Although sometimes described as a nerve tumor, a foot neuroma is really an inflammation of the tissue that surrounds one of the nerves in your toes. While there is usually no physical deformity, such as a bump of a bunion, it can still actually feel like you have a small rock or seed in your shoe. Pain may arise from the ball of the foot, radiating to the toes. Your toes may feel a tingly, pins and needles sensation or be totally numb. Other times the pain may be severe enough to bring tears to your eyes.
Diagnosing a foot neuroma can be challenging, so it is very important to see a skilled foot specialist for the correct care. An X-ray will be taken to rule out other causes of your pain, such as a stress fracture. In many cases, a neuroma can be detected during a physical exam through the use of diagnostic technologies like ultrasounds, which can easily reveal soft tissue abnormalities. MRI scans are typically not recommended because it is too sensitive and may show a neuroma in patients who actually have no symptoms.
Treatment may include the following:
- Arch supports and foot pads
- Custom orthotic inserts—to isolate the area and allow healing to occur
- Cortisone injections—may be effective at eliminating pain
- Surgery—or severe cases
If the more conservative methods are unsuccessful, your foot doctor may suggest specialized decompression surgery to remove the nerve or growth. This, however, may cause the toe to become permanently numb, and will totally relieve the unremitting pain often accompanying this condition.
If you are concerned that you may have a foot neuroma, see your foot care professional for proper diagnosis and treatment. At Your Next Step, our team of board-certified podiatrists, Dr. Eric Ricefield, Dr. Mark Yagodich and Dr. Aliza V. Eisen, has access to advanced technologies and years of experience to help diagnose and treat a variety of foot and ankle problems. Common issues include sports injuries, joint pain, toe deformities, nail fungus, chronic tendon pain, and skin problems. Our foot care specialists provide high quality foot and ankle care to patients in the greater Philadelphia area at our offices conveniently located in Ardmore, Paoli, and Downingtown, PA. Please contact us for more information or to schedule an appointment.