A neuroma is the swelling of nerve that is a result of a compression or trauma. They are often described as nerve tumours. However, they are not in the purest sense a tumour. They are a swelling within the nerve that may result in permanent nerve damage. The nerve commonly affected is a small nerve that connects the 3rd and 4th toes. When the neuroma is present in the space between the third and fourth toes, it is called a Morton’s Neuroma. Neuromas are very rare in the spaces between the big toe and second toe, and between the fourth and fifth toes.
Cause of Neuroma:
High heels can damage the nerve.
A tight toe box will squeeze the toes in the foot and therefore put pressure on the nerve.
Mechanical problems with the feet such as over pronation.
Signs & Symptoms of Neuroma:
Begins with numbness or tenderness in the foot, just behind the 3rd and 4th toes.
At a later stage, burning pain, numbness, and tingling sensations can radiate around one or two toes. Removing the shoe and rubbing the ball of the foot helps to ease the pain.
The symptoms may appear and disappear spontaneously and is aggravated by anything that results in further pinching of the nerve.
Severe pain may be present at weight bearing.
The patient may experience spontaneous shooting pains, which are often referred to as an “electric shock”. This can affect patients when are sleeping at night.
Treatments for Neuroma:
The podiatrist will diagnose the condition. History of the condition, clinical presentation and your description of the problem may be sufficient.
Orthotics (insoles) may be prescribed to redistribute pressure away from the neuroma.
Appropriate shoes may be recommended.
A decrease in symptoms may occur instantaneously, with a complete recovery in a few months. However, the patient may need to use insoles to prevent a further recurrence.
In severe cases, surgery may be necessary.