A neuroma is a benign growth of nerve tissue that is also sometimes called a nerve tumor or a pinched nerve. It most commonly develops between the third and fourth toes and is sometimes called a “Morton’s Neuroma.”
What are the symptoms?
The main symptom associated with a neuroma is pain between the toes when walking. Patients can often relieve the pain by taking their shoe off and massaging the affected area. Some patients describe the pain as akin to that of having a pebble in their shoe.
Other symptoms associated with neuromas include the following:
- Swelling between the toes
- Pain in the ball of the foot when the patient stands or walks
- Numbness and/or tingling in the ball of the foot
What causes a neuroma?
The exact cause of a neuroma is unclear, but certain factors can increase the chances of developing one. For example, neuromas are most likely to develop in people with flat feet or feet with very high arches. Wearing tight or high-heeled shoes can increase the chances of developing a neuroma as such shoes can squeeze the toes together, and they increase pressure on the front of the foot. Injury or repeated stress to the foot can also cause a neuroma to develop. Neuromas are more commonly found in women than in men.
How is a neuroma diagnosed?
Diagnosing a neuroma can be tricky, for there are other conditions with similar symptoms. Dr. Levine may therefore have to rule out such conditions as arthritis, stress fractures of the metatarsals, inflammation of tendons at the bottom of the toes, or nerve damage.
How is a neuroma treated?
There are several ways to treat a neuroma, and the severity of the condition will determine the method chosen. For example, if the patient has a mild case, they may not have to do anything more than wear comfortable shoes with thick soles and ample space for their toes. Similarly, Dr. Levine may recommend orthotics or shoe inserts to reduce the symptoms and keep the neuroma from getting worse.
Cortisone injections are another early treatment. They relieve pressure on the nerve by shrinking the swelling.
Finally, if all else fails, our podiatrist surgically removes the affected nerve. The surgery is done as an outpatient procedure, and the patient is given either a local anesthesia or an intravenous anesthesia.
If you think you could be developing a neuroma, schedule a consultation with Dr. Levine at Institute Beauté in New York City. Dr. Levine will be happy to evaluate your concerns and discuss the best option for you!