Foot Health: Neuromas
A neuroma is a painful condition, also referred to as a “pinched nerve” or a nerve tumor. It is a benign growth of nerve tissue frequently found between the third and fourth toes that brings on pain, a burning sensation, tingling, or numbness between the toes and in the ball of the foot.
The principle symptom associated with a neuroma is pain between the toes while walking. Those suffering from the condition often find relief by stopping their walk, taking off their shoe, and rubbing the affected area. At times, the patient will describe the pain as similar to having a stone in his or her shoe. The vast majority of people who develop neuromas are women.
Biomechanical deformities, such as a high-arched foot or a flat foot, can lead to the formation of a neuroma.
Trauma can cause damage to the nerve, resulting in inflammation or swelling of the nerve.
Improper footwear that causes the toes to be squeezed together are problematic. Repeated stress, common to many occupations, can create or aggravate a neuroma.
What Can You Do for Relief?
- Wear shoes with plenty of room for the toes to move.
- Wear shoes with thick, shock-absorbent soles.
- High heels should be avoided whenever possible .
- Resting the foot and massaging the affected area can temporarily alleviate neuroma pain.
- For simple, undeveloped neuromas, a pair of thick-soled shoes with a wide toe box is often adequate treatment to relieve symptoms. For more severe conditions, however, podiatric medical treatment or surgery may be necessary to remove the tumor.
Treatment options vary with the severity of each neuroma. Identifying the neuroma early is important to avoid surgical correction. Podiatric medical care should be sought at the first sign of pain or discomfort. If left untreated, neuromas tend to get worse.
The primary goal of most early treatment regimens is to relieve pressure on areas where a neuroma develops. Your podiatric physician will examine and likely x-ray the affected area and suggest a treatment plan that best suits your individual case.
When early treatments fail and the neuroma progresses past the threshold for such options, podiatric surgery may become necessary.
The procedure, which removes the inflamed and enlarged nerve, can usually be conducted on an outpatient basis, with a recovery time that is often just a few weeks.