Have you ever had a shooting pain in between your toes while running? Or have you ever felt like there was a rock in your forefoot only to find nothing in your shoe? Did you ever feel a numb sensation in the ball of your foot while wearing heels? These might be indicators of a Neuroma. A Neuroma, also known as an Intermetatarsal Neuroma or Plantar Neuroma, is a condition that affects the nerves of the feet, usually the area between the long bones of your foot. They most commonly affect the third and fourth toe, if so this would be called a Morton's Neuroma.
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. It brings on pain, a burning sensation, tingling, or numbness between the toes and in the ball of the foot. This condition can be caused by injury, pressure or irritation. Normally you will not be able to feel a palpable bump on your foot, but instead burning pain in the ball of the foot will be experienced. Numbness and tingling may also occur. A Neuroma can cause pain when in tight or narrow shoes are worn. As the condition worsens, the pain may persist for days, or even weeks.
So what causes the development of a Neuroma? Neuromas can be caused by wearing ill-fitting shoes that cause pressure to the toes, such as high heels. Also, high impact exercise may cause of this condition from repetitive pressure. Neuromas may also develop if the foot sustains an injury. Bunions and flat feet can also cause Neuromas because these foot conditions cause excessive pressure and irritates the tissue.
If Neuroma pain persists longer than a few days with no relief from changing shoes, then it is best to schedule an appointment with a podiatrist. The earlier the condition is treated, the less chance there will be for surgical treatment. A podiatrist can alleviate the effects of a Neuroma by decreasing the pain and help decrease pressure on the nerve. For mild to moderate cases, treatments may include: applying padding to the arch to relieve pressure from the nerve and reduce compression while ambulating. A podiatrist may also create a custom orthotic device to support the foot and reduce compression and pressure on the affected nerve. It is also best to take a break from activities that involve constant pressure on the affected area. Wider shoes help to ease the pressure from the toes. Using a night splint can also help take pressure away from the forefoot. If these treatments are not successful then injection therapy is suggested. This can involve a corticosteroid injection or a series of sclerosing injections.
Surgical treatment may be recommended if all other treatments fail to provide relief. Normally, the surgical procedure involves removal of the affected nerve or to release the nerve.