A Neuroma (pron. new-row-ma) is the name given to swelling of the nerve between the long bones of the forefoot, just before they enter the toes. As you can imagine there is not a lot of space in the foot. As the nerve swells it it is confined by the long bones, causing further compression of a grumpy nerve!
- Feeling a burning sensation under the ball of your foot?
- Is it sharp?
- Does it shoot down the toes?
- Does it just feel like there’s an extra layer under your foot?
These are all typical sensations with neuromas.
What does a Neuroma feel like?
Depending on the degree of nerve compression, different symptoms can be felt. Commonly a neuroma will occur between the 3rd and 4th toes which is called a Morton’s Neuroma (as shown), although they can occur in any space.
These are a few lines that we tend to hear from our clients with a Neuroma:
- There is a clicking feeling in the forefoot
- I have sharp shooting pain from under the ball of the foot (+/- to the toes)
- I have pins and needles or numbness in my foot
- My toes are drifting apart
- A long time standing makes it burn
What factors contribute to a Neuroma forming?
The exact cause of the neuroma varies between clients, so an accurate diagnosis must be carefully made by a Podiatrist.
A typical Neuroma assessment will include:
- Hands-on assessment
- Biomechanical and gait analysis
- 3D Force Pressure Plate – to analyse how the impact going through your feet with each step is contributing to the neuroma.
- Mobility Range Testing – restricted ankle and foot joints load the nerves
- Muscle Strength Testing –
- Footwear Assessment – potential compression forces that can cause pain
Treatments for Neuromas
Conservative Care from your Podiatrist:
Footwear – relief is started by having a good pair of well-fitted shoes to ensure they are not squeezing the nerve
Metatarsal Pads –to help take pressure off the nerve
Custom Flexible Orthotics – if your foot structure and mechanics are contributing to pain, an orthotic is effective for pain relief
Local Anaesthetic “Hydrodilation” can be very helpful to directly settle a reactive nerve, without having the side effects of a cortisone injection
Dry Needling – usually performed directly at nerve site as well as into local muscles in the foot and leg contributing to pain
Surgical Care from a Podiatric or Orthopaedic Surgeon may be sought if pain is unchanging after a period of greater than 3 months conservative Podiatry care.
Neuromas can really get on your nerves!
Time to take action and get rid of that burning and shooting pain!