lump or small stone in your shoe and there is sharp pain, deep bruise pain, and burning pain in the ball area of the foot. There are usually tingling sensations, burning sensations, as well as numbness to the toes. The symptoms are most prevalent being on your foot by the end of the day. Individuals experiencing these symptoms find some relief by getting off their feet, taking off their shoes, and massaging the painful area.
Factors that contribute to the formation of neuromas include abnormal mechanics to the feet, flat feet, high arch feet, bunions, hammertoes, high-heel shoes, flat shoes, or narrow shoes. Wearing these types of shoes can cause excessive pressure and stress on the ball of the foot and toes which can then lead to a formation of a neuroma. Other causes include injury or trauma to the foot and sporting activities such as jogging, running, tennis, and racquetball.
Treatments of neuroma depend on the severity of the symptoms. Avoid wearing narrow-toe or high heel shoes, and wear shoes with plenty of room. Wear a supportive shoe with an arch, massage therapy using a cold bottle or cold small hard ball to massage the painful area, topical pain-relieving medications, padding to the ball of the foot, accommodative arch support with a pad, a custom orthotic with a special pad known as a “neuroma pad”, anti-inflammatory medication, steroid injection, and sclerosing injection(injection composed of a solution known as dehydrated alcohol).
In cases where conservative measures fail to alleviate symptoms of a neuroma to the foot, then surgical intervention is an option. Surgery can include a decompression procedure where pressure is alleviated to the nerve or removal of the inflamed and enlarged nerve.
For evaluation, confirming diagnosis, and treatment options, make an appointment with Dr. Novabilski