A neuroma is a thickening of the nerve that arises from irritation of the nerve resulting in inflammation of the nerve sheath, or covering of the nerve and the formation of scar tissue around the nerve. This is a benign condition that involves the small nerves that run between the metatarsal bones in the ball the foot. The most common nerve to develop this condition is the nerve supplying
the third and fourth toes. This is called a Morton's neuroma. It can also involve the nerves that supply the other digits as well. However, it is most common between the third and fourth digits.
What are the symptoms?
You will likely experience one or more of the following symptoms when nerve damage is involved.
- -tingling, burning, or numbness
- -a feeling that there is a lump in the ball of the foot
- -generally the symptoms begin periodically and progress in intensity and frequency.
- -the symptoms may be aggravated by certain shoes or activities.
- -as the symptoms increase in intensity and frequency temporary, the inflammation of the nerve progresses to permanent damage.
Diagnosis is obtained by a thorough history of symptoms and an appropriate foot examination.
Treatment for neuromas will depend on the level of symptoms. If you can identify specific shoes or activities that precipitate symptoms, elimination of these shoes or activities may resolve
symptoms completely. Generally shoes with a wider toe box and a more cushioned insole will reduce symptoms. Shoes that provide better arch support, over the counter (OTC) arch supports, or custom
orthotics may also be beneficial. When accommodative measures fail to provide relief injections or surgery may be necessary.