A neuroma is an enlarged, benign growth of nerve sheath, most commonly between the third and fourth toes. Neuromas are caused by tissue rubbing against and irritating the nerves. Pressure from poorly fitting shoes or an abnormal bone structure can also lead to this condition. Symptoms may include sensations of thickness, or a feeling of a folded sock, burning, numbness, tingling, or pain in the ball of the foot.
HOW IS A NEUROMA DIAGNOSED?
Neuromas can almost always be diagnosed by listening to the patient. In addition, often times there will be a "clicking" sensation when the space between the toes is palpated. At the FORD CENTER FOR FOOT SURGERY, we also use ultrasound to visualize the neuroma tissue lying between the bones.
WHAT CAN BE DONE?
If a neuroma can be diagnosed and treated in the initial stages of formation, often a simple steroid injection will reduce the inflammation and prevent further development. Often alcohol injections are used to "sclerose" the nerve tissue.
If a biomechanical problem is diagnosed during our examination we may prescribe orthotics to off load the forefoot.
If the conservative measures fail, then we remove the growth. This is done in the FORD CENTER FOR FOOT SURGERY with IV sedation and a local anesthetic block. We prefer to remove the neuroma from the sole of the foot as it is much less traumatic than an approach from the top of the foot. When approached from the sole, there are no vital structures that are disturbed and thus the healing is much more rapid. Following surgery, the patient is able to weight bear immediately in a comfortable shoe.