What is a neuroma?
A neuroma is an inflammation of a foot nerve due to an accumulation of tension in the area. This will cause pain at the ball of your feet and is usually described as a sharp, paralyzing sensation. A neuroma can also cause numbness around the toes. When left untreated, a neuroma will get bigger with time. As a neuroma gets bigger, it will create more pain with every movement of the foot.
What causes a neuroma?
A neuroma is caused by excessive friction or compression of the nerve between two bones of the foot. The nerve, in an attempt to protect itself from the surrounding pressure, will get thicker. The thickening of the nerve will cause a neuroma to take up even more space in between the bones of the foot. The longer this vicious cycle goes on, the more painful the neuroma becomes.
How to treat a neuroma?
The key to treating a neuroma is to stop the friction and compression, which is causing the neuroma to become bigger.
1. Reducing the friction and compression
A mechanical defect in your foot, ankle, knees or hips is usually the cause of your neuroma. Your podiatrist is trained to evaluate and establish the exact cause of your neuroma. After determining the mechanical cause of your neuroma, your podiatrist can prescribe and make a custom-made plantar orthotic to treat it. By directly treating the cause of your neuroma, your podiatrist is able to stop the vicious cycle that is causing you pain. Your podiatrist can also utilize sport tapping to temporarily relieve your neuroma from the excessive friction and compression.
2. Reducing your neuroma pain
Aside from treating the cause of your neuroma, your podiatrist can also treat the pain associated with it. As the neuroma becomes bigger, the inflammation associated with it becomes more severe and painful. By using diagnosis ultrasound, your podiatrist can visualize the condition of your neuroma and perform an ultrasound-guided cortisone injection to relieve you from your neuroma pain. In addition, your podiatrist can also prescribe anti-inflammatory medication to relieve your neuroma pain.
How to treat a neuroma at home?
While waiting for your podiatric consultation, you can relieve your pain at home by following these steps:
Ice your heel
Reduce the inflammation of your neuroma by applying an ice bag two or three times a day for 5-15 minutes.
Change your shoes
Wear a pair of shoes that will reduce the friction and compression around your neuroma. Stay away from flexible and tight shoes as they make your neuroma worse.