A neuroma or a “pinched nerve is a painful condition that commonly occurs in feet. It can also be described as benign growth of nerve tissue that forms between the toes, most frequently between the third and fourth toes.
The major symptom associated with a neuroma is pain between the toes while walking. At times, the patient will describe the pain as similar to having a stone in his or her shoe. It is more common to occur in women. High heeled and narrow shoes can make symptoms worse.
Neuromas form in response to irritation, pressure or injury to one of the nerves that lead to your toes. Exact etiology of neuroma is unclear but following are some of the risk factors:
1) Biomechanical deformities, such as a high-arched foot or a flat foot
2) Trauma can cause damage to the nerve
3) Improper footwear such as high heels or narrow shoes.
4) Certain sports that involve wearing tight shoes such as skiing, rock climbing, running etc.
Most common symptoms are as follows:
Pain between the toes
Direct pain upon palpation to adjacent metatarsal (long bone)
Tingling, burning and numbness in the ball of the foot that may radiate into the toes
Swelling between the toes
Feeling as if you are standing on a stone in the shoe
Diagnosis and Treatment
Treatment options vary with the severity of each neuroma. Conservative options are exhausted before discussing surgical options. The primary goal of most early treatment regimens is to relieve pressure on areas where a neuroma develops. The podiatric physician will examine and likely X-ray the affected area and suggest a treatment plan
Conservative treatment includes
1) Cortisone injection: Studies have shown that injections can ease acute pain and inflammation caused by neuroma and surgery can be avoided.
2) Padding and Taping: Padding can change the abnormal foot function and relieve the symptoms caused by the neuroma.
3) Medication: Anti-inflammatory can be prescribed to ease acute pain
4) Orthotics: Custom shoe inserts may reduce symptoms and prevent the worsening of the condition.’
When early treatments fail and the neuroma progresses surgical intervention becomes necessary. There is a wide spectrum of surgeries available to treat neuroma. To find out more, contact our foot and ankle surgeons at 732-297-9535.