Do you have pain in the ball of your foot? Does it feel like you have a pebble in your shoe, only nothing’s there? It could be a neuroma.
Having a neuroma can be frustrating. There’s no visible lump, but it can feel like you’re landing on a pebble or marble with each step. Pain is generally present when you walk, but it might disappear when you take pressure off your feet.
A neuroma, also called Morton’s Neuroma, is a thickening of nerve tissue near the ball of your foot. It creates painful sensations, but you don’t have to accept the discomfort as an inevitable part of life.
David B. Glover, DPM, FACFAS, and our team at Mountain View Foot & Ankle Institute specialize in foot health. In this blog, Dr. Glover explains what neuromas are and your treatment options.
Understanding neuroma pain
Irritation, pressure, or trauma can irritate nerves in the ball of your foot, which can cause the nerve tissue to thicken. Neuromas are most common between the third and fourth toes. And while the thickening isn’t visible to the naked eye, the condition can make walking and standing painful.
Common symptoms of a neuroma include:
- Burning pain in the ball of the foot
- Radiating pain in the toes
- Numbness in the toes
- Sensation of stepping on a pebble or marble
Foot pain caused by a neuroma is generally worse with activity. Wearing high heels, tight or narrow shoes, or participating in repetitive activities can all increase your risk of developing a neuroma. Furthermore, having certain foot problems, such as hammertoe, irregular arches, and bunions, can also increase your chances of developing a neuroma.
Conservative neuroma treatments
Neuromas can be uncomfortable, painful, and limit your mobility. The good news is that conservative treatments help more than 80% of people with neuromas.
Oral anti-inflammatory medications can help minimize inflammation where the problematic nerves are. Dr. Glover may recommend over-the-counter anti-inflammatories or write you a prescription.
Corticosteroid injections are another possible treatment for neuromas. With this treatment, Dr. Glover injects the medication directly into the affected nerve to provide longer-lasting pain relief.
Shoes with high heels or tight toe boxes can make neuromas worse, so choosing flat, supportive footwear may reduce neuroma pain. Look for shoes with toe boxes that don’t put undue pressure on your toes.
And find shoes that have good arch support and heels that are less than two inches. Consider adding foot pads to your shoes for additional cushioning and support.
Dr. Glover and our team may recommend custom orthotics to relieve your neuroma pain. Orthotics are custom-made medical devices designed just for your feet. They’re molded to fit the contours of your feet and take pressure off of sensitive nerves.
If conservative treatments don’t give you relief, it could be time to consider neuroma surgery. Surgery to treat a neuroma may involve removing a small portion of the nerve bundle, releasing tissues around the nerve, or both. It’s generally performed in an outpatient setting, with patients returning home the same day. Most people recover in just a few weeks.
You don’t have to live with the discomfort that comes with a neuroma. To get relief, book an appointment online or over the phone with Mountain View Foot & Ankle Institute today.