A neuroma is a swelling in a nerve in the foot, often in the ball of the foot. Neuromas can happen if a nerve leading to the toes is irritated, injured or has extra pressure on it. A cut on the foot can also cause a neuroma. So can cutting a nerve during surgery.
Neuromas typically occur between the third and fourth toes. You can have them in one or both feet at the same time. They can cause sharp burning pain, a popping feeling when walking, and tingling or numbness. Neuromas can also lead to permanent nerve damage.
Diagnosis is usually made during a physical exam. A skilled foot specialist will be able to feel a mass, which is a sign of a neuroma. X-rays are usually done to rule out other conditions, such as a fracture or arthritis.
Treatment depends on the severity of the symptoms. Conservative approaches are usually tried first, including:
- Getting cortisone shots to relieve swelling and pressure on the nerve
- Wearing prescription shoe inserts (orthotics)
- Destroying the affected nerve
- Removing the nerve surgically