Neuromas are very painful yet benign growths of nerve tissues that are typically found between the third and fourth toes. It occurs primarily in women. Also known as ‘pinched nerve’ or a nerve tumor, neuromas are characterized by a burning sensation, tingling and numbness between the toes and the ball of the foot, particularly when walking. To find relief with the disorders, sufferers typically stop walking, take off their shoe and rub the affected area. Some describe it as feeling like a rock has been caught in one’s shoe.
What Causes a Neuroma?
The exact causes of a neuroma are still unclear, but many factors can contribute to the formation of the disorder.
Biochemical Deformities: If you were born with a high-arched foot or a flat foot, you naturally have an instability of the toe joints, and thus have a higher likelihood of forming a neuroma.
Trauma: A traumatic event can damage the nerve, which can lead to inflammation, swelling and the formation of a neuroma.
Improper Footwear: If your shoes are too tight, this can cause your toes to squeeze together. Stay away from high-heeled shoes that are higher than two inches. Shoes at that height can put more pressure on the forefoot area, which is precisely where neuromas tend to develop.
Repeated Stress: Whether through your lifestyle or occupation, if you put repeated stress on the forefoot area, a neuroma could form or become worse over time.
Tips for Relief
Wear the Proper Shoes: Only wear shoes that allow your toes to move around freely, that have low heels, thick soles, proper insoles and that tie with laces or that feature buckles that allow for proper width adjustment.
Avoid High Heels: These types of shoes put undue pressure on the forefoot and should be avoided if at all possible.
Rest and Feet Massages: Put the affected foot up and massage the affected area until the pain subsides. An ice pack can even be used to dull the pain and improve comfort.
For Simple Neuromas: For neuromas that haven’t yet developed, wear a pair of thick-soled shoes with plenty of toe area. This should relieve symptoms and allow the ailment to diminish on its own. If the case is considered severe by your Cincinnati podiatrist, surgery may be necessary to extract the tumor.
Over the Counter Shoe Pads: These pads can relieve pressure around the affected area.
Treatment for Neuromas
There are various treatments for neuromas and your recommended treatment will depend on the severity of your condition. Early detection is key if surgery is to be avoided. You should make an appointment with your podiatrist at the first sign of pain or discomfort, as the condition tends to get worse over time.
Treatments for neuromas include padding and taping, medication, orthotic devices and surgery.
Remember, your feet aren’t supposed to hurt. To learn more about neuromas or to undergo testing for a neuroma if you do in fact feel foot pain or discomfort, make an appointment with your Cincinnati podiatrist at The Center for Foot Care by calling (513) 206 – 8448.