A neuroma is a pinched nerve or a nerve tumor. It involves the thickening of the tissue around one of the nerves that leads to your toes. This thickening causes pressure against the nerve, irritating it and causing pain.
The most common type for neuroma is a Morton’s neuroma, or an intermetatarsal neuroma. These neuromas occur in between the third and fourth toe; however, neuromas can occur in other locations on the foot.
What causes a neuroma?
- Shoes that are designed with narrow toe boxes or high heels.
- Foot deformities such as hammertoe, bunions, and flat feet can cause neuroma. Any foot deformity that may cause repetitive irritation to the ball of the foot can contribute to neuromas.
- Prior injuries can also be a factor in neuroma development.
Symptoms of neuromas
It is usually described as a small rock or pebble stuck in my shoes. It is also accompanied by burning or tingling sensations. Some patients experience shooting pain.
When to see your podiatrist?
If you experience any of the neuroma symptoms then it is best to see your podiatrist as soon as possible.
Seeing your podiatrist as soon as possible will prevent any sever pain and will reduce the chances of the need for surgery or other invasive treatment.
Your podiatrist will stimulate your foot to produce symptoms by squeezing your foot from the sides with one hand while pressing the thumb of the other hand on the bottom of the foot, between the third and fourth metatarsal bones. The test is positive if it produces a clicking sound or sensation, called Mulder’s sign.
If the podiatrist cannot stimulate the symptoms then an imaging test might be required such as an ultrasound, MRI or x-ray.