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Neuroma

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Learn more about neuromas and the symptoms and treatment options.

A neuroma is a growth of nerve tissue in your foot. It’s caused by the bones and ligaments in your feet pressing together and irritating the nearby nerve. Neuromas often occur between the third and fourth toes. Risk factors for neuromas include:

  • Wearing tight or poorly fitted shoes, like high heels
  • Repeatedly placing stress on your foot
  • Injuring the foot

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Symptoms

The symptoms of a neuroma typically begin gradually. Some common symptoms include:

  • A sharp, burning pain in the ball of the foot that worsens with walking
  • Tingling or numbness between the toes
  • A consistent feeling that you have something in your shoe
  • A painful lump on your foot

Treatments

Neuromas often worsen without any treatment. Symptoms can be reduced by:

  • Custom orthotics and shoe changes – Shoes with good support and custom orthotics can help to prevent nerve irritation.
  • Padding or taping – Placing padding or adhesive on the ball of your foot can help decrease nerve pressure.
  • Physical therapy – Massage and ice therapy can reduce pain and swelling.
  • Medication – Anti-inflammatory medications might be used, along with cortisone injections that can relieve swelling.
  • Surgery – Your foot doctor might choose to treat the nerve directly if no other treatments are helpful. The nerve might be removed via a minimally-invasive procedure, or temporarily numbed with an alcohol solution injection.
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