• RM Foot & Ankle

The Neuroma Annoyance

A neuroma is a painful thickening, swelling, and compression of a nerve. These are primarily seen in the base of the toes causing burning, tingling, numbness, or pain.

Do you ever have the sensation of tingling, burning, or numbness in your toes or in the ball of your fee? Or perhaps you are experiencing significant pain in those areas? Perhaps, you may have the feeling that something is inside the ball of the foot, or that there’s a rise in the shoe or maybe a sock is bunched up? These are all symptoms consistent with a neuroma, sometimes called a Morton's neuroma.

A neuroma is a thickening of nerve tissue that may develop in various parts of the body. The most common neuroma in the foot is a Morton’s neuroma, which occurs at the base of the third and fourth toes. Another common location for neuromas is at the base of the 2nd and 3rd toes. You may also get neuromas at other locations in the feet. The thickening, or enlargement, of the nerve comes from irritation and compression of the nerve. This compression creates swelling of the nerve, eventually leading to permanent nerve damage.

The most common neuroma in the foot is a Morton’s neuroma, which is at the base of the 3rd and 4th toes. (WebMD)

If you experience pain, burning, tingling, numbness in your toes, this may be a sign of a neuroma. Also the sensation that something is bunched in your shoe near your toes, is another sign of a neuroma. Neuromas usually have a gradual onset of pain without injury. These symptoms may be exacerbated by narrow shoes or certain activities. The symptoms may go away temporarily by massaging the foot or by avoiding certain shoes or activities. The symptoms can progressively worsen over time and may persist for several days or weeks. Sometimes, the symptoms become more intense as the neuroma enlarges and the temporary changes in the nerve become permanent.

A neuroma is caused by anything that irritates or compresses the nerve. Narrow shoes, or shoes with a tapered toe box are often the culprit, including high heels. These shoes cause the toes to be forced into the narrow end of the shoe, leading to compression of the nerve.

It is important to see a physician early in the development of symptoms. Early diagnosis of a Morton’s neuroma greatly lessens the need for more invasive treatments and may avoid surgery. Treatment for a neuroma typically starts with conservative measures, such as padding, shoe changed, orthotics, icing, changes to your activity or shoes, medications, or injection therapy.

Surgery is considered in patients who continue to have pain despite conservative treatments. Generally, there are two surgical approaches to treating a neuroma. Either the affected nerve is either removed or the nerve is released.

If you feel you are experiencing such pain, there is no need to suffer from the ongoing annoyance of a neuroma. Speak with one of our specialists today, to learn you options to get you back to your next adventure.

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