Humans love to classify and name things. A botanist names plants and trees, a zoologist classifies animals, and medical scientists name parts of the body and diseases, among other things. It is interesting to see where a medical term like neuromas comes from. Neuro- is derived from the Greek word for nerve, and oma indicates swelling, so neuromas are a swelling, growth, or tumor of the nerves. They can occur in many places in your body, and when they affect your feet they are often called Morton’s neuroma.
Do I Have a Neuroma in My Foot?
Here are some signs of this condition:
- The area around your third and fourth toes feels thick or swollen and numb
- You feel a tingly, burning sensation in the ball of your foot or between your toes
- The area is painful when you put weight on it
Research doesn’t give the exact cause for neuromas, but identifies several factors that can contribute to this condition. It occurs much more often in women than in men. It can result from trauma to the nerve that causes it to swell up. Tight shoes that squeeze the toes, or high heels that move more of your weight onto the ball of your foot, can stress the nerve as well. You may have inherited a foot structure like high or flat arches, which changes the position of your bones and adds pressure to the nerve. Finally, certain job stresses, like standing on the ball of your foot on a ladder all day, can also add to the risk for neuromas.
What Should I Do for Neuromas?
Any time you have pain in your feet, you should have it checked out by a qualified podiatrist. You need a trained person who can recognize your symptoms and design the best treatment for your situation. We will examine your foot carefully, ask about your activities, and may use X-rays to get at the exact reason for your pain. After an evaluation, we can recommend a variety of treatment options to relieve the pressure on the nerve.
Some cases may only require home care and careful monitoring. Home care can involve shoe choices that have a lower heel and provide additional cushioning for the ball of your foot. Look for styles that leave room for the toes, and let you adjust the width at your instep. We may also recommend resting and massaging the foot to relieve pain. Icing can also help with pain and swelling. We can advise you on cushions, available in stores, to wear inside your shoes, which help relieve pressure on the bottom of your foot.
In more severe cases, custom orthotics can relieve faulty foot structure and gait problems. Padding and taping can also align your foot bones. We can prescribe anti-inflammatory medications or steroids to relieve severe pain. Lastly, there are surgical procedures to remove the inflamed nerve if all else fails.
At Atlantic Foot & Ankle Associates, our expert podiatrists specialize in neuromas and can find the best solution for your foot pain. With digital X-rays available in our office, everything we need to diagnose your condition is right here. Call us today at (386) 274-3336 in the Daytona Beach area or check our contact page to reach our offices in Port Orange, Palm Coast, Orange City, or Edgewater, FL.