Sharp pain between the ball of your foot and toes is often the result of a neuroma. At North Florida Foot & Ankle Specialists in Gainesville and Lake City, Florida, Joshua Epstein, DPM, AACFAS, FACPM, and Sarina Epstein, DPM, AACFAS, offer comprehensive treatment for all types of neuromas. Without proper care, neuromas can impact your ability to walk comfortably. To learn more, call North Florida Foot & Ankle Specialists now.
What are neuromas?
Neuromas occur when nerve tissue thickens, leading to pain and discomfort in the affected area. While neuromas can develop anywhere in the body, the most common type is Morton’s neuroma, which forms in the nerve tissue between the third and fourth toes.
What makes Morton’s neuroma especially difficult to manage is that compressing the nerve can thicken it. Without treatment, Morton’s neuroma can cause permanent nerve damage and chronic pain.
What are the symptoms of neuromas?
As Morton’s neuroma progresses, it can lead to uncomfortable symptoms, including:
- Sharp pain
- Tingling or burning
- Feeling as if something is stuck inside the ball of the foot
- Feeling like a pebble is stuck in the shoe
Morton’s neuroma typically worsens when you wear tight or narrow shoes. At first, you may feel relief through improved footwear and massage. However, as the nerve tissue thickens, symptoms often become more persistent and intense.
What causes neuromas?
Morton’s neuroma stems from nerve compression, so anything that squeezes the nerve can cause the tissue to thicken. Common risk factors for neuromas in the foot include:
- Poor-fitting shoes
- High heels
- Flat feet
If you experience pain in your foot from nerve irritation, better-fitting shoes can provide enough space for the nerve to decompress and heal.
How are neuromas diagnosed?
Diagnosing Morton’s neuroma typically requires a review of your medical history and an exam of your foot. Your foot and ankle surgeon at North Florida Foot & Ankle Specialists also asks detailed questions regarding your symptoms. Finally, your podiatrist may order imaging tests to view the internal structures of your foot.
What are the treatments for neuromas?
Non-surgical solutions are always the first course of action when treating a neuroma. To help deliver relief from pain, your podiatrist may recommend:
Icing your area of pain can help reduce swelling, which may minimize your pain and discomfort.
Adding a cushion around the metatarsal arch in your foot relieves pressure from the nerve and reduces compression.
Wearing wide-toe shoes and avoiding narrow flats and heels allows space for decompression, so your nerve can heal.
Orthotics are custom-made shoe inserts that can relieve pressure from your nerve and treat structural foot deformities.
Injections and medications
Oral anti-inflammatory medications can reduce swelling, while cortisone injections help relieve pain.
If you don’t find relief from non-surgical treatments, your foot and ankle surgeon can perform a procedure to decompress or remove the affected nerve.
To learn more about neuromas, call North Florida Foot & Ankle Specialists today.