What Is That Neuroma Doing in Your Foot?

It was a big mistake to wear those little ballerina flats with the insoles that feel like bare cardboard. Now you are halfway through your shopping and your toes are certainly letting you know what a bad idea it was! There are many causes for pain in your forefoot, but if it’s located at the base of your toes, a neuroma is a pretty good bet.

What Exactly Is a Neuroma?

It is a growth of tissue, but it isn’t really a nerve tumor, although we often refer to it as a benign growth—terminology that is often used with tumors.

It can come as a result of entrapment of the nerve, but the condition is more than just discomfort from a pinched nerve.

It can probably best be described as a thickening or swelling of nerve tissue between your toes. Pressure from bones or tendons irritate the nerve and cause it to swell or build up extra cells to protect itself, much in the same way your skin might build up calluses at points of friction.

How Do I Tell If I Have One?

Symptoms vary but normally include one or more of the following:

  • A numb feeling in the ball of your foot near your toes
  • Tingling in your forefoot and toes
  • A thick or swollen feeling between or under the base of the toes
  • Shooting pains in toes or the ball of the foot when pressure is placed on them

What Can I Do for a Neuroma?

Your first step for this or any other foot pain is to come in and have us check it out. You can’t always tell if it is a swollen nerve, a sprain, or a fracture just by looking at your toes. We can go deeper, asking about the pain and what you were doing when it occurred, examining your foot structure, and using imaging tests to rule out or confirm broken bones and any other soft tissue damage.

Once we know the cause really is a neuroma and not a fracture, there are several conservative treatments to try that you can do at home. One is to stop the activity that brings on the pain and rest the foot. Another is to massage your feet, or soothe them with foot soaks or icing.

Try not wearing the shoes you had on when it happened, to see if they could be contributing to the problem. (Tight flats and high heels are both notorious for this.) Maybe you could fit an inexpensive foam insole into shoes with hard, flat insoles to relieve the pressure on the nerve. Shoe pads designed to protect the ball of the foot could also help.

If better footwear, medications, massage and ice therapy, aren’t touching the pain, or the problem seems to be worsening, we can try other treatments—up to and including surgery if needed.

Help for Your Foot Pain in Gardnerville, NV

Board-certified podiatrist Dr. Victoria Melhuish offers suburb foot care in the greater South Lake Tahoe region. Dealing with issues like peripheral neuropathy and neuromas is one of our specialties, so you’ve come to the right place when you let us treat your feet. Call to set up your appointment by dialing our offices in Carson City and Gardnerville, NV at (775) 783-8037, or using our toll free number: (888) 608-8406. You may also schedule using our online contact form if you prefer. We look forward to putting our expertise to work for your healthy feet!