A neuroma is a condition where the small nerves supplying sensation to the toes are pinched on the bottom surface of the foot around the metatarsal heads. Often the nerves become aggravated and inflamed from repeated trauma caused by shoes tight across the ball of the foot where the enlarged metatarsal heads surround these nerves. Neuroma are often times misdiagnosed and treated.
Neuromas normally presents with burning and tingling between toes or with burning and tingling in the ball of the foot. These pains can be transient, however they are normally aggravated by excessive walking with tight shoes. Occasionally, a neuroma can send shooting tingling sensations into the toes if the ball of the foot is grasped and squeezed. A neuroma can present differently for each person, it is important to have these addressed early in the initial presentation, the longer they persist, the more likely they can cause permanent problems with the nerves. A Morton’s Neuroma occurs between the 2nd and 3rd toe, however they can occur between any of the toes.
Neuroma treatment in the early stages can be as simple as wearing wide shoes, so there is no compression around the ball of the foot. Longer standing neuromas can cause temporary inflammation of the nerve or permanent enlargement. Many times if the pressure is taken away and the trauma removed the symptoms will resolve, if the aggravating factors return the symptoms will as well. Special pads called metatarsal pads can be used to splay the metatarsals, this reduces the pressure on the neuroma and the symptoms. Other treatments include surgery, steroid injections, stretching exercises, padding, and NSAIDS like ibuprofen.