Foot Neuroma Treatment
Thickening of nerve tissue in any part of the body is referred to as a neuroma, and they can be very common in foot ailments, with the most common one being a Morton's neuroma (also referred to as an intermetatarsal neuroma). This type of problem forms between the third and fourth toes (metatarsal bones) on the foot, though a thickening of nerve tissue can form anywhere there is compression of the nerves.
The most common cause of a foot neuroma is shoes. Wearing shoes with a tapered toe box or high-heeled shoes in which the toes are forced into the toe box causes excess compression and irritation of the nerves, causing thickening and enlargement of the nerves and forming a neuroma. Left untreated, this condition can result in permanent nerve damage.
High Risk Patients
While anyone can suffer from it, those with certain types of foot deformities are at a higher risk. Such issues include bunions, hammertoes, flat feet, and highly flexible feet. Also, those who take part in activity that causes repetitive irritation (running, court sports, etc.) are more susceptible. Injury and trauma are also common causes.
Symptoms of a Neuroma
Symptoms of a neuroma are progressive, but in the area where the nerve damage has occurred, a patient may experience:
- Tingling, burning and numbness
- Pain (intensifying over time)
- Feeling as though something is inside the ball of the foot
- Feeling as though something is in the shoe or a sock has bunched up under the foot
Progression is commonly experienced as follows:
- Symptoms start gradually, with occasional occurrences at first, most often when wearing shoes with narrow toes or performing irritating activities.
- Symptoms may be temporarily resolved by removal of shoes, foot massage, or avoidance of aggravating activity.
- Symptoms become progressively worse until lasting for several days or weeks at a time.
- The symptoms will intensify as the condition worsens, and temporary changes to the nerve are at risk of becoming permanent.
Diagnosing a Neuroma
At Premier Foot & Ankle of Plano, we diagnose the condition based on gathering a thorough history of the symptoms you've been experiencing and examining your foot. The doctor may attempt to reproduce your symptoms in the office by manipulating the injured foot and may run tests or perform imaging to study the foot.
Early diagnosis is an important part of treatment, so do not delay visiting our Plano podiatrists office when you first begin to experience symptoms. Morton's neuroma can require invasive procedures for treatment if ignored for long periods of time, and early detection may avoid surgical procedures.
Types of Neuroma Treatment
If a patient does not respond to non-surgical treatment, our podiatrists may recommend surgery. In either case, we will most likely recommend long-term measures to help keep symptoms from returning, including wearing proper shoes and avoiding certain activities to reduce the pressure placed on the foot.
Non-surgical treatment procedures may include:
- Shoe modifications wearing shoes with a wide toe box and avoiding high-heels or narrow-toed shoes.
- Modified activities avoiding activities that cause repetitive pressure on the neuroma until the condition improves.
- Padding offering soft, additional support to the metatarsal arch and lessening the pressure on the nerve so there is less compression when walking.
- Orthotic devices custom shoes/inserts provided by the podiatrist to help support the foot and relieve pressure on the nerve.
- Icing on the affected area for reduction of swelling.
- Medication oral anti-inflammatory drugs (not steroids) to reduce pain and swelling.
- Injection therapy cortisone, local anesthetics, and other agents to treat the area locally.
Our experienced podiatrists will determine the best course of treatment for your particular case and work with you to relieve the symptoms while also addressing the root cause. Call Premier Foot & Ankle today to schedule an appointment at our Plano, McKinney, or Frisco, TX location.