Your peripheral nervous system is pretty remarkable.
Without it you wouldn’t be able to smell, see, taste, touch or feel all the beautiful – and not-so-beautiful, we suppose – things in this world.
As a matter of fact, without your peripheral system, you wouldn’t be able to feel that persistent heel pain when you go out on your morning jog, or that strange, tingling sensation between your toes that keeps you from dancing.
Now, it might sound like a good thing not to feel pain, but consider this:
Pain is how your body makes you aware of problems that need to be addressed.
Basically, the bottom line is that our nerves are a crucial part of our overall existence. When they become damaged, they can also become a detrimental aspect in our lives. And a good example of this are neuromas.
A neuroma can be thought of as a pinched nerve. In most cases, this condition will affect areas between your third and fourth toes – where benign nerve tissue begins to grow and cause you to feel pain, tingling, numbness, and burning sensations between your digits and the ball of your foot. That pain is a result of excessive pressure.
Essentially, neuromas are small bundles of frayed nerve endings that ball up or attach to non-nerve tissues.
That can easily take place when nerves are damaged, pinched, or cut. And, even though you can develop neuromas almost anywhere in your feet, the most common form is the Morton’s neuroma.
That said, you should never ignore the fact that you are experiencing pain in your feet – if left untreated, neuromas can turn into bigger problems in the future.
The good news is that there are many options to treat and prevent this condition.
Better yet, here at Precision Foot and Ankle, P.A. we are well-equipped and trained to provide you with the methods of treatment necessary so that you can find relief quickly and have the ability to go back to performing your favorite activities safely and comfortably.
Keep reading our blog post to find out more information on what causes neuromas, what are the symptoms, and how can you treat and prevent this condition.
What Causes a Neuroma?
Typically, neuromas are attributed to injury or compression of the foot and toes. And, as is true with most other foot problems, neuromas can develop for a variety of different reasons. Below are some examples:
- Improper footwear.Shoes with narrow, constricted toe boxes that cram your toes together and don’t allow them to move freely can irritate the nerves between those digits. The same goes for high heels as they cause more of your bodyweight to be pressed down onto your forefoot.
- Flawed biomechanics. Inherited conditions like high arches, bunions, and hammertoes, can increase your risk for developing a neuroma. Biomechanical and structural issues can lead to instability in toe joints and unequal load distribution across your foot, which ends up putting more pressure on your nerves.
- Occupation and hobbies.If you regularly participate in sports activities that cause you to place extra stress on your forefeet, or if you spend a lot of time on ladders and/or work in crouched positions, then you are at greater risk for neuromas.
- Trauma/injury. Either an isolated incident – like dropping a heavy box on your foot – or repeated physical trauma from high-impact athletic endeavors can increase your risk for potential neuroma development.
Basically, anything that causes irritation or compression of the foot – and in turn, the nerve – can result in a neuroma.
So now that you are aware of what causes neuromas, you may be wondering how you can tell if you have developed this condition, which brings us to our next point.
What Are the Symptoms of a Neuroma?
Pain between the toes while walking is a general symptom of a neuroma. However, there are many other indicators you should also keep in mind:
- A phantom feeling that there is something in your shoe, or that a sock is bunched up.
- A pain in the ball of the foot whenever excessive pressure is placed on it.
- A feeling that something is inside the ball of the foot.
- A tingling and numb sensation in the ball of the foot.
- A pain in the forefoot and/or between the toes.
- A swelling between the toes.
If one or more of these symptoms sound familiar, there is no need to panic! Thankfully, there are some easy and efficient treatment methods that can offer some much-needed relief for your pain.
How Can You Treat and Prevent Neuromas?
The initial treatment of a neuroma is nonsurgical – here at Precision Foot and Ankle, P.A., we reserve surgical options for conditions which cannot be treated with medication and other noninvasive methods.
When you come visit us, we will carefully evaluate your situation and then create a unique treatment plan to address your specific needs and reduce your pain. We will also provide tips and information so you can take the right steps to keep your nerves healthy and reduce the risk of additional problems developing and/or escalating in the future.
Some remedies that might be beneficial include:
- Always wear shoes with plenty of room for your toes to move freely. Laces and buckles are great footwear features as they allow for width adjustment.
- Always wear shoes with thick, shock-absorbent soles. Or orthotics which are tailored to your specific structure and need!
- Avoid high-heeled shoes over two inches tall. They place unnecessary strain and pressure on your forefoot.
- Rest your foot and massage the affected area whenever you feel pain. This can temporarily alleviate discomfort.
- Apply ice to the area after completing a gentle massage. This will help reduce any potential swelling.
- Use over-the-counter shoe pads. They can relieve pressure around the affected area.
- Choose custom orthotics. Orthotics created for your unique feet can provide support to reduce compression and pressure on the affected nerve.
- Take oral nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications. This will help reduce inflammation in the area and relieve your pain.
Though you will most likely find the above remedies successful for neuroma pain, you should keep in mind that this relief is only temporary – they do not replace professional treatment.
Whenever you feel foot pain of any kind, you should come visit us immediately – we will take the time to properly assess your situation and arrive at the correct diagnosis so that we can begin treatment by exploring the most effective and appropriate options for your unique case.
If conservative treatments do not yield the desired results, we can discuss surgical options.
Contact Us Today!
Even if this sounds exactly like the problem you are experiencing, it is still essential that you come in for professional diagnosis and treatment. Other nerve-related conditions can cause similar – or even exactly the same – symptoms as the ones you can experience from a neuroma.
And no matter the condition you may have developed, we are ready to help you make foot pain a problem of the past!