A neuroma is characterized by a growth of nerve tissue, and understanding what causes them and how they are treated can be challenging.
Neuromas grow directly onto the nerve, usually between the third and fourth toes. The exact cause of neuromas is unclear, but women are more at risk of developing them. There are certain things that can contribute to their development, including repeated stress, trauma to the nerve, and improper footwear that squeezes the toes together. Improper foot mechanics like flat feet and high arches can also contribute, because it causes instability around the toe joints.
Symptoms of neuromas include pain, burning, tingling, and numbness. The symptoms are also felt between the toes, but there can also be pain, tingling, and numbness in the ball of the foot. Swelling may also occur between the toes. Many patients describe a neuroma as a feeling of a stone in their shoe. The pain often worsens while walking.
Sometimes, minor neuromas can go away on their own. You can find relief by changing your shoes. Look for a pair that fits well and allows for plenty of room and thick soles, especially while exercising. Avoid high heels, which add more strain. You may need insoles that take pressure off of your feet, or even custom orthotics to redistribute pressure completely. Rest your foot and massage the affected area whenever you can.
However, you should always visit a doctor for a suspected neuroma, because it is possible for them to get worse without treatment. Make an appointment even if you are attempting to change your shoes to solve the problem. The doctor may suggest further action, like medication, padding, and taping. In some cases, surgery to remove the growth is needed.