When dealing with pain in the ball of the foot, you may have a neuroma. At American Foot & Ankle Specialists, we are trained to deal with neuromas, or pinched nerves, in the feet.
what is neuroma?
A neuroma is a painful condition which affects the nerves in the ball of the foot. The condition is also referred to as a pinched nerve condition or a nerve tumor. If is often caused by a benign growth of nerve tissue usually found between the third and fourth toes. It can cause a burning sensation, tingling, pain, and numbness between these toes and in the ball of the foot. The pain can be decreased when the person takes of his or her shoes, stops walking, or rubbing the area. Patients describe it as feeling like there is a stone in their shoe. The condition is more prevalent in women.

What causes a neuroma?
The exact cause is unknown but many factors can contribute to the development of the condition including:

  • High-arched feet or flatfeet can cause a neuroma. These foot types can have unstable toe joints which contribute to the condition.
  • Injury can cause damage nerves and cause it to swell.
  • Footwear which squeezes the toes together is problematic. High-heeled shoes higher than two inches can increase pressure on the forefoot area and pinch the nerves.
  • Repeated stress to the area can cause a neuroma or make it worse.
how are neuromas treated?
Treatment options used will depend on how severe the condition is and include:
  • Thick-soled shoes with a wide toe can help milder neuromas.
  • Special padding at the ball of the foot can change how the foot functions and relieve symptoms.
  • Anti-inflammatory medications and cortisone injections can be prescribed to ease pain and swelling.
  • Custom orthotics can be useful in controlling foot function and can reduce symptoms, preventing the worsening of the condition.
  • When the condition is severe surgery is often used. The procedure removes the inflamed and enlarged nerve. Recovery time is often a few weeks. The podiatric physician will thoroughly describe the surgical procedures and the outcome patients can expect.

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