Neuroma is a painful condition caused by a growth of nerve tissue. It occurs most frequently in the foot between the third and fourth toes (referred to as Morton’s neuroma).
Women are much more likely to develop a neuroma than man. Your risk increases if you wear high-heels or shoes that are too tight, are involved in high-impact activities like running or have foot deformities such as hammertoes, high arches, flat feet or bunions.
What are the symptoms?
If you have a neuroma, you’re likely to experience:
- Pain in the area between the toes and the ball of the foot
- Tingling or numbness (or both)
- Swelling between the toes
- Pain in the ball of the foot when walking or putting weight on it
Morton’s neuroma causes pain, tingling, or numbness at the base of the second, third or fourth toes and pain can radiate out from the ball of the foot to the tips of the toes. Some patients have noted the sensation of a lump between the toes.
What causes neuroma?
There are a number of factors that contribute to the formation of a neuroma, including:
- Shoes that are too tight or too small cause the toes to be squeezed together, and high heels increase pressure on the front of your foot.
- Repeated stress, from occupations that required a lot of time walking or prolonged standing.
- Trauma, which causes damage to the nerve resulting in inflammation or swelling.
- Biomechanical deformities, such as high arches or a flat foot adds instability around the toe joints, leads to the development of a neuroma.
Should I see a doctor if I have a neuroma?
Neuromas tend to worsen over time if left untreated. If you are experiencing burning pain in the ball of your foot, you should seek professional medical care from a doctor specializing in foot-related conditions. If a neuroma is correctly identified early in its development, it can usually be treated successfully without surgical intervention. Your doctor will conduct a thorough foot exam and may need additional imaging tests to rule out other potential causes of your pain.
If the neuroma is not developed, changing your footwear can help, as well as avoiding activities that may be putting your foot under additional stress. If the neuroma has developed, it may be necessary to undergo additional treatment or surgery to remove the tumor.
Your doctor will develop a specialized individual treatment plan that may include:
- Padding and taping, to correct any abnormal foot function and relieve the neuroma’s symptoms.
- Orthotics, custom inserts for your shoes may be enough to control your foot function so that the condition does not worsen.
- Medication, anti-inflammatory drugs will ease acute pain and reduce inflammation in the affected area.
- Surgery, either to remove the enlarged nerve or relieve pressure on the nerve by cutting nearby structures such as the ligaments (decompression surgery).
Treatment at Northwest Surgical Specialists
Our specialist doctors have years of experience in foot and ankle-related conditions and will be able to confirm an accurate diagnosis as well as an effective treatment protocol. To schedule an appointment, please give us a call on 847-885-9525 or request a booking through our website.