Podiatric medical care should always be sought when pinching, burning nerve sensations in the foot don’t go away independently. Neuromas, also known as pinched nerves, are a benign tumor growth of nerve tissue often found between the third and fourth toes. These nerve tissue clumps create painful, burning sensations that tingle and feel numb between the toes and the ball of the foot. Neuromas can make it difficult for people to walk correctly, wear even the most comfortable shoes, and enjoy their daily activities at ease. There is a host of treatments for neuromas. At Appalachian Foot & Ankle Associates, our podiatrists can offer both non-surgical and surgical methods for removing the tumor and bring back control to foot function.
Why Did I Develop Neuromas?
Although the exact cause for neuromas isn’t fully understood, they have some factors associated with their development. Some of the factors that can potentially cause neuromas to include:
- Trauma to the nerves in the foot, causing inflammation and damage.
- Improper footwear, such as high heeled shoes over two inches, can cause squeezing over long periods of wear and increase the amount of pressure along with the ball of the foot.
- Foot deformities, such as flat feet or high-arched feet, can cause neuromas, bringing instability to the toe joints and cause nerve damage.
- The repeated stress of the feet due to strenuous activities.
The vast majority of people affected by neuromas are women due to the condition and design of shoes. The repeated compression and pinching of the bones and ligaments with these shoes can get irritated and swollen. Repetitive sports injuries can also cause long-term damage to the feet due to the intensity of the activity.
How Can Neuromas Be Treated?
Luckily, neuromas can be treated with numerous at-home and medical treatments. At-home treatments consist of avoiding certain types of shoes, resting and massaging the foot, using over-the-counter shoe pads, and wearing proper insoles to protect the feet during activity. However, podiatric care should be sought out at the first signs of pain and discomfort to properly diagnose. Our treatment options vary depending on the development of neuroma and how early it has developed. At our podiatry office, you can receive the following treatments:
- Padding and Taping: Specially made pads can be applied to the neuroma area, and taping can help avoid the pressure caused by the nerve damage to ease discomfort.
- Medication: Stronger anti-inflammatory and cortisone drugs may be prescribed to ease inflammation and pain.
- Orthotics: Custom sole inserts can provide better foot function and reduce the neuroma symptoms, allowing it to heal on its own.
- Surgical Options: Many of the previous treatments listed above allow for early, proactive treatment that prevents the use of surgical options and acts as a preventative measure for neuroma progression. However, when those treatments fail and the neuroma has progressed to a more severe stage, podiatric surgery may be required. Two procedures can be performed to remove part of the damaged nerve and save the nerve from progression.
- Neurolysis – This procedure uses chemical agents to degenerate the nerve fibers, causing a disruption in the transmission of pain signals and stopping the neuroma’s development.
- Neurectomy – Neurectomy uses nerve blocks to remove the nerve from the area and is performed in rare cases of serious chronic neuromas where no other treatments have been successful.
Our team at Appalachian Foot & Ankle Associates can help determine your condition’s appropriate treatment through diagnostic testings and a keen eye by our podiatrists. To learn about neuromas, whether you need treatment, and wish to treat your chronic pain, you can call 828-277-8402 to schedule your appointment at any one of our Marion or Asheville, NC locations.