Neuroma is the common name for an inflammation of one of the nerves that run along the bottom of your foot. Patients often ask how does the nerve get inflamed? The answer is through pressure – it can become squeezed and irritated for a variety of different reasons. The main reasons are:
- Footwear that is too tight
- Footwear that is too narrow in the toe box
- Repetitive injury from high impact sports such as running
- Wearing high heels for a prolonged period of time
A neuroma is a thickening of nerve tissue that may develop in various parts of the body. The most common neuroma in the foot is a Morton’s neuroma, which occurs between the third and fourth toes. It is sometimes referred to as an intermetatarsal neuroma.
Neuromas may also occur in other locations in the foot. Over time the pressure can cause the nerve to thicken, which often leads to pain, tingling, numbness or even burning within the foot. Both men and women can develop Morton’s neuroma, but it is up to 10 times more common in women compared to men.
Treatment for a neuroma does not always mean surgery
Surgery for a neuroma may be necessary, but there are other non-surgical treatments that can relieve pressure and pain that your podiatrist can recommend, such as:
- Rest and icing the area
- Activity modification
- Footwear advice
- Padding within the shoe to reduce pressure on the nerve
- Injection therapy such as corticosteroid injections
- Medications such as oral nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs)