Understanding Neuromas: Causes, Symptoms and Treatments

A neuroma, also known as a nerve tumor, is a growth of nerve tissue that can occur in various parts of the body, including the foot. This condition is often painful and can cause discomfort with burning or numbness in the affected area. Neuromas in the foot typically develop in the 3rd interspace, between the third and fourth toes, although they can also occur in other parts of the foot.

There are several factors that can contribute to the development of a neuroma. One of the most common causes is wearing shoes that are too tight or have a narrow toe box. This can put pressure on the nerves in the foot, causing them to become irritated and inflamed eventually developing into a neuroma. Other factors that can contribute to the development of a neuroma include a foot injury, flat feet, high arches, and excessive walking or standing. People who have a family history of neuromas are also more likely to develop this condition as well.

The most common symptom of a neuroma is pain in the affected area. This pain may be sharp, burning, or feel like a shooting pain. Other symptoms of a neuroma can include:

  1. Numbness or tingling in the affected area
  2. A feeling of a lump in the foot
  3. Difficulty walking or standing for long periods of time

An MRI evaluation of the foot is most common in diagnosing a possible neuroma and will likely be utilized by your foot and ankle surgeon prior to invasive treatment. In many cases, conservative treatments can be effective in treating neuromas. These treatments typically involve changes to the way you walk and wear shoes, as well as exercises to improve the strength and flexibility of your feet. One of the most effective conservative treatments for neuromas is wearing shoes that have a wide toe box and a low heel. This can help to reduce the pressure on the nerves in the foot, which can help to alleviate pain and other symptoms. Other conservative treatments for neuromas can include orthotic inserts, physical therapy, and medications such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to relieve pain and swelling. In some cases, wearing a special type of pad or wrapping around the affected area can also help to relieve pain. Injections of cortisone may also provide relief for short or long periods of time depending on the neuroma severity.

In cases where conservative treatments are not effective, surgical treatment may be necessary to relieve the pain and other symptoms of a neuroma. The most common surgical procedure for treating neuromas is a nerve release surgery, which involves removing the affected nerve to alleviate pressure and pain. Another surgical option for treating neuromas is a nerve decompression surgery, which involves widening the space around the affected nerve to relieve pressure and pain. This procedure is often done in combination with a nerve release surgery for best results.

Neuromas can cause significant discomfort and pain in the foot, but with proper treatment, this condition can often be effectively managed. If you are experiencing symptoms of a neuroma, it is important to see a foot and ankle surgeon for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan. Whether you are seeking conservative or surgical treatment for your neuroma, working with a skilled and experienced foot and ankle surgeon can help to ensure that you receive the best possible outcome. With the right treatment, you can get back to enjoying your daily activities pain-free.