A neuroma is an enlarged, benign growth of nerves, which can occur in various parts of the body. The most common neuroma of the foot is called Morton's neuroma, It develops between the third and fourth toes of either foot. The incidence of Morton's neuroma is eight to ten times greater in women than in men primarily due to shoe choice.
Neuromas are caused by tissue rubbing against the nerves and irritating them. The most common offenders are:
- Shoes - pointy shoes and high heeled shoes that force the toes into the toebox.
- Abnormal foot structure- bunions, hammertoes, flat feet, and flexible feet all put a person at greater risk for Morton's neuroma.
- Trauma - dropping a heavy object on the foot or other injury to the area
- Repetitive strain injuries - running or court sports
Symptoms may include sensations of:
- Pain, tingling, and numbness
- Feeling that something is in the shoe
- At first, the symptoms will occur on occasion when wearing pointy shoes or participating in certain physical activities.
- Symptoms will subside when the shoes are removed and activity stops.
- Symptoms will worsen over time particularly as the neuroma gets larger and the temporary changes to the nerve become permanent.
Morton's Neuroma can be treated by:
- Padding to decrease pressure of the nerves
- Icing to relieve inflammation and swelling
- Wearing footwear with a heel of one inch or lower with a wider toe box.
- Wearing orthotics to reduce the pressure on the nerve
- Receving ultrasound guided injections of alcohol to shrink the neuroma.
- MLS laser to reduce inflammation, pain, and stimulate healing
In severe cases, surgical removal of the growth may be necessary.
To make an appointment, call the Foot and Ankle Center of Lake City at 206-368-7000 or request an appointment online.
Illustration source: Foot Health Facts, Web publication of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons